Everything is okay in moderation, right? Maybe yes, maybe no. Butter and cream are two common foods that have tip-toed their way into everything we eat. The world loves these creamy sensations since they provide our food with richness in texture and fatty, delightful flavors. Unfortunately, butter and cream can take a toll on our bodies. Found in baked goods, breads, coffee, pasta dishes and in processed foods, these dairy-based foods are everywhere! Most often our cravings come from a lack of specific nutrients. Craving butter and heavy creams? You probably need some healthier fats in your diet. While vegan butter does exist in grocery stores, tubs of this stuff can contain additives and ingredients that are just as bad for you as dairy butter.

Here are 5 plant-based spreads that are good for you, taste stunningly creamy, and can easily take the place of butter (or cream).

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Source: Meal Makeover Moms/Shutterstock

Coconut oil or coconut butter are the ultimate butter and cream replacements. There are amazing health benefits of this multi-purposeful food, including fat-burning qualities and digestive benefits. Coconut oil and butter can be used to sauté vegetables or tofu, roast vegetables and mildly flavor foods for a creamy taste. Coconut oil and butter can also be used in baked goods to replace butter in vegan treats like these Raw Chocolate Coconut Balls or Coconutty Cinnamon Roll Pancakes. You can even make Homemade Vegan Butter with all the great texture and flavor of butter and cream, but without  any dairy whatsoever.

2. Avocado

Vegan Avocado Brownies

Source: Avocado Brownies

You can’t go wrong with avocado– ever. This green fruit is creamy like butter, but packs a much higher nutrient boost. Avocado not only tastes great on toasts or in sandwiches, but it can literally replace the role of dairy  in foods. Many baked goods can use avocado instead of butter or cream to make them healthier for you. For example, this Healthy Chocolate Avocado Fudge uses avocado to increase anti- inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Avocado is also great for being whipped up and mixed into rice and pasta dishes to get that creamy, rich texture we all love.

3. Fruit Butter

Vegan Toasted Banana Bread With Passionfruit Butter

Source: Toasted Banana Bread With Passion Fruit Butter

Toast and butter is a breakfast classic. Instead of using this dairy spread, try making homemade apple butter or date butter for a morning delight. Fruit butters double as a creamy spread and a jam, making them perfect for sweet flavors. Spread on toast, a bagel, or even on top of pancakes for a warm and nutritious meal. For a special treat, make these Apple Butter Cookies that will be sure to please any butter lover. Feeling savory? Opt out of dairy butter and make this Apple Date Dipping Sauce to go along with sweet potato fries, crackers or as a sandwich spread. To get a more earthy fruit flavor, try making Pumpkin Butter!

4. Nut Butter

Vanilla Maple Cashew Butter

Source: Vanilla Maple Cashew Butter

Nut butter is a beloved butter by many plant-based eaters. There are so many ways to use nut butters to create filling snacks and meals. Nut butter can replace dairy butter in both savory and sweet dishes. For sweet, make these Raw Peanut Butter Cookies that use peanut butter in replace of dairy butter and oil. For savory, try using almond butter to enhance curries and stir fries. Go nuts for nuts and make this Black Bean and Pecan Butter Sauce to serve with grilled vegetables. For a snack, try nut butter on crackers like these Raw Cheez Crackers With Almond Butter. Beyond just almond and peanut are cashew butter, pecan butter and even walnut butter.

5. Pureed Vegetables

Smoky Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus

Source: Smoky Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus

The most savory and unique way to replace butter or cream is to puree vegetables. For instance, instead of a sour cream dip or a buttery spread on toast, use something from veggies instead. You can use hummus, salsa, or make hummus with veggies. This Zucchini Hummus is an awesome bean-alternative and makes a creamy dip for spreading. Not only are pureed vegetables much healthier than butter, they are wholesomely tasteful and can be snuck into many dishes. If you’re feeling sweet, make these Spiked Sweet Potato Truffles. These use pureed sweet potatoes in place of that typical, buttery truffle center. These vegan Butternut Squash Muffins replace butter with purred squash, yet they still have a fluffy and moist texture.

We hope you’ll give these a try in all your vegan recipes. Remember that replacements for animal products can always be made with whole foods. Dairy is an easy place to start, so give it a try if you haven’t already!

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

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