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Sick of plain PB? Opt for one of these spreadable edibles.
Athletes have long had a love affair with peanut butter. But the range of grown-up nut and seed butters on the market has never been greater—each one offering its own nutritional perks, not to mention flavor nuances. Venture past the Skippy and go nuts with these buttery standouts.
“Natural” butters don’t have anything mixed with the nuts, and so their natural oil often separates and pools on top of the jar. To combat this, store jars on their side before opening. This way, you can stir the contents horizontally down the sides of the jar instead of the trying to mash the oil, Sisyphus-like, back into the spread from the top. Opened nut butters should be stored in the refrigerator to preserve freshness.
Take your morning toast on a tropical vacation. This Paleo-worthy spread is made by puréeing coconut flesh into a buttery consistency. Nutritional highlights of coconut butter include good amounts of fiber and lauric acid, a fat with antibacterial powers.
Use it: Stir a heaping spoonful into your simmering oatmeal along with dried mango for a satisfying beach-inspired breakfast.
Best buy: Nutiva Organic Coconut Manna (Nutiva.com)
Cashew lovers will love this naturally sweet, velvety, not-too-oily spread. It’s laced with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and copper, a mineral necessary for proper iron metabolism as well as immune and bone health.
Use it: Blend together 3/4 cup cashew butter, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 2 tablespoons each rice vinegar and Thai sweet chili sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil and 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger. Spread mixture down the middle of celery sticks.
Best buy: Manna Butter Cashew Bliss (Mannaorganicbakery.com)
Verging on addicting, this über-butter is rich and smoky tasting—and goes well with a piece of dark chocolate! Hazelnuts are brimming with vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that may help counteract some of the oxidative cell damage associated with intense training.
Use it: To liven up salads, make a fanciful vinaigrette by whisking together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons each hazelnut butter, cider vinegar and maple syrup, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Best buy: Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut (Justins.com)
Sunflower seed butter
You don’t have to have a nut allergy to reach for this creamy spread. Gleaned from the seeds of the sun-kissed yellow plant, sunflower butter is a top-notch source of vitamin E, magnesium and protein.
Use it: In a food processor, whirl together 1 1/2 cups pitted dates, 1/4 cup flax powder, 1/4 cup cacao powder, 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, zest and juice of 1/2 orange. Roll into balls for an energizing snack.
Best buy: SunButter Creamy Sunflower Seed Butter (Sunbutter.com)
21st century spreads
More manufactures are making gussied up products by whipping together nuts or seeds with everything from chia to coffee to seaweed. Try these standouts.
Organic raw almonds and antioxidant packed cacao nibs create a winning combo.
Superbutter Vanilla Bean
A winning nut-free mash of sunflower seeds, flax and Madagascar vanilla.
Reginald’s Homemade Apple Sin
Apple and cinnamon make this nut butter taste like dessert.
Chia Moxie Coffee
Chia seeds and coffee breathe new life into old-school peanut butter.
Don’t Go Nuts Chocolate
Non-GMO roasted soybeans are deliciously paired with cocoa.
Go Nuts On The Go
A number of brands such as Barney Butter, PocketFuel and Nuttzo are now offering single-serving nut butter packets so you can stash them in your gym bag, desk drawer and glove compartment for. Or try the GU Peanut Butter gel for a welcome, creamy alternative to fruity fuel. Mix with GU’s Jet Blackberry gel and you’ll have a type of PB&J mash-up while on the run.