Grilled Almond Butter, Dark Chocolate & Fruit Sandwich

This is no ordinary PB&J! It takes all the essential elements of one – bread, nut butter & fruit jelly, and gives it a mouth-watering gourmet twist. This is the PB&J for adults – a healthy, delicious, quality snack or even dessert. Once you have this, you’ll never go back!

Ingredients

  • 4 slices whole grain crusty bread
  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 4 tbsp roasted salted almond butter
  • 4 squares dark chocolate (don’t exceed 70% cacao)
  • 2-3 tbsp fruit – pomegranate, banana, mango, peach, the choice is yours!

Gently butter (or oil) the outsides of the all the 4 slices of bread.

Slather the inside of 2 slices with almond butter.

Top the almond buttered sides with 2 squares of dark chocolate each, and your fruit (chopped as required).

Top with the other slice of bread, buttered slice up and place in a heated pan or skillet.

Push down with a heavy spatula to compress. Gently flip when the bottom is browned and crusty – about 2-3 minutes. Cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes & serve immediately!

*Foodstree Pro Tip: The choice of fruit is completely dependent on your mood and your taste! Bananas for a creamy texture, pomegranates for a sweet pop, peaches and mango for a tangy addition – the possibilities are endless.

Fat Is Our Friend! – Mythbuster 2.0

F-A-T. One of the most controversial 3-letter words in the English language. We’re not here to judge anyone’s lifestyles or bodies, we’d only like to dispel one of the longest held beliefs about fats in food. Fat has often been portrayed as the ultimate dietary nemesis and most people have been trained to choose low-fat foods over high-fat ones.

However, fat is actually an essential part of any healthy diet and necessary for a strong body and mind! The key lies in which fats you choose to eat, healthy or unhealthy. Healthy fats – namely mono and poly unsaturated fats help to reduce bad cholesterol, keep your heart in good shape and benefit insulin levels. Unhealthy fats, of which trans fats are the worst and saturated fats partially so, increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

So where can you get these good fats and avoid the bad ones? Most of the sources of healthy fats are common knowledge, so we’ll list them out for you here:

  1. Avocado: Versatile, delicious, cholesterol free and jam packed with monounsaturated fats
  2. Nuts: One to the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, especially walnuts. Also rich in other vitamins and minerals, depending on the variety
  3. Nut & Seed Butters: An easier way to get all the fatty goodness of nuts.
  4. Olives & Olive Oil: A cup of olive contains 15g of fat, and one tbsp. of oil contains 14g.
  5. Fish: Oily fish like salmon, trout, tuna etc are full of omega-3 fatty acids.
  6. Dark Chocolate: Contains healthy fats, anti-oxidants, vitamins A, B & E… we could keep going!
  7. Tofu: Along with healthy fats, one serving of tofu contains almost a quarter of your daily calcium needs.
  8. Eggs: An inexpensive source of unsaturated fat, protein and choline.

Unhealthy fats on the other hand are generally found in the usual culprits – processed and fried foods. When purchasing food, look out for terms such as ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ oil on the nutrition label. Those are just fancy terms for hiding trans-fat, which is completely unnatural, produced under complex chemical conditions and extremely bad for you. It’s the common prevalence of these trans-fats and their adverse health impact that gives all fat a bad rap!

While saturated fat is not as harmful as trans fat it is still believed to increase cholesterol, which in turn can cause a host of other problems. In other words, while unsaturated fats are actively healthy, saturated fats are now considered neutral to the body in the within the correct quantities. These are hence best had in moderation, up to 15g per day. Common sources of saturated fat are butter, cream, red meat and cheese.

So that’s the low down on fat – the good, the bad and the ugly. However, one thing that we would like to reinforce is that just like the right friends, the right fats are in fact extremely beneficial for you! Most dieticians would recommend up to 20-35% of you daily calorie intake coming from fat, for a normal individuals diet. Some celebrity nutritionists like Rujuta Dwivedkar even promote the intake of healthy fats like ghee! So let’s not demonize all fat and instead make informed, conscious decisions to replace the bad with the good in our diets.

 

Going Nuts Over Butter?

We’re sure you’ve heard of peanut butter, but recently nut butters have become all the rage. As a snack, and a creamer, as a dip – you name it. So, let’s break them down for you here.

What is a nut butter?

To put it simply, it’s a mixture made of finely ground nuts. Due to its high fat content, it spreads like natural dairy-based butter, but is otherwise unrelated. Nut butters can be made from any of a number of nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, pistachio, walnut and the humble peanut of course, among others. Even some seeds can be used to make similar butters, including pumpkin, sesame, flax and sunflower.

How is nut butter made?

While different nut butters have different flavouring agents and oils added, the essential method for all remains the same. Your favourite nuts and/or seeds are poured into a food processor and ground away. Depending on the strength of the processor and the nuts being used, this generally takes a while.

Initially the nuts will grind into a finer and finer flour, but show no signs of becoming creamy. But this is when the magic is about to happen! Eventually, the nut particles will begin exuding their natural oils, turning the flour-y mixture into a creamy rich butter.

Many variations yield slightly different results – some add a bit of oil to speed up the process, others quickly roast the nuts beforehand to give a better flavour. We’re of the opinion that these additional tweaks completely vary from nut to nut, so it’s relative. However, one thing that is never added is water-based liquids such as milk, juice, or liquid flavour extracts – that’s a sure shot recipe for a clumpy, congealed mess!

Which one is the best?

So, which butter should you go for? The answer to this question completely depends on you! Different butters have different tastes and textures, and can be used for different purposes. The Foodstree Team personally loves almond butter as their standout favourite, due to its versatility and because various flavourings can be added to it with ease.

However, there’s not much to differentiate them in terms of nutrition. Here’s approximately what you get in about 2 tbsp. of these butters:

Nut/Seed Calories Fat Carbohydrates Fiber Protein Calcium
Almond 190 16g 6g 4g 7g 80mg
Cashew 190 15g 10g 2g 6g 40mg
Peanut 190 17g 7g 3g 8g 20mg
Hazelnut 180 17g 5g 3g 4g 40mg
Macadamia 230 24g 4g 3g 2g 20mg
Soynut 190 15g 10g 5g 9g 60mg
Sunflower 180 12g 8g 4g 9g 0mg

 

Don’t be put off by their fat content – these are healthy fats that boost your heart health, reduce bad cholesterol, and decrease your risk of diabetes among other benefits. (For more on this stay tuned for our Mythbuster 2.0)

So, I think we can all agree, nut butters are an excellent addition to your staples! They are super versatile, as you’ll be able to tell with the recipes we’ve got coming up for you this month. You can head over to our shop page to get them ready made, or if you’re feeling adventurous get the ingredients to make them yourself.