Peanut butter is a healthy, energy-packed high-protein food. Although it is high in calories and fat, peanuts contain monounsaturated fat, which is much better for your heart than other types of fat. Peanuts are also a rich source of vitamin E and minerals like magnesium and copper. To get the most out of peanut butter snacks, choose an all-natural peanut butter that does not contain added sugar, salt or other fillers.
Peanut Butter Nutrition Basics
A single serving of peanut butter -- 2 tablespoons -- contains 188 calories, with most of these calories coming from its fat content. Peanut butter also contains carbohydrates, including 2.6 grams of dietary fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and also fights diseases, such as coronary heart disease. When you prepare healthy peanut butter snacks, pay attention to portion size. Because peanut butter is so rich in calories, consuming more than one serving at a time might cause you to over-consume calories.
Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a classic snack. Make this old-fashioned treat healthier by using whole-grain bread instead of white bread. Whole grains contain more fiber, B vitamins and minerals than refined grains. Instead of jelly, use honey or a sweet fruit like raisins, sliced banana or sliced pears.
Peanut Butter Dips
Use peanut butter as a dip for whole grain pretzels, crackers or bread sticks. Spread peanut butter between two crackers to make little sandwiches that are easy to pack for eating outside or packing into lunches.
Unsweetened peanut butter is an exciting complement to many Southeast Asian and Indian dishes. Heat the peanut butter in a pan to soften it. Add a little soy sauce, ginger, minced cilantro or garlic. Use it as a dip for breaded shrimp, breaded or grilled eggplant or grilled chicken breast.
Peanut butter is also a good dip for celery sticks or apple slices. Try dipping tart green apples in peanut butter for an interesting flavor combination. Juicy celery offsets the stickiness of peanut butter. For a packed lunch or outside snack, spread peanut butter into celery sticks and top with raisins, carob chips or nuts.
Cold Peanut Butter Treats
Instead of handing out ice pops and ice cream bars on hot summer days, slide some Popsicle sticks into bananas that have been halved width-wise. Spread a thin layer of peanut butter over the bananas, then roll them in chopped nuts or shredded coconut. Freeze them for a few hours.
Peanut Butter Topping
Peanut butter's sweet, rich flavor makes it a tasty topping for a variety of foods. For a filling snack, put 1 or 2 tbsp. of peanut butter onto whole grain cereal, oatmeal or unsweetened yogurt. Peanut butter is a healthy alternative to syrup for whole grain pancakes, crepes and waffles.
Peanut Butter Baked Treats
Peanut butter cookies are a warm, comforting food. Try adding peanut butter to other cookie recipes, such as oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies, and reduce the amount of butter you use. Peanut butter also adds rich flavor to breads, such as banana bread or zucchini bread.