Eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the school cafeteria is a rite of passage…unless your kid has a peanut allergy. And she’s not alone: According to Food Allergy Research & Education,“the prevalence of peanut or tree nut allergies appears to have more than tripled in U.S. children” between 1997 and 2008. And the numbers have only continued to grow in recent years, meaning parents have to get creative with alternatives. From sunflower seed butter to chickpea butter, here are 11 peanut butter substitutes that taste (almost) like the real thing. Bring on the ants on a log.
11 Peanut Butter Substitutes to Try If Your Kid Has Allergies
1. Sunbutter Natural Sunflower Seed Spread
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 200 calories, 16g fat, 7g carbs, 7g protein, 3g sugar, 2g fiber, 130mg sodium
- Ingredients: roasted sunflower seeds, sugar, salt
No need to check the back of the jar. SunButter is made up of only three ingredients: roasted sunflower seeds, sugar and salt. Plus, it’s made in a facility that’s free of the top eight allergens (milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy) for total peace of mind.
2. Don’t Go Nuts Roasted Soybean Spread (pack Of 2)
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 190 calories, 15g fat, 7g carbs, 8g protein, 2g sugar, 5g fiber, 0mg sodium
- Ingredients: organic dry roasted soybeans, organic soybean oil, organic palm fruit oil
Soy butter offers a similar creamy texture and taste, without the anaphylaxis-inducing ingredient. In one review on Don't Go Nuts, a mom explains that her daughter with food allergies loves this particular brand because it comes in multiple flavors, like Chocolate, Slightly Sweet and Simply Cinnamon.
3. Wowbutter, Creamy (pack Of 6)
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 200 calories, 15g fat, 8g carbs, 7g protein, 4g sugar, 2g fiber, 100mg sodium
- Ingredients: whole toasted soy, pressed soy oil, cane sugar, palm oil, sea salt
This mix of all-natural whole toasted soy, pressed soy oil, cane sugar, palm oil and sea salt contains nine essential amino acids for building muscle mass, as well as 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 per serving. One buyer on Amazon says that his whole family switched over to WOWBUTTER after his son developed a peanut allergy. “It truly tastes like peanut butter” to them, he says. (Oh, and there's a crunchy version available, too.)
4. Field Trip Chickpea Butter (pack Of 3)
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 160 calories, 11g fat, 14g carbs, 5g protein, 4g sugar, 4g fiber, 30mg sodium
- Ingredients: dry roasted milled chickpeas, roasted sunflower seeds, olive oil, organic coconut sugar, sea salt
In addition to being completely nut-free, Field Trip's chickpea butter is also dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free. All it contains is dry roasted milled chickpeas, roasted sunflower seeds, olive oil, organic coconut sugar and sea salt. And kids love it: “My kids were addicted to it immediately and they usually don’t like ‘healthy’ food choices,” one dad writes.
5. Beyond The Equator 5 Seed Butter
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 200 calories, 17g fat, 5g carbs, 8g protein, 1g sugar, 2g fiber, 47mg sodium
- Ingredients: roasted sunflower seed, chia seed, hemp hearts, flax seed, brown cane sugar, pumpkin seed, salt, vitamin E, natural flavors
If you’re worried about the environmental impact of the food you buy, Beyond the Equator has good news: It takes about 85 percent less water to make a jar of 5 Seed Butter than a jar of almond butter. And the combination of sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp hearts, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds is nutritious and really delicious. “This seed butter is the best I’ve ever tasted,” one mom raves. “My family is obsessed. We put it on everything and eat it right out of the jar.”
6. Kween Granola Butter
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 215 calories, 12g fat, 15g carbs, 4g protein, 3g sugar, 4g fiber, 20mg sodium
- Ingredients: gluten-free oats, flax, olive oil, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, salt, spices
According to Kween, its granola butter is “the first-ever spreadable granola.” But this isn’t your typical nut-packed granola. This granola butter is made from gluten-free oats, flax, olive oil, maple syrup, coconut oil, salt and spices, so it’s free from the top eight allergens. Spread it on toast, mix it into a smoothie or dip fruit into it for a peanut butter alternative that “tastes like liquid Teddy Grahams,” according to one customer.
7. Seedible Organic Sesame Butter
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 200 calories, 17g fat, 8g carbs, 6g protein, 4g sugar, 1g fiber, 45mg sodium
- Ingredients: sesame seeds, date powder, palm fruit stearin, salt, sunflower lecithin, rosemary extract
Sesame seeds might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of peanut butter substitutes, but they should be. “My brother is allergic to peanut butter and he loves [Seedible's] sesame butter. [It’s] an amazing alternative [and] went great with jelly!” one buyer writes.
8. Barney Bare Smooth Almond Butter
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 180 calories, 16g fat, 7g carbs, 7g protein, 1g sugar, 4g fiber, 0mg sodium
- Ingredients: blanched roasted almonds, palm fruit oil
This almond butter is made in a peanut-free facility, so you can rest assured that no cross contamination has taken place. Barney blanches premium California almonds to get rid of the skin, making for a super smooth texture even your pickiest eater will appreciate. Plus, this “bare” version has no added sugar or salt, so you can feel good about giving it to your kiddos for lunch every day.
9. Pyure Organic Hazelnut Spread With Cocoa
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 140 calories, 11g fat, 19g carbs, 3g protein, 2g sugar, 7g fiber, 15mg sodium
- Ingredients: organic sunflower oil, organic coconut oil, organic cocoa butter, organic erythritol, organic tapioca fiber, organic hazelnuts, organic cocoa powder, organic flax flour, organic cum acacia, organic sunflower lecithin, organic stevia leaf extract, organic natural flavors
“I love everything about this product,” one buyer says. “The consistency was exactly what I wanted to spread on toast, dip strawberries in and put in smoothies.” Pyure's cocoa-hazelnut spread is a healthier alternative to Nutella, so you can feel better about giving it to your kids on the reg.
10. Purely Pecans Nuttin’ But Pecan Butter
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 240 calories, 24g fat, 4g carbs, 3g protein, 1g sugar, 2g fiber, 0mg sodium
- Ingredients: pecans
As the name implies, Purely Pecans Nuttin' But Pecan Butter is made with only two ingredients: pecans and sea salt. Many reviewers say they switched to this butter because it’s lower in carbs than peanut butter, and claim that they’ve ended up liking pecan butter better. Just be sure to stir the contents well after you open the jar for a better consistency.
11. Crazy Go Nuts Walnut Butter
- Per two-tablespoon serving: 180 calories, 18g fat, 4g carbs, 4g protein, <1g sugar, 2g fiber, 70mg sodium
- Ingredients: walnuts, sea salt
With flavors like banana, maple and oatmeal cookie, there’s bound to be one Crazy Go Nuts butter that your kid enjoys. One mom reviewer on Amazon dubs it “so delicious my kids can’t tell it’s healthy.” And the only ingredients? Walnuts and salt (in the plain version, that is).