If you never tried adding almond butter, or peanut butter or other nut butter to a smoothie, you are in for a treat!
The banana-peanut butter smoothie combination may be the most popular variation of this recipe, but don’t stop there. Hazelnut, macadamia, cashew butter, tahini, sunflower, pumpkin, etc. – adding any of this will make your smoothie deliciously rich, creamy and distinctly buttery.
Plus, the fats in these butters will help with absorption of nutrients, and slow down the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream (great for people with high blood-sugar level issues).
They will also increase calories in the smoothie – something I’m looking for when making smoothies for my very active nine-year-old son. He is not a big eater in the morning, so a smoothie with nut butter, with some oats, is a good option. (If you are trying to lose weight, make sure you don’t drink too much of these rich smoothies, or cut back some in other areas.)
You may simply buy nut butter for your smoothies – and if you do – be sure to check the label before purchasing. Not all commercially made nut butters contain healthful ingredients. Many brands contain only ground-up nuts, but some contain added salt and sugar. Some use partially hydrogenated oil—a source of unhealthy trans fats. (You can also try making your own. It’s actually quite easy and you have full control over the ingredients, i.e. what oil and sweetener you add, etc.)
Banana Almond Butter Smoothie
It’s easy. Simply add 2-3 tablespoons of seed or nut butter to your other ingredients and blend! What could be better than a smoothie like this to kick off your morning?
- Vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free, wheat free, soy free (if not using soy milk)
- Nut free (replace nut butter with 1/2 cup of sunflower, or pumpkin seed butter.)
- Gluten free (use gluten-free oats or quinoa)
- Salt free (don’t add salt and make sure the butter you use doesn’t have any salt added)
- Raw (use raw oats/quinoa)
To make the smoothie into even more filling meal-replacement drink, add:
- 1/2 cup oats, quinoa, or chia seeds (makes a thicker smoothie)
- 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds
- 1 cup water, or to desired consistency
If using dry ingredients, blend them with liquid first until smooth. Then add the rest of ingredients and blend on high until smooth and creamy. (High speed blenders may need 2 minutes, less powerful blenders may need a lot more, sometimes 5-10 minutes).
- Add more liquid if required to thin it out.
- Substitute any of the ingredients for whatever you already have, for example, add berries instead of peaches; add one more banana, and skip other fruit – for a banana only smoothie; add chia or quinoa (cooked or raw), instead of oats.
- If you want a cold smoothie, add frozen fruit (you can freeze your bananas before use), or add ice instead of water.
The Benefits. Nut butters contain a number of important nutrients, including:
- healthful fats
- calcium (see the note below)!
- vitamins and minerals
- phytochemicals (which according to the American Cancer Society may help prevent cancer)
Check the Label. Be sure to check the label before selecting a nut butter. While all nut butters contain around 100 calories per tablespoon, not all nut butters contain healthful ingredients. Many brands contain only ground-up nuts, but some contain added salt and sugar. Some use partially hydrogenated oil—a source of unhealthy trans fats.
Watch the Calories. While nuts are considered to be “nutritional powerhouses,” they’re also high in calories. Therefore, if you eat a lot of nuts or nut butters, cut back in other areas. Don’t let fear of fat keep you away from trying nut butters, however. Eating just two ounces of nuts weekly can lower your risk of heart disease.
Safety First. If your allergies force you to keep your distance from all nuts, seed and soy nut butters are excellent alternatives. Sunflower seed butter is high in heart-healthy poly-unsaturated fats. Soy nut butter (which tastes similar to peanut butter) is higher in protein and lower in fat than the average nut butter. If your nut allergies are severe, ask your doctor to test for potential soy or seed intolerances before trying these options. If you have a family history of nut allergies, play it safe. It’s important to check with your doctor if you or your child has even a minor allergic reaction to nuts. A mild past reaction may indicate a risk of a more severe future reaction. While nut allergies can be a burden, you can prepare your favorite recipes with one of the many nut butter alternatives.
The Surprising Benefits of Almond Butter
Nut butter is a great source of healthy fats, which are important for regulating your energy, mood, and even your weight.
However, some nut butters also deliver a more unexpected benefit: They’re great for your bones!
Let’s take a look at two of the most popular nut butters–almond butter and peanut butter. Between the two, which one should you choose for better bone health?
Almond butter wins hands down in this one. Compared with peanut butter, it contains more calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, which are all important minerals for building and maintaining strong bones.
Check out the comparison below (per two tablespoons of both almond and peanut butter):
|Mineral||Almond Butter||Peanut Butter|
|Calcium||86.4 mg (8% DV)||13.8 mg (1% DV)|
|Magnesium||97 mg (24% DV)||49.3 mg (12% DV)|
|Manganese||0.8 mg (38% DV)||0.5 mg (23% DV)|
|Phosphorus||167.4 mg (16% DV)||115 mg (11% DV)|
Plus, if you add calcium fortified almond milk, you’ll get even more of that bone building ingredient!
Making Nut Butters
You can easily make your own nut butters—from a variety of raw and roasted nuts—for a fraction of the cost of store-bought. Once you’ve tried the basic Peanut Butter recipe, your own creativity becomes a main ingredient. Combinations of various nuts and added natural flavorings will produce a range of delicious spreads.
Try these tips and ideas for creating your own, customized nut butters at home:
- Experiment with various combinations of nuts, including almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia, or Brazil nuts.
- Add seeds and fruits, like pumpkin or sunflower seeds, raisins, and other dried fruits to the recipe.
- Add sweetness & flavor with maple syrup, vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon, or cardamom.
- Even creamier consistencies can be created with a teaspoon of coconut oil for a subtle tropical flavor, or flaxseed oil for an omega 3 boost.
- Roasting nuts on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes will give nut butters a deeper flavor and creamier texture, and release oils more easily in processing. Walnuts will mellow from roasting if a less sharp flavor is desired.
For all my blending recipes – including smoothies, soups, nut butters and milks, I use Vitamix. If you don’t already own a VitaMix, I strongly encourage you to check out what this machine is capable of! For more information about VitaMix you can go directly to the VitaMix website. You may also want to read my post about the Best Blender.
I LOVE my VitaMix and highly recommend investing in one if you are ready to make serious changes to your diet. I have had mine for almost 5 years and use it daily!
If you decide to purchase Vitamix – be sure to use Promotional Code 06-004554 to get free shipping.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
If you have a favorite recipe, why not submit it here in the comment section of this smoothie recipes blog for others to enjoy too!
I also welcome any comments, questions and suggestions. Thanks!