By Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF
Photo: Romulo Yanes
We're pretty much obsessed with nut butters. I mean, creamy, rich goodness that provides healthy fats and protein to boot? What could be better than that, right? Well, maybe just one thing -- eating it on a spoon straight from the jar. [Ed. note: Guilty as charged. -- RJZ] Turns out we're not the only ones who like to sneak a scoop or two. In fact, a recent survey by Peter Pan found that Americans like peanut butter best straight from the spoon. (Take these results with a grain of salt, after all, the PB company did fund said study.) But make your next heaping a well-rounded and delicious snack by adding on some healthy and unique toppers. Try one of these killer combos for a satisfying spoon.
*Peanut Butter topped with Dark Chocolate Chips: Peanut butter and chocolate are often paired together for a reason: PB's salty nuttiness and creamy texture stands up well to dark chocolate's deep, rich flavor. Plus, peanuts pack more protein than any other nut (which is actually a legume!) One tablespoon provides 4 grams of protein to help fill you up, and the dark chocolate chips add a solid dose of heart-healthy antioxidants.
*Almond Butter topped with Blueberries: Many fruit pies include nuts in their crusts or crumbly toppings since their rich flavor and crunchy texture plays off of fruit filling so well. Create a healthier dessert (and not an entire pie!) by topping a tablespoon of almond butter with fresh, juicy blueberries. Almonds are one of the best natural sources of anti-aging antioxidant, vitamin E and blueberries provide compounds called anthocyanins that not only give them their bright color, but also have disease-fighting potential.
*Cashew Butter topped with Toasted Coconut Shavings: Much of the fat found in both the cashew butter and the coconut is not only the healthier, monounsaturated type -- yet they pair well together. The coconut adds a unique texture plus a little bit of fiber while the cashew butter provides 10 percent of your daily value for magnesium, a nutrient important for our bodies' metabolic processes. To add even more texture, flavor, and fiber, add some raisins or dried tart cherries to the spoon, too.
* Hazelnut Butter topped with Banana Slices: Hazelnut butter is more common in Europe than in the U.S., and you probably know it best when it is combined with chocolate to make the all-too-enticing Nutella spread. So of course, you could top your tablespoon with chocolate chips and it would be totally delish, but if you are looking for something new, try banana slices. Hazelnut butter's rich flavor pairs perfectly with banana's natural sweetness and creamy texture. Plus, you'll enjoy a nice dose of heart-healthy potassium, too.
Have your own unique nut butter combo? Tweet us @SELFmagazine and @sarahjaneRDwith your menu!
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