5 alternatives to peanut butter for a peanut-free classroom

I really do consider myself lucky that my kids don’t have a peanut allergy. And I consider myself more lucky that so far, kids in their classes haven’t had any that would require banning it from the classroom. Still, I know we won’t always be so lucky. And with more and more schools and after-school programs banning PB, I’ve put together a few options for you parents who might be trying to balance a peanut-loving kid with a peanut-free classroom this year.

Justin’s Nut Butters

I am such a huge fan of these organic nut butters (above), with flavors like maple almond (my fave!) and chocolate macadamia for those who can’t partake in the honey-peanut. Get them in jars or in squeeze packs to take on the go. One caveat though: Justin’s Nut Butters are not made in a peanut-free facility, and the label warns the non-peanut butters may contain traces of peanuts. So they’re not for kids with peanut allergies, but for kids who are around those who have one.

Barney Butter Almond Butter - peanut-free

Barney Butter

This all-natural almond butter is a big hit with our readers–and their moms who liked the limited list of all-natural ingredients, and the lower calorie count.

Blue Diamond almond butter - peanut-free

Blue Diamond Almond Butter

Famous for their almonds, it’s no surprise that Blue Diamond also makes a great almond butter. Guaranteed made in a peanut-free facility, it’s a safe and delicious bet. Plus there’s a honey version – yum.

Sunbutter - peanut-free sunflower seed butter


If you can’t have any nuts at all, Sunbutter is made from roasted sunflower seeds. It doesn’t taste quite the same as nuts of course, but it’s pretty darn good. Choose from creamy, crunchy, or organic unsweetened which is great with your favorite jam. There are also great, affordable sunflower butter options from stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

TANABAR peanut-free chewy granola bars from Vermont Nut-Free


As a snacking alternative, these chewy, all-natural granola bars from Vermont Nut-Free live up to the name. Not only is this tasty snack bar free of peanuts and tree nuts, it’s free of sesame, coconut and gluten too, so it’s a pretty safe bet for classroom treats.

Check out our archives for more nut-free treats for peanut-free classrooms!

Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don't have to. Hope this one fits the bill.


  • Reply September 6, 2011


    We LOVE the Trader Joe’s Sunflower Butter

  • Reply September 6, 2011


    My kids are in LOVE with Barney Butter, it is made in a peanut free facility and it is the only other nut butter my kids will eat!!

  • Reply September 6, 2011


    We aren’t even allowed to have spreads at our school!! I mean, I get it… it could be accidental peanut butter… but still. Gotta get creative sans spreads. :/

  • Reply September 7, 2011


    We were using a Wow butter http://www.soybutter.com/, but I started to worry about too much soy day-in, day-out in my son’s diet (he’s VERY picky and takes a PB&j every day). Now I’ve switched to a product made with brown peas. Fo real! And he hasn’t noticed a difference in the taste. Unfortch, it does have icing sugar as an ingredient. http://www.peabutter.ca/Nutrition_Info/nutrition_info.html But no sodium and 2g of protein for tbsp.

  • Cool Mom Picks
    Reply September 7, 2011

    Cool Mom Picks

    Fantastic idea, thank you!

  • Reply September 7, 2011


    LOVE LOVE LOVE Sunbutter!! I prefer crunchy. My kids like creamy.

  • Reply September 7, 2011

    Barefoot Liz

    We are allergic to tree nuts (not peanuts) so we use Sunbutter. It’s yummy!

  • Reply September 8, 2011


    My son’s school is also peanut-free, so we’ve been using I.M. Healthy soy nut butter (the creamy honey variety). It’s delicious, and better yet, it’s REALLY CHEAP. Most of the other nut butters are $7-$8 a jar. The soy nut butter is like $4 a jar.

  • Reply September 8, 2011


    Thanks for this list. I know my son’s daycare has some sort of nut-free policy but this is spurring me on to ask for more details. I can get him to eat turkey sandwiches at home but for some reason, he won’t eat them at daycare and I’ve been longing for the ease of sending a PB&J sandwich that I know he’ll eat, especially so I know he’s getting that protein.

  • Reply September 8, 2011


    That Sunbutter is mighty tasty!

  • Reply September 10, 2011


    I am lucky too, in that my kids can (so far) eat anything, but can’t take peanut butter to school. However, I personally loathe peanut butter.

    Sunflower butter is a whole other story. I *love* it! And I think Sunbutter is the best of the kinds I’ve tried. It has a lighter texture than almond butters, which seem too dense and gritty most of the time.

  • Reply September 14, 2011


    Might want to reword that one. Trust me, you are way luckier to have a peanut free classroom for a year than you are to have a child with a peanut allergy for life. Having a peanut allergy is a dark cloud which follows you wherever you go. :(
    Thank you for this post though. I think it’s important for us to remember that just bc PB was a staple in our childhood, it doesn’t have to be in our children’s, especially with all of these (healthier) alternatives. We try to use a peanut free classroom as an opportunity to teach our kids how to sacrifice for others’ needs. The children “get” this way more than most parents. A vaccine will be out within 10 years, and I’m betting SunButter will be the new staple by then! :)

  • Reply September 18, 2011


    Great post. Thanks for the tips and reminders to parents who, imo, are the ones who freak out at the thought of being in a peanut-free zone. My son has almost died twice from accidental exposures and I can tell you that the sacrifice you make packing your child’s lunch can save a life. Check out http://www.nutfree.me for more choices. It’s not as bad as you think it is.

  • Reply September 21, 2011


    Amazon subscribe and save often has Sunflower Butter 6 pk for cheap, I’ve gotten it on sale for $20. My 4 year old daughter has a peanut allergy, she likes almond butter but she loves this stuff. Also great for my son who isn’t supposed to have PB until he is 2, due to her allergy. My older daughter’s school is not Peanut free but because she has an allergic friend and because she understands the severity due to her sister’s allergy, she doesn’t take PB&J to school. She uses the sunbutter just to be cautious and compassionate.

  • Reply May 13, 2012


    This is a great article about alternatives to peanuts, and I’d love if we could throw our name out there, too! We make nut butters with Oregon-grown and roasted hazelnuts in small batches.

    They are made in a little kitchen, and they are made to spread easily and go great in recipes or even on Ice Cream—yummmmm!

    We are Genuine Oregon, and we’d love if you would check out our stuff!

  • Reply September 18, 2012


    We love I.M. Healthy soynut butter. Luckily our local Kroger carries it and I don’t even miss peanut butter. It tastes the same and my daughters love it. http://www.soynutbutter.com/

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