The Best Nut Butters for Runners
It’s no secret that runners and athletes know how to throw back a good pb&j (or any nut butter-style snack, dessert, or meal). Nut butters are kind of a “thing” among endurance athletes, and rightly so! They have a well-balanced nutrient profile that makes them ideal for fueling intense workouts.
Why Are Nut Butters Good for Runners in the First Place?
Nuts are naturally high in (good) fats, and so are their nut butter counterparts. Fats are actually a better, more easily accessible fuel source to fuel longer, slower workouts than carbs are. Not to mention, the unsaturated fats that nuts contain help lower bad cholesterol and regulate the endocrine system to keep your hormones in check.
Nut butters also keep you full longer than other carb-dense snacks– and we all know how easy it can be for runners to get hangry! Having a snack that keeps you full is extremely beneficial in getting runners through long, intense workouts without stomachs growling or “hitting the wall” too soon. This fullness comes from the protein that’s packed into each tablespoon, which also is a key factor in helping athletes recover after an intense workout, and for growing and repairing fatigued muscles.
All of these reasons play into why nut butters are an excellent snack or meal choice before, during, AND after a run! Below are some of the best options of nut butter out right now.
Before a Run
Nut butters are a great breakfast or pre-run snack. Pair it with a simple carbohydrate (like a plain bagel, English Muffin, toast, or piece of fruit) to avoid any digestion issues from complex carbs on your run. Breakfast is the perfect time to get creative with your nut butter choice. Here is when you can experiment with different flavors and splurge on some pricier brands because you are eating it straight up and definitely want the best taste experience possible.
Wild Friends Vanilla Espresso Almond Butter: This brand is perfect for before a run because it is made with real espresso beans, so the caffeine in it will help give you an added kick.
Nuttzo Crunchy Seven Nut & Seed Butter: This nut butter contains a variety of nuts and seeds, which results in a unique mouthfeel and flavor combination that really livens up the same old boring breakfast staples. It’s smooth and crunchy (and delicious) all at once! Plus, with so many seeds and nuts, you’re incorporating a variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that you certainly don’t get in your standard jar of peanut butter
Trader Joe’s Creamy Almond Butter: This brand has a runnier consistency than most other brands but is super nutty and tastes authentically of almonds. It continues time and again to be one of Trader Joe’s highest selling products so you know it’s good. And its runny-ness makes it a great drizzle option on top of breakfast smoothies, yogurt, cereal, waffles and more.
During a Run
Nut butter is also a great trail snack when you are literally on the go. Luckily, several fantastic brands sell their products in convenient squeezable packets that are easy to slide into pockets or fuel belts and squirt into your mouth during a run.
Yumbutter Plant Protein + Probiotic Almond Butter Packets : This brand has a unique, easy-to-use spout so it can be poured/slurped directly into your mouth without mess. It also contains a blend of proteins for variety and pro-biotics for an added health kick
Justin’s Almond Butter Packets: The perfect choice if you’re concerned with GMOs and quality ingredients. All Justin’s products contain only nuts locally sourced in Boulder, CO where the company is located and all ingredients are certified organic. Users rave because of its simplicity: just three ingredients and low sugar content make it the most “authentic” tasting almond nut butter of our bunch.
Peanut Butter & Co. Squeeze Packets: PB & Co. sells their nut butters in “Smooth Operator” (their traditional creamy pb) and“The Bee’s Knees” (a creamy pb with a hint of honey). Both are delicious and perfect for a run.
After a Run
Once you’re done with your workout, you’ll want to go for a protein-packed snack to help your muscles and body recover. Nut butter it is! For even more protein enjoy your post-run nut butter with a glass of chocolate milk. You can even get creative with your dinner recipes and make a Thai Noodle with Peanut Butter Sauce or drizzled on top of a baked sweet potato served alongside a juicy steak. When using nut butters in other recipes, you can stick with the cheaper brands that still taste great, like the ones below. (And avoid funky variations, like ones sweetened with flavors).
Skippy Natural Creamy: A childhood favorite! It’s great in everything from a simple PB&J to a fancy meal.
Jif Cashew Butter: You probably recognize the brand, but the actual product might be a new one. Cashew Butter is taking the nut butter market by storm and quickly becoming a fan favorite. Cashews make for an extra creamy and seemingly-indulgent nut butter, with virtually the same nutritional profile as standard nut butters.These days, cashews are so much more than just a Happy Hour bar snack!
Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter: They don’t just make the jelly to accompany the peanut butter. Smucker’s Natural is another brand of peanut butter that users just rave about. It has a super nutty flavor that will come through in dishes. Fair warning: the oil and nuts will separate, so it will take some stirring power. But the runnier consistency means it will drizzle and mix easily into your recipes.