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You may have noticed from reading that I have a love for peanut butter. I honestly don't feel satisfied without it! Most days I include it with breakfast, whether it's on waffles or pancakes or mixed into oatmeal or yogurt. So why do I always have to have it?
Protein! Breakfast is often lower in protein than other meals for many people. How come? Well one egg has about 6-7 grams of protein whereas a 3-ounce piece of chicken has about 21 grams of protein. I don't eat eggs for breakfast so I choose peanut butter for its protein and heart-healthy fat. And the taste.
Heart-healthy fat! Unsaturated fat is heart healthy whereas saturated fat can lead to heart disease (when eaten consistently or in large amounts, no need to go giving up cheese). Unsaturated fats are found in nuts, seeds, and oils. I want to take this moment to mention that coconut oil is a saturated fat and contrary to what the media tells you it is not a health food. I recommend other oils that are liquid at room temperature (liquid is a sign it's unsaturated). I cook with olive oil and sesame oil primarily, but there are other options out there!
Things to consider:
Now that we know the health benefits it's also important to mention that peanut butter is a fat (in addition to being a protein!). This means that it has 9 calories per gram and, therefore, a little bit goes a long way. I tend to use 1 (heaping) tablespoon with my breakfast which has roughly 90 calories and 4-5 grams of protein. But I'm not counting.
Purchasing peanut butter:
Choose your brand. Some people like Jiff and others like Skippy. Whatever your poison try to choose a natural brand which only has peanuts and maybe salt as ingredients. Other ingredients like sugar and palm oil are unnecessary and just add extra calories. My favorites (in my personal opinion) are Trader Joe's, Smuckers, and Teddy's. But to each his (or her) own!
That being said I do occasionally buy flavored nut butters to try! They're all unique and delicious in their own ways and a little palm oil or sugar here and there won't hurt anyone. I mostly just love the flavor of plain peanut butter and it's cheaper...
Storing peanut butter:
Mix that oil in! Natural nut butter separate because there aren't any additives to keep it all mixed together. Some jars recommend refrigeration after opening but others don't require it. I tend to keep mine in the pantry (or cabinet in my apartment) because I like it to be drippy to top my pancakes or easy to mix into my oatmeal. If you have to keep mixing the oil back in then that brand may be better stored in the refrigerator.
Do you like smooth or crunchy? Honestly this is a personal choice! I like both, but definitely prefer creamy. Creamy peanut butter spreads easier. Sometimes I feel like I end up eating more when I use chunky peanut butter because it doesn't spread well. But I do love chunky peanut butter in a sandwich...so sometimes both can be found in my cabinet. A girl needs options...but you do you!
Peanut butter isn't the only option! Try almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, etc. There's one mix at Trader Joe's that has cashews and almonds and peanuts and maybe more all in one! There are so many possibilities! You can also grind your own in a food processor! Just keep mixing until your butter forms. Let me know what you try! You can also follow my peanut butter adventures on Instagram!