Is it healthier than peanut butter?
Reviewed by Dietitian Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., RD
As we're going into the new school season, thinking about what to pack the kids for lunch may be top of mind. If you're a parent, making lunches might be tougher than you thought when considering the food allergies common in children.
And you might be thinking, "Perhaps a SunButter and jelly sandwich is the way to go."
You may have heard of SunButter, the brand-name sunflower butter that's an allergen-free alternative to peanut butter and other nut butters, but if you're skeptical about trying it out, we're breaking it down. Here's everything you need to know about the product and if it's healthy.
What Is SunButter?
SunButter's products are probably what you assume: it's a creamy spread made from sunflower kernels. As nut butter isn't actually butter, neither is SunButter, but its consistency is definitely comparable. It looks like a nut butter, but its original recipe is only made with four ingredients: sunflower kernels, cane sugar, salt and non-GMO emulsifier for creaminess.
SunButter's ingredients are sourced and the product is made in allergen-friendly environments. This means that each jar is completely free from being exposed to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk, eggs, sesame, wheat, fish and shellfish. This particular sunflower butter comes in six types of textures or flavors: natural, organic, creamy, natural crunch, no sugar added and chocolate.
Is SunButter Healthy?
Here's the nutritional information for a 2-tablespoon serving of SunButter's Natural Sunflower Butter:
17 grams total fat
2 grams saturated fat
99 milligrams sodium
6 grams carbohydrates
3 grams total sugar
3 grams added sugar
2 grams fiber
7 grams protein
Low in carbs, low in added sugar and packed with protein and healthy fats, we're excited to see nutritious, allergen-friendly alternatives to favorite foods. Overall, SunButter is a healthy option to spread, dip or straight-up enjoy.
SunButter vs. Peanut Butter: Which Is Healthier?
Let's compare natural SunButter to natural peanut butter. Here's the nutrition breakdown for 2 tablespoons of Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter:
16 grams total fat
3 grams saturated fat
110 milligrams sodium
7 grams carbohydrates
2 grams sugar
0 grams added sugar
3 grams fiber
8 grams protein
The natural peanut butter and sunflower butter are nearly identical when it comes to their nutritional benefits. While the natural peanut butter has slightly more fiber and protein and less sugar, the sunflower butter has less sodium and a gram less carbs and saturated fat. But at the end of the day, these differences are small.
It's important to note that SunButter's main goal is to provide an allergen-friendly alternative to nut butters, so we're happy to see that they're so comparable in nutritional value. As for choosing which is healthier, it's hard to say for this reason. Feel free to enjoy whichever option aligns with your food preferences, tastes and tolerances, as both are nutritious choices to add to your routine.
The Bottom Line
SunButter is a widely known, healthy, allergen-friendly alternative to nut butters on the market. And it's a healthy choice if you're packing a lunch for a nut-free setting or you or a loved one has peanut or tree nut allergies. It's high in protein and healthy fats, meaning that including SunButter in your sandwiches will keep you satisfied and fueled to take on the remainder of the afternoon. Check out this list of the top 10 healthiest foods for kids.