Food for Thought

Tasty Tuesday: Let’s Talk Peanut Butter

Let’s talk peanut butter. Today’s post won’t include a recipe, but give you some ideas for your next tasty snack!

Peanut Butter has been in our diet since we were little kids, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was a staple in lunch boxes. And now everyone worries peanut butter can cause weight gain due to the high calorie and fat in this particular food. But did you realize that the nutrient information is what makes this food nutrition friendly? As long as it’s in moderation?

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A serving of peanut butter usually contains around 190 to 200 kcal/2 Tablespoons, and packed with protein and good fats. So, this makes for a great snack with our favorite fruit, in our breakfast, or paired with our favorite whole grain.

A few years ago, natural peanut butter gained more and more popularity. But once we got everyone on the bandwagon, the use of palm oil became an issue; people were concerned over palm oil and the health concerns associated with it. (Palm Oil is a highly saturated fat, vegetable oil derived from the palm fruit.) This is an oil used as an alternative to trans fat, and too much can have negative effects. Studies have found that high amounts of palm oil were causing elevated cholesterol levels, specifically LDL cholesterol, and increasing risk for heart disease. However, looking at the ingredient list of most peanut butters, this particular oil can be difficult to avoid. The main thing to remember are two things: read your ingredients’ label and be mindful of your portions. Look on your ingredient list and determine where palm oil falls, the closer to the beginning of the list, the more it will contain. And remember your portion sizes; most peanut butters are 2 Tablespoons. Make sure you are measuring out your treat instead of eating out of the container.

Peanut butter is packed with fiber, protein, and unsaturated fats, along with many vitamins and minerals. Making this an “action packed” snack that will provide health benefits such as HDL (good) cholesterol, protein, and fullness. When using peanut butter as a snack, it helps to keep you fuller longer and provide energy you may need at that time. You can pair peanut butter with apples, bananas, whole wheat crackers, whole wheat toast, etc. You can also add to oatmeal and smoothies to add protein and fiber, along with great taste!

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The main thing to remember about any food, even those packed with nutrition goodness, should be eaten in moderation. The right serving size goes a long way when it comes to your food and your overall health. What are some of your favorite foods to eat with peanut butter?

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