Like many people, I’m a big fan of peanut butter. And so is my family. We enjoy it every day—spread on toast, as a dip for apple slices, even mixed into our protein shakes.
But there’s some confusion surrounding the health benefits of peanut butter. Is it really good for you? The answer depends on a few things. First, peanut butter and nut butters are a great source of protein and considered a healthy fat as part of a clean-eating diet plan.
However, many commercial brands of peanut butter contain more than just peanuts. They can be full of sugars, preservatives, hydrogenated oils and chemicals you don’t want to consume. It’s always best to choose a natural peanut butter or nut butter which contains simply nuts, or nuts and salt.
For peanut butter, I prefer Arrowhead Mills Organic Creamy Peanut Butter, which is made from nothing more than 100% organic roasted peanuts—no oils or stabilizers are added. I also like Woodstock Farms Raw Almond Butter, which has a perfect, smooth texture, and MaraNatha All-Natural Roasted Cashew Butter in the creamy variety. Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter is another favorite of mine, for its creamy consistency and delicious taste.
Another thing to watch out for with peanut butter is the amount you eat. While it is a healthy, protein-packed food, peanut butter is also high in fat and calories, with more than 200 calories and 16 grams of fat per two-tablespoon serving. I recommend measuring out portions rather than simply spooning scoops freely from the jar. Some nut butters taste so good, it’s easy to get carried away!
A few ways I regularly add peanut butter to my diet is to mix one tablespoon in a protein shake or Greek yogurt, or spread it on a slice of Ezekiel bread, a Lundberg Organic Gluten-Free Brown Rice Cake, a low-carb whole wheat tortilla or a sliced apple.
Another great option is PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter. Just mix one tablespoon of water with two tablespoons of the powder for an instant peanut butter with only 45 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving. It’s all natural, with no additives or preservatives, and contains 85% less fat calories than traditional peanut butter.
If you haven’t already, add some peanut butter or nut butter to your Vitacost Set & Save order! That way, you’ll never run out of your favorite spread.
Southern States Championships top contender Melissa Transou, a figure competitor, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports nutrition needs of female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com.