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Montefiore Nutritionists Recommend Healthy Alternatives to Peanut Butter

NEW YORK CITY, NY (February 20, 2009) -- Peanut products' connection to salmonella has dominated news coverage for weeks, and despite assurances to the contrary many consumers are still questioning the safety of the peanut butter that is stocked in their grocery stores.

Whether or not you feel compelled to remove one of your family's favorite staples from the pantry, why not consider tasty and nutritionally sound additions or alternatives that will satisfy the whole family? The following substitutions are suggested by clinical dietitians Laurie Grabisch, RD, CDN, and Cynthia Wong, RD, CDN from Montefiore Medical Center in New York City:

Almond Butter:  Similar in calories, protein and fat

                           Stronger taste than peanut butter

 

Cashew Butter:  Similar calories, protein and fat

                           Stronger taste than peanut butter

 

Soy Nut Butter:  Lower in total and saturated fat

                           Mild taste and similar to peanut butter

Almond, cashew and soy nut butters are more costly than peanut butter. They are available at stories specializing in health food such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, as well as large supermarkets such as Pathmark and Stop & Shop.

Hummus. Spread on crackers and bread or used as a dip, hummus provides another delicious alternative to peanut butter. Made from chickpeas, its plain varieties have a mild flavor and are lower in calories, fat and protein than peanut butter. They are similar in price to peanut butter and are available in most supermarkets.

Cream cheese. Cream cheese on sandwiches or in dip is tasty, but may need to be eaten in moderation. Cream cheese is an animal product, so even in its "light" form it is high in saturated fat - the bad kind. It is higher in fat and lower in protein than peanut butter. Plant foods such as peanut and other nut butters are also high in fat, but it is unsaturated fat - and therefore a healthier alternative.

If your family still demands peanut butter, certain brands deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are available on grocery store shelves. "Salmonella was not linked to commercial jarred peanut butter or peanuts. It is a personal choice whether to continue eating it or not," Grabisch said. 

To find out the latest information about the salmonella outbreak, including a complete list of recalled peanut products, log on to the FDA website:  http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm

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