The Power of Peanut Butter
April 6, 2011
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I am a strong believer in the power of peanut butter. As a regular morning runner, my metabolism kicks into high gear around 6:45 a.m. and doesn’t seem to slow down until I go to bed. Unless I feed my body nutritionally satisfying foods, I feel hungry all day long. And one of the only foods that continually keeps me satisfied is peanut butter.
Packed with Power
Although peanut butter is not a low-fat or low-calorie food, its ability to keep you full may cut down on your between-meal snacking. The average peanut butter, such as my favorite Skippy Creamy, has about seven grams of protein and two grams of fiber per two tablespoon serving. Both protein and fiber curb hunger and keep you feeling full longer. The fat in peanut butter can often seem daunting… especially if you are trying to lose weight. However, remember that peanut butter contains monounsaturated fat (the good kind)! CNN Health reported that peanut butter has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, the USDA finds no detectable Trans fats in a standard two tablespoon serving of peanut butter.
Is Natural Necessary?
With more and more natural food stores popping up, there is a growing trend to “go natural.” There are slight differences in taste between commercial and natural peanut butter, with noticeable variations in texture and appearance (mainly, the oil found on the top of the natural product). Other than taste, natural peanut butter contains no preservatives, which gives it a shorter shelf life and requires it to be stored in the refrigerator after opening. Natural PB generally contains less sodium and sugar than the regular product (although most commercial peanut butter only contains about three grams of sugar per serving). Perhaps the biggest reason most people go natural is because they do not want to consume the hydrogenated oils found in regular peanut butter. However, as mentioned above, the USDA finds these fats negligible in an average serving size.
My Top 3 Favorite Ways to Eat Peanut Butter
The Classic PB & J: Boost the nutrition benefits of peanut butter by pairing it with a great bread. Try two slices of Arnold’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread with two tablespoons of peanut butter and two tablespoons of grape jelly. The bread alone packs an additional 10 grams of protein and six grams of fiber.
Apple and PB: This combination is almost as satisfying as peanut butter and chocolate… but a whole lot better for you! Pair one tablespoon of peanut butter with a medium sized Gala apple for a sweet and satisfying snack. The apple is low in calories (about 70) and contains about three grams of fiber.
PB & J Oatmeal: This is, by far, my favorite post-workout breakfast. Microwave one-half to one cup of plain quick-cooking oats in the appropriate amount of water. While hot, spoon in one tablespoon of peanut butter and one tablespoon of jelly. Stir in banana slices. This sticky, sweet bowl of deliciousness can keep me full until dinnertime! Half of a cup of oatmeal gives you five grams of protein and four grams of fiber with no additional sugar!