We're a bunch who love to slather and smear on the spreads, Perth dietician Julie Meek says our favourite spreads may add a tonne of flavour but it comes at a cost.

For years, it's been bread getting the bad wrap but Julie says it's what we're putting on it that's more of a concern.

Mum Meg Mcnab, says sugary spreads like Jam and Nutella are a NO NO for little Hamish, "it's got too much sugar and it gives him too much energy and it's not good for his muscles and it's not good for his brain so he knows that's why he can't have it."

So how do the family favourites stack up on nutritional value?

Starting with butter, "butter and margarine have the highest percentage of fat and therefore calories so they are right up there" considered a cooking staple - expect to add 145 calories to your meal for every tablespoon.

Next, Nutella- one of the worst offenders for sugar, "a tablespoon of Nutella is the same as eating 4 squares of milk chocolate which is crazy!"

To settle those sugar cravings- here's a healthy hazelnut recipe.

All you need is nuts, maple syrup and cocoa. All the flavour; half the sugar.

Next, peanut butter.

And Julie's advice is to go for the crunchy option- not smooth

The more nuts, the more natural.

Next, is Jam.

According to Julie, fruit is a natural sweetener and you can make your own homemade jams in just 10 minutes.

"Chia jam which doesn't have all that sugar only provides you with a couple of grams of sugar compared to the 30 and much less calories."

All you need is 500 grams of frozen berries, chia seeds, water and a spoonful of sugar, all simmering away on the stove for 10 minutes.

As for savoury spreads- here's a unique combination, Julie we've heard peanut butter and jam but avocado and vegemite? I know it seems a little weird but the two together are a fantastic combination."

A mix of healthy fats and fibre- means you'll also stay fuller for longer, Julie says "if you use other spreads like avocado or maybe hummus for example that dramatically reduces the fat content but also adds nutrition in."

Another option, is cream cheese, "calories around 36 compared to 140 plus for the other spreads so it's quite a good one to use." Julie says.

One of Julie's biggest tips is to avoid doubling up- starting with butter and adding a secondary spread on top. "350 calories with a crumpet, plus butter, plus jam, that's a meals worth and compared with what you could have."

As for Meg, she's found a favourite for the family in Jarrah Honey, "I read about it on an Instagram page through a naturopath it's got high antibacterial qualities in it so good bacteria fighting."

Julie says it's all about moderation and one rule to stick by- make sure there's more bread than there is spread.


For more recipes check out Julie Meek's website


Hazelnut Spread

2 cups of nuts, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 3 Tbsp. Cacao, 1/2 cup water.

Toasted hazelnuts, maple syrup and cacao powder

Toast the hazelnuts with the skin on

Blend together the remaining ingredients

Blueberry Chia Jam

500g frozen blueberries, 2 Tbsp. chia seeds, 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1/2-1 cup water.

Place all the ingredients on high heat until soft

Chill in the fridge