Peanut Butter and other nut butters not only taste great, but they are packed with good nutrition which can make them part of a healthy snack or meal. Nut butters are a good source of plant-based proteins, and they are good for your heart health because they are rich in monounsaturated fats, they provide a good source of Niacin (Vitamin B3) and they contain some fiber.
Because nut butters do contain fat, protein and fiber, they tend to have a real lasting power. For example, if you add a little peanut butter to an apple at snack time, it might hold you over longer than if you ate the apple alone. However, it is important to keep in mind that nut butters are very high in calories because they are high in fat. Therefore, portion control is essential for weight management.
For many people, portion control with nut butters can be a real challenge. People often say that they can eat peanut butter by the spoonful and once they start eating peanut butter, it is hard to stop. If you are someone who finds portion control a challenge, the individual serving packets may help. A few companies now make “peanut butter on the go” packets. Not only can these individual serving packets help with portion control, but it can also be very convenient if you need to throw something in your bag, if want to take something to keep at work or put in your child’s lunch box.
Reading the ingredients on the food label is the best way to choose a peanut butter. Nutritionally, I recommend “natural” peanut butters because they do not contain hydrogenated fats or partially hydrogenated fats which are the “unhealthy fats” that are not good for heart health. Ideally, it is good to pick nut butters that are 100% nuts, and do not contain added salt or sugar. However, don’t despair if you prefer a nut butter that does have some added sugar or salt because many brands are still very low in sodium and sugars.
As for the on-the-go nut butters, the following are a few of the brands that make individual serving sizes:
|Brand||Serving Size||Calories per packet||All Natural||Additional comments|
|Justin’s Nut Butter||1.15 ounce||200||Yes||Offers almond, peanut and hazelnut butters. Offers some flavors without added sugar or salt.|
|Justin’s Nut Butter||.5 ounce||80||Yes||Offers almond, peanut and hazelnut butters.|
|Peanut Butter & Co.||1.15||180||Yes||Offers peanut butter, honey peanut butter and chocolate peanut butter flavors.|
|Skippy||.5 ounce||~80||No||Does contain hydrogenated oil.|
|Jif To Go||1.5||250||No||Does contain hydrogenated oil.|
Of these products, I would recommend Justin’s Nut Butters or Peanut Butter & Co. Peanut Butter because these brands are all-natural. The nice thing about Justin’s Nut Butters is that they come in various sizes and flavors. That way you can pick the calorie level and flavor that is appropriate to match your nutrition needs and personal taste preferences. If it’s part of a snack, the o.5 ounce serving along with a piece of fruit would be a great choice. If it’s part of a meal, perhaps the 1.15 ounce packet would be good on whole grain bread or an English Muffin. You could also try a PB and Banana sandwich on whole wheat bread for a healthy and delicious spin on the standard PB&J. Enjoy!