What Are Tree Nuts?
Tree nuts are a common addition to many recipes, serving as an added source of nutrition, flavor, and texture in muffins, cookies, breads, meat dishes, snack and granola bars, salads, and almost every other kind of food. Common tree nuts include brazil nuts, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, and walnuts.
However, many individuals can’t or don’t eat tree nuts for a variety of reasons. It can be difficult to replace or avoid tree nuts every time the recipe calls for them, but there are some easy and readily available alternatives that will ensure you don’t have to sacrifice taste, health, or crunch when giving up tree nuts.
Reasons for Avoiding Tree Nuts
Many people avoid tree nuts because of an allergy. Tree nut allergies are the third most common type of allergy in the United States, affecting around 1% of the population. Unlike some other food allergies, tree nut allergies are unlikely to go away with age.
Tree nut allergies are some of the most severe and can be very dangerous. People with this condition are generally advised by doctors to carry an EpiPen with them at all times. Doctors also recommend stopping eating all tree nuts, even if a person knows they are only allergic to one or two nuts. Allergic individuals should avoid all foods made with tree nuts, such as oils, butters, snacks, and dishes made with them.
Alternatives to Tree Nuts
Tree nuts are often used to provide a distinctive crunchy texture to baked or cooked foods. However, if a person can’t eat tree nuts, easy alternatives include oats (roasting them in butter before mixing them in can replicate a delicious nutty flavor), granola, crisp rice cereal, or even chocolate chips. White chocolate chips aren’t the healthiest option but stay crunchy after baking, and you can never go wrong with chocolate! Raisins or dried cranberries add texture, color, and a sweet flavor that can be substituted for tree nuts on a 1:1 ratio. For plant-based alternatives that still pack a protein punch, try pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, chickpeas, beans, or lentils.
Delicious Tree Nut-Free Protein Bars
For a delicious treat that’s as good for your body as it is for your taste buds, try Dr. Jen’s gluten-free protein bars. Our bars are high in protein and fiber, low in sugar, and allergy-friendly for individuals with dietary restrictions. While not all of our protein bars are tree nut-free, our mint chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate flavors use safe alternatives. If you have any questions about how we prepare our healthy protein bars or which ones you should try first, feel free to contact us today.