So you're embarking on your Whole30 journey and want to know if you can still find a way to sneak in some delicious almond butter from time to time, right? Almond butter is healthy — surely it's acceptable!? Please tell me it's okay!?
Well, nut butter addicts, you're in luck.
Is Almond Butter Whole30?
Yes, almond butter is Whole30-approved. While you can't eat almond butter all day every day on the Whole30 diet, almond butter is officially approved on Whole30 and is the most common substitute for peanut butter.
Almond butter is the holy grail of Whole30, and I swear sometimes it feels like people survive Whole30 solely off of Almond Butter (although we don't recommend that). Peoples' devotion to almond butter is wild, and I'm slightly scared of you all — just kidding!
Here's the deal. Whole30 is all about sticking close to the source. That means the less processing, the better. Eating fresh vegetables and local meats is ideal! A typical Whole30 meal consists of a fist or so of protein, some veggies, and some healthy fats[*]. This helps you stay satiated and avoid snacking.
So if Whole30 isn't a snack-heavy diet, where does almond butter fit in? Well, you can keep it as your deliberate fat source during a meal or eat it as a pre-workout snack, but as much as you may like to, you can't eat a whole meal of almond butter.
If you're walking into Whole30 with an addictive peanut butter habit, it may be better for you to try to axe the habit then simply transfer it over to almond butter.
Remember, balance is a key part of Whole30. The idea to create new and healthy habits!
What Is Almond Butter, Anyway?
Almonds are seeds from almond trees native to Iran[*], and almond butter is literally blended almonds. I'm not kidding you. Sometimes companies will add salt or other flavorings, but at its essence, it's a bunch of roasted almonds thrown in a blender for 15 minutes.
We have a recipe at the bottom of this blog if you want to make it yourself, and that is the best way to know exactly what is in it.
And speaking of which…
What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Almond Butter?
Almond butter is generally considered a high-fat, high-calorie source and a tablespoon of almond butter contain these nutrients:
- Calories: 101
- Carbs: 2.8g
- Protein: 2.4g
- Fat: 9.5g
- Magnesium: 12% DV
- Phosphorus: 8% DV
- Manganese: 19% DV
For the complete nutrient list, go here.
Almond butter has less saturated fat and fewer calories than peanut butter, Vitamin E that prevents oxidative damage, magnesium that helps your nervous system function, iron that helps your blood deliver oxygen, and lots of fiber for digestion[*].
But while these are useful nutrients, almond butter is far from a complete food source. NutritionData gives it a 29 out of 100 on completeness, meaning you need to eat almond butter alongside a balanced diet. It should be considered a satiating accent — not a mainstay!
What Other Nut Butters Are Okay on whole30?
Whole30 doesn't restrict you to almond butter — not by a longshot. Any nut butter apart from peanut or soy is fair game. This means you can eat:
- Sunflower butter
- Cashew butter
- Macadamia butter
- Pecan butter
- Walnut butter
- Coconut butter
As long as they have solely natural ingredients and aren't packed with extra sugars or additives, then you can sub any of these kinds of butter for almond butter. I really like pecan butter on Whole30 muffins and cashew butter on Whole30 bread. It's just nice to have a few options around!
Can You Eat Peanut Butter on whole30?
No, you cannot eat peanut butter on Whole30 because peanuts are actually a legume instead of a traditional nut, and legumes like peanuts contain lectins, which are a protein our bodies can't digest and can negatively affect your digestive system.
Peanut butter products also commonly have preservatives, sugars, and other additives that aren't allowed.
Luckily for us, almond butter is delicious.
Is Palm Oil Okay on whole30?
If you've been shopping around for alternative nut butters and checking out the labels, you may have found some almond butter brands that include palm oil. It can also be listed as palm fruit oil, and it's used to improve the texture of the butter.
From a strictly nutritional perspective, palm fruit oil is just fine on Whole30. It was even confirmed by the official Whole30 Facebook Page.
There are legitimate environmental concerns with palm oil, however.
Palm oil is a massive industry and continues to be a big player in the deforestation of some of our most treasured and biodiverse forests, and palm oil production is linked to the destruction of orangutan, pygmy elephant, and Sumatran rhino habitats[*].
This does not mean every brand that uses palm oil isn't environmentally friendly — there are sustainable producers of palm oil, but it means you need to be careful and do your research. And honestly, it's usually easier to grab a brand that doesn't include palm oil — the fewer ingredients the better.
Whole30 Almond Butter: Ingredients to Avoid
With Whole30 and Whole30 almond butter, simplicity is the rule of the game. Again, the fewer ingredients you see on the label, the better. Ideally, it's just almonds! And if there are extra ingredients, as long as those are Whole30-approved, then it's okay.
Here is what to watch out for on almond butter labels:
Added sugar of any kind
There is no need to add sugar to almond butter, and that goes directly against the Whole30 guidelines. If you see sugar or added sugar on the label, put it down a grab a different brand.
We discussed palm oil already, but if you see any sort of oil besides avocado, coconut, or palm, then it's best to avoid that brand. The most common culprit is vegetable oil.
Our Favorite Whole30-Approved Almond Butter Brands
Okay, let's get to the good part — eating some! Here are 5 whole30-approved almond butter brands we recommend. You can find most of these in stores near you and all of them via online stores.
Note: The first two brands on this list are officially recognized by Whole30 as compliant. This just means the companies have worked with the Whole30 organization to get their stamp of approval. The other brands on this list are just as healthy and appropriate for Whole30, they just haven't gone through the certification process.
1. Georgia Grinders (officially Whole30-approved)
This is one of the best almond butters out there. The creamy but slightly chunky texture and simple ingredients are so very good, but that taste comes with a premium price. You can find this brand at Publix or order online on their website.
Ingredients: dry roasted almonds, sea salt
2. Mee Eat Paleo (officially Whole30-approved)
This almond butter only has one ingredient: California almonds. They prioritize working with non-GMO sources and never add sugars. Mee Eat Paleo isn't cheap either, but you can tell they really take pride in being as fresh and natural as possible!
Ingredients: 100% roasted california almonds
3. Trader Joe's Almond Butter
Trader Joe's delivers (like always, am I right?) with a delicious and cost-friendly option. There is only one ingredient in their almond butter, and that's simply dry roasted almonds. Go grab some at the TJ's in your town and rest assured you're eating Whole30-approved almond butter!
Ingredients: dry roasted almonds
4. Kirkland Almond Butter
Offered by another one of my favorite grocery stores, Kirkland Almond Butter is the most budget-friendly option. Time to dig out that membership card and go for a trip that inevitably ends with a CostCo concession stand pitstop.
Ingredients: roasted almonds
5. Justin's Almond Butter
Justin's is another premium but oh-so-good almond butter option, and they absolutely win on the branding side — I love their whole style! All of their almond butter products are non-GMO, gluten-free, and “palm oil orangutan friendly”. You can find Justin's at Thrive Market, Target, or on their own online store.
Ingredients: dry roasted almonds, palm oil
The Easiest (And Tastiest) Almond Butter Recipe
Sometimes things you love are easier to make than you may realize. Almond butter is a perfect example of this.
This is what you need to make almonds at home:
- A food processor
Here's how you make homemade almond butter:
- Get unsalted, unroasted almonds and bake them at 250 degrees for 15 minutes or so.
- Process for 15 minutes or until it looks like almond butter. Don't do this in the morning or you'll wake everyone up!
- Add any salt or other Whole30-approved ingredients that you like. Prefer chunky Toss a handful of almonds in at the end.
It's really that simple.
Fun Ways to Use Almond Butter on Whole30
If you're looking for some other tasty ways to eat Almond Butter on Whole30 besides just taking a spoon to the jar (seriously no shame), then try these out:
- Pour it over fresh fruit like apples or blueberries
- Make an almond butter marinade or Thai almond sauce
- Add it to smoothies
- Spread it over Whole30 bread
- Eat it with celery
Just remember to not go overboard. I know it's delicious but you have to resist over-snacking. You've got this!
Almond butter is the most popular alternative to peanut butter when completing the Whole30 diet. It is a delicious, high-calorie, high-fat food that helps prevent oxidative damage, has magnesium that helps the nervous system, and contains iron that helps your blood deliver oxygen.
The best almond butter has the fewest ingredients, and in general, you're looking for products that solely contain almonds and approved Whole30 oils.
That being said, you can't eat a ton of almond butter on Whole30. Whole30 is about balance, and almond butter is far from a complete food. It's easy to over snack on almond butter, so be careful about where you add it into your diet — immediately before or after a workout is usually best. And if you can't resist it, then it may be better to skip it altogether.
Good luck on your Whole30 journey — you'll feel amazing on the other side!