If you’re looking to eat more heart-healthy protein, look no further than nut butter. From peanut to almond, and cashew to walnut, nut butter is protein powerhouse and contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. And while peanut butter has always been a store-shelf staple, other nut butter is now readily available. While it is true that nut butter is high in fat, the fat is a heart-healthy unsaturated variety.
Most nut butter contains 5-7 grams of protein per 2 Tbsp serving. Also, buying the raw or natural variety may help reduce the sodium. Peanut butter provides iron, and Vitamin E. Walnut butter is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which may play a role in reducing inflammation. Cashew butter is high in iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. Almond butter contains 4 grams fiber per serving, along with Vitamin E, calcium, and zinc.
Most people know that nut butter goes well on toast or celery, but what else could you do with it? The Oldways Mediterranean Foods Alliance (www.oldwayspt.org) provides great suggestions. For example, adding chopped nuts to pasta or roasted vegetables adds flavor and crunch. Make hummus by blending nuts, lemon juice, garlic, and chickpeas. Instead of always reaching for the cream cheese, choose almond or peanut butter for your morning bagel. Make delicious pesto by combining nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. Make a dipping sauce for chicken or veggies by combining peanut butter with Dijon mustard, honey, and water.