I went to The Fresh Market this past weekend, which is my second favorite grocery story, next to Trader Joes. I love to grind my own peanut butter there because I know it is fresh and I can see that there is only one ingredient in my peanut butter: peanuts. Peanut Butter is tricky, because it is healthy, but so many food manufacturers add sugar, partially hydrogenated oils, making a once healthy food into a nightmare. You have to read the food labels carefully because even some seemingly healthy peanut butters, such as Skippy Natural Peanut Butter, contain sugar and oil. I had been a loyal fan of Skippy for years, thinking I was buying healthy when I bought the “Natural” peanut butter, only to read the label one day and discover that my “natural” peanut butter was not “natural” at all. According to their web site:
Skippy® peanut butter contains over 90 percent select roasted peanuts. It also contains extremely small amounts of vegetable oil stabilizers to improve smoothness and prevent separation, plus a small amount of sugars and salt to enhance the peanut flavor.
Bleah! That means that 10% of their peanut butter is oil and sugar. No thanks.
JIF peanut butter has a long ingredients list, including two different types os sugar and hydrogenated oil. This choosy mom does NOT choose JIF.
If you can’t grind your own, Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter is a good choice. It is one of the few pre-packed peanut butters who’s ingredients list simply reads: Peanuts, Salt.
Your best bet is to grind your own, which you can do at The Fresh Market or Earth Fare. Peanuts are an excellent choice to add to your diet because they provide a great source of protein and healthy fat. Peanuts are high in antioxidants, surprisingly as high as fruit and rivaling strawberries! Peanuts also contain p-coumaric acid, which some studies have shown can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and fight cancer.
Peanuts significantly increase magnesium, folate, fiber, copper, vitamin E and arginine consumption in the body, which all play a role in prevention of heart disease. While peanuts are high in fat, it is the monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to lower levels of heart disease, fight cancer and lengthen life span. One study even showed that people following a diet high in monounsaturated fat experienced 70% less of a risk for heart-disese.
Peanuts are also high in niacin, which is critical to releasing energy from carbohydrates and helping to control blood-sugar levels.
I could eat peanut butter every single day; on a sandwich, celery, an apple or straight from the jar! My kids love peanut butter spread on a rice cake or a waffle for a quick and easy breakfast.
I’m going to share one of my favorite peanut butter recipes that will save you a ton of money from having to buy commercially made protein bars:
Stacy’s Homemade Protein Bars
- 2 cups oats
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 4 scoops cookies & cream protein powder
- 1 Tbsp flaxseeds
- 1/2 cup water
Knead all of the ingredients together. Line a square baking pan with plastic wrap and spread dough in pan. Freeze for 30 minutes and cut into bars.
Share your favorite peanut butter recipe! Do you grind your own peanuts? Please share.