"To avoid unnecessary ingredients like sugars, harmful trans fats, and other non-nutritive substances, the healthiest way to enjoy nut butters of all varieties is to look for 'all-natural' simple brands or even better, do it yourself," says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, and CEO of the New York Nutrition Group.
Another perk of homemade nut butters? You get to choose the exactly flavor profile by picking out each and every ingredient.
"Through soaking and dehydration, nuts can be easily blended with your oil of choice in a food processor to create a delicious, nutritious, source of heart healthy fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, tons of vitamins and minerals, as well as a good source of animal-friendly protein," Moskovitz adds. Just remember: Keep it moderate. "Just make sure to practice portion control as nuts can be fairly caloric, at an average of 200 calories for just two measly tablespoons," she warns.
Ready to get started on your own DIY nut butter production? We’ve got you covered with these five healthy nut butter recipes:
"Packed with healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins, cashews taste great as a buttery spread on fresh fruit like apples or bananas, or in a smoothie," Moskovitz notes. "Per ounce, this crunchy, yet smooth, nut packs in 5g of protein and 20 percent RDA (recommended daily allowance) for bone-strengthening magnesium and 23 percent manganese." It's also one of the sweeter nuts out there, so feel free to even add it as a frosting to sweeten up a cupcake.
Make it: Cashew Butter from The Healthy Foodie
More: Peanuts and Peanut Butter: Your New Breakfast Staples
"While its still best to practice portion control because of it's high calorie content, almond butter is also a great way to add animal-friendly protein to your meals and boost intake of anti-inflammatory fats, and a protective antioxidant, vitamin E," Moskovitz says. As a plus, it's the most common alternative to peanut butter, and almonds are one of the best sources of heart-healthy fiber hiding right in your pantry. Snack smart and help your heart, all at the same time.
Make it: Almond Butter from Bright Eyed Baker
We know what you're thinking: Homemade Nutella. Yes, it's possible. Hazelnuts are not only a powerful source of multi-functioning manganese, but also of anti-inflammatory mono-unsaturated fats, fiber, and antioxidants, Moskovitz notes. "As a chief ingredient in Nutella when mixed with chocolate, hazelnut spreads offer a decadent, creamy way to nix a sweet craving while still reaping nutritional benefit," she adds.
Make it: Hazelnut Butter from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken
We see it constantly in desserts, but the best part of using pecans in your nut butter is loading it up with unsaturated fats and almost 40 percent of your daily fiber in just two tablespoons. All you need are some pecans, sea salt, and cinnamon, and you’ll be ready to go with this liquid gold.
Make it: Pecan Butter from Cookie + Kate
More: 7 High-Protein Power Snacks
Finally, we have the classic. "Likely voted as most popular type of nut butter, peanuts well-deserve it for being highly versatile," Moskovitz. "[They're] used in smoothies, sandwiches, with crackers, on fruit, or even enjoyed right out of the jar." Yeah, we're guilty of that last one, too! So using your DIY peanut butter means you can determine your high intake of protein, B vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats, but just make sure to watch the quantity to keep the trans fats low.
Make it: Peanut Butter from A Clean Bake