How to Keep Your Nut Butter Calories In Check

Hi, friends!

As you know, I lovvveeee nut butter. ALL of them. At one point, I was eating a jar a week by myself, which, of course, is not necessarily a bad thing, but, I couldn’t help but think: Was it too much of a good thing?

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I received a great question from a reader yesterday on my “A Mostly ‘Normal’ Day of Eating” post:

Hi Tina! A few people mentioned portion sizes in their comments which made me think about nut butters – I think you touched on this a few months back about trying to keep that in check. Could you please do a post on that or talk about any tips you have for it? I can’t keep my spoon out of the almond butter jar sometimes and almost always have 3-4 tbsp instead of keeping it at 2! Thanks!

I can totally relate. A lot of mornings, I eat a similar amount of peanut butter on my toast and then I spread even more on the leftover banana. It satisfies me and keeps me full for awhile, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating that much nut butter in one sitting. I mean, if you’re hungry and it fills you up, go for it, especially if you’re active/need the calories and not trying to lose weight.

However, if you’re watching your calories and want to lose weight, I know the struggle is real. Nut butter is one of my favorite foods ever, and I know it’s easy to go overboard with it. That said, here are some ways to keep your nut butter consumption in check:

  • Measure it – A serving of nut butter is 2 tablespoons, so use your measuring spoon to keep your portion size in check. You can further keep yourself on track by storing your measuring spoons right next to your jar of nutter. That way, you always know how much to use. After awhile, you’ll be able to eyeball a serving and won’t need to measure anymore.
  • Use nut butter packets – Similar to measuring your nut butter, single-serving nut butter packets (like Justin’s) help you keep your portions in control. The next time you go to buy a jar of nut butter, consider buying a box of packets instead. It’s tough to go overboard if you’re opening packet after packet.
  • Mix it with Greek yogurt or part-skim ricotta – Here is an easy way to cut calories and boost the protein content in your nut butter: Peanut Butter Delight!
  • Try powered peanut butter – I personally haven’t tried powdered peanut butter, but I know a lot of people like PB2, which has few calories and less fat.
  • Switch it up – Instead of eating nut butter 24/7, try a different kind of spread in your diet. For example, apple and pumpkin butter are quite delicious and quite a bit lower in calories. You can also switch up your meals to not include nut butter. So, for instance, if you always eat oatmeal with nut butter for breakfast, try eggs or Greek yogurt with cereal and fruit instead.

Questions of the Day

Any other ideas to add to the list? How much nut butter do you typically eat? 

26 Comments

  1. Ha, I just had a a-ha moment that I eat too many nuts! I grab a handful several times a day leading me to eat waaaay too many of them. I just started tracking on myfitnesspal and I was way over with fat & protein. I got rid of the nuts and voila!
    Nut butters are the same, so good timing.

  2. Oh how real this struggle is! I can’t keep a jar of PB at work anymore – I would go through several spoonfuls an afternoon! Now I portion it into the miniature disposal containers and bring only one serving at a time. Sometimes I like to enjoy PB as my “dessert” after dinner. I have found that microwaving 2 TBSPs in a ramekin and eating slowing with a small spoon makes it last longer and therefore makes it more satisfying!

  3. I have the same addiction! There’s another great peanut butter powder called Just Great Stuff Organic Powdered, Peanut Butter. It only has three ingredients – organic peanuts, organic coconut sugar, and sea salt! It’s my go-to and I feel less guilt about the added sugar because it’s from a better source!

  4. Powdered peanut butter is great! Sometimes I’ll do half regular PB, half powdered PB and mix them together so it bulks it up without adding too many calories 🙂

    I also measure out single servings of nut butter into small containers to bring as snacks to work because otherwise I definitely will eat half the jar in a sitting

  5. Thank you so much for posting this! I was just thinking this morning about how I am probably eating WAY too much nut butter!

  6. I eat a lot. I make my own almond butter and I have it on a piece of cinnamon raisin toast before I work out and then some days I will also make an extra AB + jelly sandwich. I also used to snack on it w Medjool dates, but I’m on a hiatus from that.

    I prob eat more than I should, but I also exercise plenty and feel pretty good so I’m gonna keep going! 🙂

  7. I’m a nut junkie so i have to stick to portioned versions. I just moved in with a friend for awhile and finally told her she need to hide her nuts because I’ve gone through two bags! addicted to crunch!

  8. This does make me feel better knowing I’m not the only one who can’t hardly control the nutbutter addiction.
    lol…and when I read the “if you normally have oatmeal with nutbutter for breakfast, try eggs”…I actually felt a pang of anxiety at the thought of a morning without my beloved.
    Isn’t a Tbsp as much as that spoon can hold…including what is hanging off the bottom? lol

  9. Love this! Great ideas too. To really savor the nut butter you can mix equal amounts of nut butter with non dairy milk. Oh she glows has a great recipe – she adds a touch of maple syrup and cinnamon.

    http://ohsheglows.com/2011/05/05/abu-half-the-calories-double-the-fun-almond-butter-2/

    I’ve also tried using nuts and seeds as I don’t overdo those as I do nut butter. Plus it’s nice to change things up.

    Another Great tip is to use a very small spoon when scooping some out. This way you’ll take less but it will look like a lot on the tiny spoon lol

    I’ve also tried not opening a new jar right away when one finishes. This worked well too because I can add new items to my diet.

  10. Lately (and SHOCKINGLY) I’ve been good about controlling the amount of nut butters I eat because it is so darn good and SO easy to eat more than you “need”. I’ll have 1-2 TBSP in a smoothie and if I have oatmeal, oh you know some nut butter is going in that!

  11. I’m a nut butter fanatic and have no signs of lowering my intake anytime soon, but I do know some people mix a bit of canned pumpkin with it to reduce calories. I’ve tried it, and honestly it’s delicious – I don’t eat it because it’s lower in calories but because it’s yummy & something a little different 😀

  12. I could eat that ENTIRE jar of Teddie’s in one sitting haha. I’m moving 0.25 miles away from the Teddie factory this weekend and am going to be in trouble 🙂

  13. I also can’t really buy it anymore. I just have a hard time keeping a spoon out of it in the evenings. I do find the packets helpful for that reason.

  14. Nut butter is definitely one of my favorite things to snack on, particularly now that I’m pregnant! I don’t worry about portion size too much right now, but I’ll have to save this for when I’m trying to lose some of this baby weight!

  15. Oh man, so good to know thanks to you and commenters that so many people can relate to the nut butter obsession. Some days I feel like my oatmeal is almost equal parts oats and nut butter haha! Great tips – I’m excited to try mixing it with greek yogurt.

  16. This post resonates with me as I used to totally overdo it with nut butter! One of my fixes is to buy more liquidy nut butters. It’s much harder to have a big ole spoonful that way! But still just as enjoyable in yogurt/oatmeal/etc. My favorite is Trader Joe’s almond butter!

  17. I can’t eat nuts but love me some sunbutter. I’m sure I eat too much. But I’m on a limited diet with allergies and I just gravitate towards it. It’s too good to quit. Moderation and alternating foods is probably a good idea.

  18. I use PB2 in smoothies to either bulk up the taste of whatever nut butter I put in, or in substitution entirely. It seems like you have to use half a jar of butter in smoothies for the taste to be there either way.

  19. My tip to limit nut butter is to keep it somewhere kind of difficult to get to. So when I want to put a just a dollop of Nikki’s cake batter coconut butter on my oatmeal, I have to find it, measure it out, and then I make sure I put it back where it came from so that it isn’t still sitting on the counter or the table in front of me where it is more accessible while I eat.

  20. I’m a dietitian and regularly have conversations with my patients about how, despite being a healthy snack, the calories in nuts/nut butters can add up very quickly, so portion control is very important. But I’m totally guilty of being a little too heavy-handed with the almond butter on my morning waffle or oatmeal – it’s just so delicious!

    Another great trick for eyeballing a portion of nut butter is that two tablespoons should be about the size of a golf ball when you scoop it out.

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