August 30, 2009

Alternatives available for peanut butter

More U.S. schools are banning peanut butter for school lunches because some children have allergies but a registered dietitian says there are alternatives.

Joyce Barnett, a registered dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says there are tasty alternatives to peanut butter.

Spreads made from other nuts or seeds provide a nutritious alternative to peanut butter, Barnett says in a statement.

Barnett recommends parents have their children try different spreads including:

-- Almond butter, which is high in protein and is a great source of potassium. Research has shown that almonds, which are tree nuts, can help reduce the risk of heart disease as well as total cholesterol levels.

-- Soy nut butter, made from soybeans, which generally has as much fiber as its peanut counterpart. It's peanut and tree-nut free, but children with soy allergies should avoid it.

-- Sunflower seed butter, which is peanut and tree-nut free and good for kids with peanut allergies. One two-tablespoon serving has more than one-third of a child's daily magnesium and vitamin E requirements.