November 3, 2016
With almost one third of schools now "peanut free," parents are always looking for options beyond peanut butter. The good news on that front is that there are more nut butters available than ever before, and most of them can be brought safely into peanut-free schools.
Consumer Reports evaluated a dozen cashew and almond-based spreads for both nutrition and taste. Like peanut butter, they are a source of protein and help keep kids full longer. Almond butters have 6 to 7 grams of protein per serving, and cashew spreads have between 4 and 5 grams. To prevent separation and give the spreads a creamy texture, some manufacturers add hydrogenated oil, palm or palm fruit oil, which are mostly saturated fats.
"We found the spreads with the fewet ingredients, basically just nuts, were healthier, they tasted better, too," Consumer Reports' Patricia Calvo said. Consume Reports gave high marks to Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Almond Butter Cream for its distinct almond flavor. Kirkland Signature Creamy Almond Butter from Costco has a natural sweetness, testers said.
As for cashew butters, Consumer Reports recommends one from Whole Foods and organic cashew butter from Once Again. For schools that are totally nut free, parents may want to try a sunflower seed-based butter. Consumer Reports recommends Sunbutter Natural Sunflower Spread or Trader Joe's Sunflower Seed Butter.