Tuesday, February 28, 2012
MaraNatha Almond Butter *Review*
Time for another review, and surprise surprise, it's another nut butter! This one's a little different than my previous favorites, and that's mainly because it isn't made with peanuts! That's right, we're going with something a little more exotic.....Almond Butter! Ever heard of it? I'm sure quite a few of you have, and I'm pleased to say that it's available at most grocery and health stores. One brand which easily stands above the rest, at least as far as almond butters go, is MaraNatha, and their no-stir natural almond butter. I love this stuff, and please allow me to explain why.
First of all, did you know that almonds themselves actually have a slightly better health profile than peanuts? That's right, and unlike peanuts, they're actually a nut (peanuts are classified as legumes). Per serving, almonds generally have more unsaturated fat than peanuts, less saturated fat, and more fiber. Not to mention they're probably one of the best tasting nuts on the market (especially when they're smoked...yummy.) All that means natural almond butter has the potential to be even healthier than natural peanut butter, at least to a small degree.
A word to the wise, don't dig into a jar of almond butter believing it will taste like peanut butter, it DOESN'T. It's a unique taste, but an INCREDIBLY delicious one. And boy does MaraNatha hit it on the spot, their blend is perfect for just the right amount of taste while keeping good consistency AND all the natural benefits of almonds. Honestly, when you first try this stuff, make sure you've built up some good self control, because I honestly doubt you'll find it too easy to stop spooning that creamy goodness into your mouth after just one bite.
What if you're a chunky person? Well I'd suggest the treadmill, and then the dumbbells.....oh god I'm hilarious. But all jokes aside, don't fear, I was extremely pleased to find that MaraNatha has both creamy and chunky varieties of their almond butter, so whichever you prefer you're guaranteed to be quite satisfied. I have to lean toward the chunky stuff myself, it's nice to have a soft texture, but even better when it's interrupted by that beautiful crunch of a little piece of almond.
Because I'm never one to just blindly tell people to buy a product, let's look at the nutritional profile of MaraNatha's almond butter just to make sure what we're buying is as good as they say.
If that picture's slightly hard to read, I'll spell out the nutrition facts for you:
Serving Size: 2 Tbsp
Calories:190 (150 from fat)
Total Fat: 17 g (2.5 g saturated, ZERO TRANS FAT)
Sodium: 65 mg
Total Carbs: 7 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 6 g
Ingredients: Dry roasted almonds, palm oil, organic unrefined cane sugar, sea salt
In general, that's a FANTASTIC nutritional profile. And because it's natural, it has no hydrogenated oils which could cause trans fats to pop up. Because this butter is a "no-stir" variety, it has a slight bit of palm oil added in an attempt to keep the almond oil from separating from the butter itself, but this is nothing to worry about compared to its hydrogenated counterparts. It also has a slight bit of sugar added, which normally would be a turn-off for me, however at only 3 grams per two tablespoons, the amount must be miniscule, and therefore I'm willing to look past this little addition. The ingredient list is still quite short and sweet, a MUST HAVE for any nut butter I'll buy, as well as any nut butter that's respectively healthy.
So where can you use this stuff? ANYWHERE YOU WANT! But seriously, wherever you use peanut butter, you can use almond butter instead. Spread it on a slice of whole wheat toast or WW bagel, or maybe put it in a nice warm bowl of oatmeal, or have a tablespoon in your post workout shake for some extra calories. I actually always have a tablespoon of this stuff before bed to get a few more calories in and slow down my digestion in hopes to prevent overnight catabolism. It's an extremely versatile food, and hey, nobody's going to yell at you for eating it plain either (as long as you do so in a somewhat sneaky way).
My overall rating:
Taste: 10/10 (THIS STUFF IS DELICIOUS)
Versatility: 10/10 (Use it anywhere and everywhere)
Nutritional profile: 9/10 (I like everything but that tiny bit of sugar)
Price: 7/10 (at $4.68 a jar, it may be in the cheaper range of almond butters, but peanut butter is still much cheaper)
There it is, a look at one of my favorite health products of all time, a tasty, savory sweet treat that can be used throughout your day to supply your body with healthy fats, a little protein, and a whole bunch of nutrients. I STRONGLY suggest you try almond butter. There are hundreds of almond butter addicts, some having converted from peanut butter (though you can't go wrong with either choice.) Pick up some MaraNatha almond butter and enjoy, and don't be surprised if that glass jar is empty before you know it!