Carolyn Bell, RDN, CSSD
Peanut butter is a favorite for most everyone, including small children, teens and adults! Recently, I read a social media posts – ‘Peanut butter is the glue that holds my life together’ – and I’m sure many parents agree (such a quick meal!). But, there are so many types of peanut butter, how do you choose what’s right for you, and your family? Start with your goal. Do you want organic? Are you trying to lower your fat intake? Do you want less sugar? Do you want less calories? The answers to these questions can help you select the right peanut butter for you!
- Organic: Two types are available (although there are several brands): One is going to be organic; ‘organic no-stir’, meaning you don’t have to stir the oil and peanuts each time you use it (quite convenient). The other is labeled ‘organic’ (without the ‘no-stir’ phrase). The calories are the same (or very close) to non-organic, regular peanut butter.
- Whipped: Air has been ‘whipped’ in this peanut butter, and it is lower in calories. If you’re looking for less calories, this may be the one. A 2 tablespoon serving is only 140 calories, vs. regular peanut butter at 190 calories per 2 tablespoons.
- Reduced fat: If your counting calories, this variety is the very same calories as regular peanut butter, 190 calories per 2 tablespoons. Here’s the difference: Regular peanut butter has 16 grams of fat and reduced fat has 12 grams of fat. But not so fast – if you are watching carbs, the carbs double in reduced fat peanut butter; going from only 8 grams in regular to 15 grams in reduced fat.
- Omega 3: While the calories, carbs and fats remain the same as regular peanut butter, Omega-3 fats are added to peanut butter as a health benefit. Consuming more omega-3 fats help reduce the risk of heart disease and support growth and development.
- Regular; creamy and crunchy varieties: 190 calories, 16 grams of fat (2.5 grams saturated fat), 8 grams of carbohydrate and 7 grams of protein. It’s an all-around nutritionally-sound food choice, and it okay if it’s the glue that holds you together!