In a nutshell, nut butters are any creamy spread made from crushed nuts. Among the healthiest choices are peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, and pistachio butter. On the South Beach Diet, natural nut butters with minimal added sugar are the best option.
How to Use Nut Butters
As with peanut butter, other nut butters are also a rich source of high-quality protein and monounsaturated fat. That said, also like peanut butter, nut butters can be diet busters if you overdo it. When adding a nut butter to your daily diet, you can choose to treat it as a protein (including it in a recipe or on its own as part of a meal) or enjoy it as you would a nut (eating it as a snack). Limit yourself to one serving per day, and avoid eating whole nuts on the same day. Your Meal Plan allows for up to 2 tablespoons daily of any nut butter beginning on Phase 1.
Where to Find Nut Butters
A wide variety of nut butters can now be found in many grocery stores, but some of the tastiest can be purchased in specialty markets and health-food stores. You can also make your own by grinding up whole nuts in your food processor (it will take about 15 minutes to get creamy). Natural nut butters should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage. If the natural oils separate from the solids, simply stir back in before use.
How to Enjoy Nut Butters
Enjoy nut butters as dips for vegetables like cucumber, celery, or jícama on all Phases. On Phase 2, use as a spread on whole-grain or whole-wheat bread, pita, or crackers or on fruits such as apple and pear. A nut butter can also enrich the flavor of a stew, like our African Red Bean Stew, which uses natural peanut butter. It's fine for any Phase.