While you likely already know that peanut butter cookies aren't exactly nutritional powerhouses, they still have a place in a balanced diet. The NYU Langone Medical Center notes that your diet can include treats -- including cookies -- as long as you consume them in moderation and get most of your daily calories from healthful foods, including fruits, veggies, grains and lean proteins. Peanut butter cookies have some serious nutritional disadvantages, but they do modestly boost your intake of a few nutrients.
Basic Nutritional Information
A 2-ounce serving of peanut butter cookies contains 269 calories -- your entire "treat" budget for the day, according to NYU Langone Medical Center guidelines. They contain a small amount of protein -- 5.1 grams per serving -- which helps maintain healthy bones and muscles. A serving of peanut butter cookies also contains 33.4 grams of carbohydrates and 13.5 grams of fat. Fat serves as a concentrated source of energy -- the 13.5 grams make up almost half the calories in the cookies. The sugar in the cookies provides a temporary energy boost after eating, but it's quickly followed by a blood sugar crash that can leave you hungry.
Peanut butter cookies serve as good sources -- meaning they provide at least 10 percent of the recommended daily intake -- of vitamin A, as well as some B-complex vitamins. Your body uses vitamin A to control cell growth because it allows newborn, immature cells to turn on specific genes needed to develop into mature and functional cells. The B-complex vitamins in peanut butter cookies help you derive energy from the foods you eat and also support healthy skin and red blood cells. The cookies serve as significant sources of vitamins B-1, B-2 and B-3.
Snacking on peanut butter cookies also boosts your manganese and selenium intake. Both minerals contribute to good health and support a healthy metabolism. Manganese activates enzymes that support your metabolism directly, while selenium controls your metabolism indirectly by promoting thyroid gland function. A 2-ounce portion of peanut butter cookies contains 15 percent of your recommended selenium daily intake and also provides 14 percent of the recommended daily manganese intake for men and 19 percent for women.
Despite peanut butter cookies' vitamin and mineral content, you should limit your intake because they also come packed with sugar and saturated fat. Consuming saturated fat negatively affects your cholesterol levels because it increases the amount of harmful cholesterol in your bloodstream. A serving of peanut butter cookies contains 2.5 grams of saturated fat, or 11 percent of the daily limit in a 2,000-calorie diet based on intake suggestions from the American Heart Association. The sugar used to make peanut butter cookies also has adverse health effects -- it contributes to obesity, as well as heart disease.
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Balanced Diet
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Cookies, Peanut Butter, Prepared from Recipe
- University of Utah Health Care: Finding the Right Mix of Carbs, Proteins, and Fats
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin A
- Linus Pauling Institute: Manganese
- Linus Pauling Institute: Selenium
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fat and Cholesterol
- Harvard School of Public Health: Added Sugar in the Diet
- Colorado State University Extension: Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C