It’s snack time… What do you do? Are you looking for energy to get through the day?…
Try Peanut Butter!
Caution: There’s a fair amount of calories relative to the small portion size so here is where you have to be careful. CHECK THE SERVING SIZE & STICK TO IT!!! In most cases that’s only 2TBSP (tablespoons), NOT the whole jar!
In moderation, peanut butter has some pretty good benefits in those 2Tbsp:
- It contains some GOOD fat, so skip that reduced fat stuff! There is some of that unhealthy saturated stuff in there, but Peanut butter contains a good amount of the heart-healthy monounsaturated fat per serving.
- It’s an energy booster. 2Tbsp of peanut butter is packed with close to 200 calories. Calories = ENERGY. These calories come mostly from healthy fats and protein rather than from ridiculous amounts of sugar.
- Looking for some protein? Peanut butter contains a whopping 7g of protein in those 2 little tablespoons. Need a comparison? 1 large egg contains a total of about 6g of protein, (3g in the yolk and 3g in the egg white) while 1 cup of milk contains about 8g of protein. Of course meat has more protein. 1 serving of boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3oz) contains around 30g of protein. You get the point.
- It’s packed with nutrients. Peanut butter contains good macronutrients like healthy fats and proteins, but there’s also micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. You can count on vitamin E, iron, magnesium and others.
- In need of fiber? Ok ok there’s only 2g of fiber in most peanut butters, but remember that’s also only 2Tbsp of peanut butter. Thus, peanut butter can supplement the fiber that you get from other sources.
- There’s potassium to balance your sodium consumption. Yes, we know that most of us intake waaaaaaay tooooo much sodium each day, so a combination of intentionally decreasing sodium intake and increasing potassium helps to keep that internal sodium-potassium pump in its natural balance. (For more information about potassium content of various foods: http://www.drugs.com/cg/potassium-content-of-foods-list.html)
And the benefit you’ve been waiting for…
- Peanut butter can aid in healthy weight loss. Yes this relatively high calorie/high fat food can actually help you lose weight. (Yeah, I’m still waiting to experience this benefit for myself.) Basically, the fiber and protein I talked about above help to keep you full longer so that you eat less food.
And then there’s this issue of regular vs. reduced fat vs. natural peanut butter. Remember these are just my opinions…First, I avoid reduced fat peanut butter. I mean there is some unhealthy saturated stuff in peanut butter like I mentioned above, but the heart-healthy fat outweighs it so getting reduced fat negates the benefits of the healthy fats. Now, regular vs. natural peanut butter! Well, I like to buy food with ingredients that I can immediately pronounce and understand what they are. I am a scientist and there are many times I have to look up words in ingredient lists to figure out what they are and personally I don’t care to do that. Also, there’s less sodium in natural peanut butter. So, I prefer to buy natural peanut butter. There’s usually only peanuts, sugar, oil & salt in natural peanut butter. One day I’ll be one of those people who use the grinder in Whole Foods to make my nut butters on the spot…just so you know who you’re dealing with…but for now there’s no Whole Foods on island and it’s cheaper for me to order Jif Natural from Walmart online! Anyway below are the nutritional facts, so judge for yourself.
And here’s a snack idea: Celery + Peanut Butter + Raisins (well I usually only have Craisins on hand!) I remember eating “Ants on a Log” during my daycare/pre-k years. That was the only way I would eat celery lol! Actually, that’s still my preferred method of eating celery AND it’s an easy pack ‘n go to work snack!
(For more info about peanut butter: http://www.prevention.com/food/smart-shopping/healthy-eating-why-peanut-butter-good-you)