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Nutty About Peanut Butter

Shopping, eating, and cooking tips for peanut butter, an all-American favorite.

What to Look for in Peanut Butter continued...

JIF does make a reduced-fat variety. But don't be surprised to see that it contains the same number of calories per serving as regular JIF, even though there are 4 grams less fat per serving. This is because there are 8 grams more carbohydrate per serving (thanks at least in part to the extra 1 gram of sugar.

Smart Balance Omega Natural Peanut Butter. Not only has peanut butter gone "omega" with added flax oil, this peanut butter also contains no hydrogenated oil and no refined sugar (they do add a small bit of molasses). It still contains 3 grams of saturated fat per 2-tablespoon serving though. That's because in addition to the high omega-3 flaxseed oil, it contains palm fruit oil, which could add some saturated fat to the small amount naturally in peanuts (1.3 grams saturated fat per 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts). Each 2-tablespoon serving has:

  • 200 calories
  • 17 grams of fat
  • 3 grams of saturated fat
  • 0 grams of trans fat
  • 12 grams monounsaturated fat
  • 2 grams polyunsaturated fat (1 gram of which is from plant omega-3s)
  • 1 gram sugar
  • 7 grams protein
  • 2 grams of fiber

Laura Scudder's Natural Style Reduced Fat. Natural-style peanut butter goes mainstream with Laura Scudder's Natural Style Reduced Fat Smooth Peanut Butter. This peanut butter is reduced fat because some of the peanuts they use are fat-reduced ground peanuts, plus there's no added fat. Maltodextrin is added instead, probably to help bind the peanut butter (maltodextrin is a moderately sweet compound produced from starch). Each 2-tablespoon serving has:

  • 200 calories
  • 12 grams of fat
  • 2 grams saturated fat
  • 0 grams trans fat
  • 2 grams sugar
  • 9 grams protein
  • 2 grams fiber

'PB' Without the 'J'

Here are 10 tips for eating peanut butter beyond the PB&J:

  • Spread peanut butter on whole-grain toast or bagels instead of butter or cream cheese.
  • Add peanut butter to fat-free or low-fat salad dressings (with compatible flavors) for added thickness and flavor. Beat them together until smooth -- using an electric mixer, small food processor, or whisk.
  • Add peanut butter to muffin or pancake batters instead of butter or margarine (when the taste is compatible).
  • Add peanut butter to smoothies, especially chocolate- or banana-flavored smoothies.
  • Add peanut butter to stir-fry sauces for added flavor and thickness.
  • When making peanut butter cookies, keep the peanut butter, but for the butter/margarine the recipe calls for, substitute a less-fat margarine (one with 8 grams of fat or less per tablespoon).
  • Peanut butter adds plant fat and protein to make a well-rounded, satisfying snack out of whole-wheat crackers, sliced apples or bananas, or celery sticks.
  • Make a vanilla or chocolate peanut butter treat by mixing a tablespoon of natural peanut butter into 1/2 cup of light vanilla or chocolate ice cream or frozen yogurt.
  • Add peanut butter to granola bar recipes for extra flavor and to help bind the oats and other ingredients together.
  • Use whole-grain bread and less-sugar jam to whip up a healthier peanut butter sandwich (see recipe below).

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