How Do You Rate Peanut Butter's Nutritional Value?
By Sandy Schroeder
The question of peanut butter’s nutritional value keeps coming up as we all get smarter about everything we eat. Many of us enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as kids, but now nutrition experts are telling us more about peanut butter's assets, according to Time.
Peanut butter’s high calorie, high fat content may be balanced by its other assets, according to registered dietitian Lisa Sasson, who says, “There are so many reasons to keep it in your pantry or bring it to work, if you like the taste.”
Peanut butter packs a punch - Harvard’s Dr. Walter Willett recommends peanut butter for its protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins. Two tablespoons delivers 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber.
“Good fat” makes a difference - According to the researchers, peanut butter is primarily a healthy unsaturated fat that helps lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. It’s a much better choice than butter or processed meats when you are making sandwiches. All of peanut butter's cousins -- almond, sunflower seed and cashew butters -- are rated as healthy, too.
What to Buy
Look for peanut butters with no more than two ingredients, peanuts and a small amount of salt. Check the ingredient label to avoid added sugar. Skip the ones sold as “low fat.” And avoid peanut butters with hydrogenated oils that are used to maintain consistency or extend shelf life. You may have to stir the healthy choices that just contain peanuts and salt, but the effort will be worth it in nutritional value and satisfying taste.
How Much Is Enough
Watch the amounts in sandwiches or snacks. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 200 calories. That’s about the right amount to make a sandwich. A couple smaller teaspoons might work as a snack on crackers.
Great Ways to Eat Peanut Butter
My secret choice of energy is to have a scoop of peanut butter mixed with a tiny bit of honey and a scoop of dark chocolate cacao powder. See what appeals to you. Mix it into morning oats, add it to your favorite baked treats or serve it on apple slices, whole wheat crackers, or banana slices. If you are looking for more options, check Epicurious.com for peanut butter cookies and other treats. Enjoy!
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