Happy Peanut Butter Lovers Month! Here’s some information on this popular snack food in acknowledgement of this occasion!
Peanut Butter and other nut butters, such as almond butter, tend to get a bad reputation because they are about 180-200 calories per serving, which sounds like too much for those trying to watch calorie intake and lose weight. But, did you know peanut butter is actually packed with nutrition making those calories what we refer to as “nutrient-dense calories?” This means there are high amounts of nutrients per calorie. Foods like sugary soft drinks, cookies, chips, or other popular snack foods are referred to as “empty calories” because they don’t have many nutrients for all of the calories they contain.
When trying to get more nutrient-dense, satisfying, and healthy foods into your meal plan, peanut butter can be a great option.
Some nutritional highlights of peanut butter and other nut butters:
Good source of protein – Great for helping to fight off hunger
Fiber – Ideal for healthy digestion and may help reduce cholesterol
Source of healthy fats – Don’t let the high fat content of nut butters scare you; the fats found here are heart-healthy and also help you feel fuller longer.
Antioxidants – Also found in fruits and veggies, antioxidants may help prevent diseases
With all of its benefits, it can be easy to get a little carried away with our portion size of peanut butter. However, it is important to keep in mind that too much of anything (even a good thing) can contribute to weight gain. So make sure to measure out or pre-portion your peanut butter, so you still get the benefits without consuming too many calories.
Also, the type of peanut butter you eat is important. Make sure to purchase peanut butter (or any nut butter) that is natural. Look under the food label at the ingredient list–the best nut butters will have only 1 or 2 ingredients – for example, peanuts and salt. The more natural the better because many peanut butters, including reduced-fat versions have lots of added oils and sugar that take away from the great nutrition properties this food has all on its own.
Here’s a tasty Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Smoothie that tastes more like a milkshake than a healthy snack!
Makes 1 serving
- 1/2 Banana
- 1 TBS Cocoa Powder
- 1 TBS Peanut Butter
- 1/2 cup ice (preferably crushed)
- 1 cup plain Soymilk, Skim, or Almond Milk
- Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. If needed, ingredients can be added individually if the blender is too full.
Approximate Nutrition Per Serving: 200 calories, 23g carbohydrate, 10g fat, 9 g protein, 121mg sodium, 12 g sugar