It’s National PB & J Day! To celebrate I packed a PB & J (plus 1/2 banana) Sandwich on Ezekiel Bread for lunch.
I bet growing up a PB & J sandwich didn’t seem like a health food, but little did you know it definitely was! Peanut Butter kind of got a bad rep for a while during the low fat craze, but I think its image is successfully rebounding and it is now receiving the true health food recognition it deserves.
Interesting Facts About Peanuts
Peanuts are not actually peanuts! They are technically considered part of legume family closely related to beans such as chickpeas, lentils, and pinto beans.
Peanuts start as a flower above the ground which gravity pulls toward the ground. Eventually the flower burrows beneath the surface and that is where the peanut matures.
Peanuts are called “Goobers” or “Goober peas” in parts of Africa. So next time you call someone a goober, remember your actually calling them a peanut.
Two past US Presidents were peanut farmers- Jimmy Carter and Thomas Jefferson
2-3 peanuts in a pod, 40 pods to a plant, 540 peanuts to make one 12 ounce jar of peanut butter.
Health Benefits of Peanut Butter
Source of Protein
Two tablespoons of PB contain about 8 grams of protein. Protein helps to maintain, repair, and build damaged tissues in the body. It is important to help recover after workouts, to maintain lean muscle during weight loss, and to help keep you full.
Heart Healthy Fats
A two tablespoon serving of PB also contains about 16 grams of fat which contribute to PB’s calorie density of 180 calories per serving. The majority of this fat is heart healthy unsaturated fat. In fact, about half that is a type of monounsaturated fat known as oleic acid, which is the same type of fat found in olive oil.
What about the Saturated Fat? There is a small amount of plant based saturated fat in peanut butter, about 2-3 grams per serving. While you do want to limit your portion size, this small amount can fit in with an overall healthy diet. In other words, it is better to get a little saturated fat from a nutrient dense plant based food then tons of it from less nutrient dense foods likes cheese, deep fried foods, etc.
Per two tablespoon serving, peanut butter contains 2.5g of fiber which is an essential part of a healthy diet. Not only does it promote a healthy digestive system but it can also aid in lowering cholesterol, and regulating blood sugar.
4. Weight Control
While appropriate serving sizes of peanut butter need to be kept in mind in order to keep overall calories in check, peanut butter can fit in with any weight loss plan. Protein, healthy fat, and fiber can help keep you fuller for longer. This helps to control cravings and reduce overall intake.
5. Nutrient Dense
Peanut butter is a good source of potassium which helps to combat the negative effects of sodium in our diet. In addition it packs an immunity punch with a good amount of Vitamin B6 and Zinc which promote a healthy immune system. This list continues on and on, but it is worth mentioning its significant concentration of antioxidants Vitamin E and manganese.
How to Build a Super Healthy PB & J Sandwich:
Unfortunately not all PB & J sandwiches are created equally, follow these easy steps to make sure you’re getting the most nutritional punch out of this classic comfort food!
Choose nutrient dense whole grain bread.
Get pure natural peanut butter. Traditional brands of PB often contain hydrogenated oils or trans fat which have very strong correlations with heart disease. Look for the natural varieties that contain only peanuts.
Since calories can add up quickly with peanut butter, limit to 1-2 tablespoons per sandwich.
Pick a healthy jam. The best types are the no sugar added ones which use the natural sweetness of the fruit without any added sugar. Other healthy options are to sub the jelly for banana, apples, or pear slices and sprinkle with a bit of honey or agave nectar.
Other ways to celebrate PB & J Day from some of my favorite bloggers:
PB & J Stuffed Muffins (PaleoOMG) http://paleomg.com/peanut-butter-and-jelly-stuffed-muffins/
PB & J Pancakes (My Whole Food Life) http://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/11/12/peanut-butter-and-jelly-pancakes/
Homemade Larabar Bites (The Lean Green Bean) http://www.theleangreenbean.com/homemade-lara-bites/
Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies (The Smart Cookie) http://thesmartcookieblog.com/peanut-butter-and-jelly-thumbprint-cookies/
PB & J Overnight Oats (Slim Pickin’s Kitchen) http://slimpickinskitchen.com/2014/01/peanut-butter-jelly-overnight-oats/
Question of the Day: Whats your favorite way to PB & J???