Just for Peanut Butter Lovers

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What do you like best smooth or crunchy peanut butter?

I’m asking this question because I’m thinking about peanut butter. It seems that there is a special day or month for everything including peanut butter. Later this week, Friday March 1 is “Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day”.

Actually, there are lots of days and celebrations about peanut butter. January was
National Peanut Butter Month and April 2 is National Peanut Butter and Jelly DayStacked peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on 100% whole wheat bread. and November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month.

I’m not sure why there are so many “peanut butter” celebrations, but I guess it’s
because as Americans we eat a lot of it. According to the National Peanut Board our per capita consumption of peanut butter is at it’s all time high. Last year it was 4.4 pounds of peanut butter per person. More than 90% of American homes have a jar of peanut butter in their pantry.

Peanut butter lovers are even on social media. They have their own website
(peanutbutterlovers.com) along with Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. All managed by the Southern Peanut Growers. I encourage you to check them out if you’re wanting to know more about the history of peanut butter and lots of recipes, too.

The Peanut Institute reports that to be called peanut butter, both traditional and
“natural” types must contain a minimum of 90% peanuts, with no artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives. Commercial peanut butters are blended or homogenized for convenience and for creaminess. Whereas “natural” peanut butters can separate, requiring stirring and are not as smooth in texture.

With all this hype on peanut butter, you may wonder if it’s really all that good
nutritionally. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, with more than seven
grams per two tablespoon serving. It is in the same food group as meat and beans, which are other great sources of protein. Those two tablespoons of peanut butter count as two ounce-equivalents in the Protein Foods Group.

Peanut butter is high in overall fat. That two tablespoon serving has 190 calories and 16 grams of fat. The key to remember is that 72 percent of that fat is unsaturated (mono and poly) and only 16 percent saturated. Over half the fat in peanuts is
monounsaturated—this is the heart-healthy kind of fat found in olive oil and avocados. Since peanut butter is made from plants, it contains no cholesterol.

Peanut butter is also a good source of the B vitamin Niacin, which is important for the function and development of the cells in our body. Since peanut butter contains both fat and protein, it will digest very slowly and keep you feel full longer.

But the calories can be of concern to some folks, so you may want to consider eating smaller portions. One way to enjoy the flavor and nutrition of peanut butter but cut the calories a little is to mix with yogurt to make a creamy, salty and sweet peanut butter dip. This “kid friendly” recipe was developed by Food Hero’s at Oregon State University Extension. It’s been proven that kids (I think most adults, too) will eat more fruits and vegetables if they have something to dip them in, so give this recipe a try.

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

from FoodHero.org

  • ½ cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Wash hands with soap and water. In a small bowl, mix together yogurt and peanut
butter. Add cinnamon, if desired. Serve with slices of fruit or vegetables (apples and
celery work great). Refrigerate any leftovers within two hours.

Makes ¾ cup or 6 servings. Each serving contains 80 calories, 6 total grams of fat with only 1.5 grams of that saturated fat. There are also 3 grams of total sugars (includes 1 gram of added sugar) and 3 grams of protein. That doesn’t include the all the good nutrition you get from the fruit and vegetable dippers.

If you like smooth peanut better—you are among the majority. According to the
National Peanut Board sixty percent of consumers prefer creamy peanut butter over

Sources: National Peanut Board; Southern Peanut Growers; The Peanut Institute

Syracuse is a Family and Consumer Science team member and can be reached at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center 910-253-2610 or by email at