January 24, 2013.
When I awoke this morning, I had no idea I would be celebrating such a healthy holiday until this Tweet by my dad:
“It may be National Peanut Butter Day but Sunday is National Chocolate Cake Day!”
So since it’s National Peanut Butter Day…let me share the special place peanut butter holds in my life (and stomach) with you.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one food, what would it be?
Peanut butter would definitely come to mind as one of my top choices. It is rare that a day goes by in my world without a taste of peanut butter. I feel deeply sorry for those who have peanut allergies and are unable to experience all the scrumptiousness of this mashed and ground up legume (yep…peanuts are not really nuts!).
It’s hard to believe something that tastes so rich and decadent could be so healthy! But it’s true…peanut butter packs a variety of nutrients including protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fat. Yes…I lumped fat into the “healthy” category! We all need a daily dose of healthy fats in our diets, and choosing peanut butter is a great way to fill that need. Did you know that the ratio of saturated fat to unsaturated fat in peanut butter is similar to that of olive oil?
So…how much peanut butter should you eat? Most of the time, a 1 tablespoon (about the size of your thumb) or 2 tablespoon (about the size of a ping pong ball) portion is satisfying and appropriate.
Chunky, smooth, natural, reduced fat, sugar-free, organic, sodium-free…Having trouble deciding what kind of peanut butter to buy? Well, I recommend natural peanut butter to my patients or clients. Natural peanut butter contains lots of peanuts and sometimes a bit of oil, sugar, salt, or a combination of these ingredients. If you purchase natural peanut butter, PLEASE do not pour off the oil that accumulates on the top…the healthy fat.
Here’s a trick…turn the jar upside down and allow the oil to gather at the bottom of the jar. Then stir your peanut butter slowly with a knife. You’ll reduce the risk of oil overflow onto your countertop. Mess averted. You’re welcome.
If you are like me, you enjoy the classic Jif (or whatever brand you grew up with), too. I say “Go for it!” The only stipulation…please do not buy reduced fat peanut butter! The truth? The healthy oil (fat) that is removed from reduced fat peanut butter is replaced with sugar. Not the best substitute if you ask me!
My Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Peanut Butter
(1) Stirred into or dolloped on top of oatmeal
(2) Eaten from a spoon
(3) Smeared onto 100% whole wheat bread for a PB&J sandwich
(4) Spooned over flank steak or chicken as a spicy Asian-style sauce
(5) Spread onto a Kashi waffle with sliced bananas, apples, or berries
(6) As a dip with an apple or sliced bananas
(7) In a smoothie
(8) Sandwiched between graham crackers and dipped into a glass of milk
(9) Spooned onto a small piece of dark chocolate
(10) Savored as a birthday treat (I made for my neighbor) in this chocolate cake with peanut butter icing
What are your favorite ways to enjoy peanut butter? Or is there another “Food Holiday” you like to celebrate?