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Andrea Bayles Nutritional Therapist
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What can you spread instead of butter? Alternatives for spreading….

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Here are some delicious alternatives for using on your bread or crackers to help them taste better and reduce your intake of saturated fats.


Healthy, natural and good for you. This is one of my favourites spread on crunchy grain toast on its own or with tomato, cucumber and rocket.

Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fat the same heart-friendly fat as in olive oil and macadamias with little of the 'bad' saturated fat.

At 22 per cent total fat, it is a lot lower than butter (80%), margarine and most light variants so you can afford to spread it on thickly. Buy a small avocado if it's just for yourself or a large one if there's more to feed.


Hummus makes a great healthy option. It is made from tahini (sesame seed paste), chick peas, lemon, garlic and salt, and has 15 to 20 per cent fat, a little less than avocado, but with the same benefit of it being low in saturated fat. Now that supermarkets sell tubs of it, it's easy to keep in the fridge. Use with vegetable crudites or on toast wedges of flatbread or crackers with a drink.

Olive Oil

A Mediterranean favourite, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat and contributes to the long-life that the Mediterranean diets are renowned for! Drizzled on toast or used for dunking, it adds its fresh zesty flavour that beats the taste of margarine or butter perfect with your morning eggs and tomato. Or try tossing tomatoes, fresh torn basil and pepper through a light drizzle of olive oil and heap on fresh grainy bread or toasted rye sourdough. A great alternative breakfast and packed with anti-cancer properties too!

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a great option for kids with its mild taste and interesting soft consistency. Spread on toast, crispbread or crackers. There's full-fat or regular cottage cheese (4 per cent fat) as well as the low-fat version - and you'll be loving it with approximately 2 per cent fat! Think of it as a spreadable skimmed milk!


Italian for 'twice-cooked', ricotta is similar to cottage cheese but is smoother in texture with no added salt. It can be a by-product of cheese (made from the whey leftover from other cheeses) or it can be made with cow's milk whey. Not only spreadable, ricotta can be used in baking, sweet or savoury, and in pasta dishes like lasagne or in spinach pies. Try ricotta spread thickly on scones or toast topped with jam or honey.

Peanut Butter

Convenient and kids love it. At around 50 per cent fat, it makes a great substitute for butter and adds a bonus of protein as well, which is handy if you're vegetarian. The 'purest' choice is a 100 per cent peanut variety which is often in the health food aisle.

Many of the supermarket smooth or crunchy types have added oil and less peanut but they're still an OK choice.

No added salt types taste fine there's enough gutsy flavour from the peanuts so you won't miss the salt.

Light peanut butter has approximately 30% less fat and saturated fat but usually has added sugar. I prefer to use regular peanut butter - and spread it thinly - than to have peanuts with added sugar on my toast!

Light Cream Cheese

Light cream cheese (eg. Philly) offers you a nice slightly-sour flavour change with around one-third less fat than the full-fat version.

For the fat phobic:

Here's how the fat content of these seven stacks up against butter or margarine:


% fat*

% sat fat*







Olive oil



Peanut butter









Light cream cheese



Cottage cheese






* Figures in grams per 100g


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