If I run out of peanut butter, I have to replace it immediately. Seriously, I get pretty bummed if there is no PB when I want it. In my house, it can be used with breakfast, lunch, snacks or a way to curb a sugar craving. This isn’t to say that I overdo it – peanuts are high in fat and need to be consumed in moderation. But it should be consumed nonetheless! Just make sure you are choosing one that has just peanuts on the ingredient list (natural peanut butter).


Before I break down natural PB vs old school PB, let’s look at everything this little legume has to offer. PB is a fantastic protein source, especially for those who don’t eat meat, and they contain ALL 20 amino acids. Our body requires these to function properly, and even more so when our body is busy fighting off illness.To learn more about amino acids, look for my upcoming post on how important these guys are!


The BEST part -PB is so filling! This stuff may be high in calories and good fats, but it will keep you full for quite a while. My afternoon pick me up – a cup of coffee or tea with peanut butter on Wasa crisps. Keeps me filled up until dinner and energized to get through the afternoon and evening rush with the kids. 


You may know PB is low in carbs, but it is full of vitamins and minerals – Vitamin E, Magnesuim, Vitamin B3, Folate, Iron and Potassium all have good amounts present in the 2 tablespoon serving size. This is a nutrient dense food!


So you get the idea, peanut butter in moderation is a good thing! But there is a catch. Not all peanut butters are the same!I know what you are thinking “I grew up on Skippy or Jif, it was good for us!” When I was growing up, the seat belts in the back of our car were tucked into the seats because my dad didn’t like how they make the car look. You see my point?  Let me explain why my goal is to get as many households to give up their childhood favorites and go the natural route. 


SUGAR!!! Have you had enough hearing about sugar? I have to bring it up again though, sorry! Peanuts ground into paste tastes delicious on its own! We’ve been trained to want the taste of sugar that’s added into the mass produced brands, but there is no need for it. Sugar is added to so many more foods than we realize, it’s just silly to waste your sugar intake on PB. Save it for the birthday cake! You may need time to warm up to natural PB, but once your taste buds adjust you will be unable to eat the other stuff. Be warned of some brands labeled as ‘natural’ because many still have added sugar. You have to read the label to know what you are getting. 


SALT.  Another unnecessary ingredient. I understand the pleasure of a salted peanut, cashew, pistachio, etc. I’ve discovered (in nut butters as well as regular nuts) that choosing a roasted variety gives it a flavorful edge over the raw versions and eliminates the need for salt. Too much salt in our diet increases blood pressure, taxes our kidneys and heart as well as increases the risk for osteoporosis. Do you really want to waste your daily salt intake this way? I’ll bet you’d rather put a dash on your veggies tonight instead. 


OILS. The traditional brands add hydrogenated oil to prevent the oil separation (that scares people). It turns oil into a solid by adding hydrogen. This trans fat (the bad cholesterol) is commonly linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes. When I think of this fat, I imagine it turning to solid in the arteries (ewwww). Best to avoid it! Palm oil is another one to look out for. Although it’s not a saturated fat like hydrogenated oil, it is found in some “no stir” brands to prevent oil rising to the top. This is a controversial oil due to environmental concerns the production causes. Again, there is enough naturally occurring oil in peanuts that we do not need to have additional added. 


I want to address the issues some people have about switching over. Some of us are freaked out by the oil on top. I find that once you open and stir it up (I suggest over the sink in case some spills out), it’s good to go until the jar is empty. It’s not a big deal, I promise.  I’ve heard suggestions that if you just store the jar upside down, it solves the problem for you. Can anyone attest to this?


The other concern is cost. As with so many products, the healthier choice tends to be more money. It’s funny that the brands with LESS ingredients cost more. HMMMM – sounds like something to dive into another time. Thankfully, more supermarket chains are carrying peanut only PB in the more affordable store brand.You don’t have to go to Whole Foods for it.

Parents of little ones – a very fun (outdoor) activity is to buy your own peanuts in the shell, which tend to be inexpensive, and have the kids shell them for you. Then dump them in a food processor and you’re done! 


I hope I’ve opened your eyes on something you didn’t know! And I bet I know what you are thinking – what about the jelly??? Stay tuned for more info on overhauling the entire beloved PB&J

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