Healthy peanut butter snacks are an excellent way to refuel after working out or for chasing hunger away between meals. Rich in B vitamins, vitamin E and minerals like calcium and zinc, the nutty treat is not just nutritionally dense, but versatile as well.
Dip Right In
There's nothing wrong with dipping into your peanut butter jar with a spoon, providing you don't get carried away. Each tablespoon of the gooey snack packs 95 calories and 8 grams of fat. It also delivers a significant mineral profile to help your muscles function at their best. According to the USDA, the minerals contained in each tablespoon of peanut butter include:
Potassium, 89.3 milligrams: Maintains fluid balance in the body, helps muscle contraction and nerve function.
Sodium, 68.2 milligrams:
Maintains fluid balance in the body, helps muscle contraction and nerve function.
Phosphorus, 53.6 milligrams: Found in every cell, phosphorus maintains the acid-base balance of the body and helps build healthy bones and teeth.
Magnesium, 26.9 milligrams: Vital to muscle contraction, magnesium is also essential for making protein, nerve transmission and optimizing immune system health.
Calcium, 7.84 milligrams: Assists in muscle relaxation and contraction, regulates blood pressure, builds the immune system and helps blood clotting, as well as forming healthy bones and teeth.
Trace minerals: Zinc (0.40 milligrams), iron (0.28 milligrams), copper (0.07 milligrams) and selenium (0.66 micrograms).
Read more: Peanut Butter After Working Out
There is more than one way to delve into this nutritionally dense paste. Experiment with peanut butter combinations: Dip into it with a celery or a carrot stick or mix it with other things to eat with peanut butter for a flavorful accompaniment to fruits or veggies.
Blend 2 tablespoons into 8 ounces of vanilla yogurt, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve with apple slices, suggests Cornell University. Or, combine equal parts peanut butter and pumpkin puree — about 3/4 cup each — and add a tablespoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla for the autumn flavor favored by the Illinois Extension. Dip fruit, graham crackers or veggie sticks or create your own peanut butter pairings.
Shake, Make and Blend
With all the nutrition packed into peanut butter, it also makes an excellent way to start the day. Spread it on a bagel or on whole-wheat toast, with low-sugar preserves, for a morning take on the classic peanut-butter-and-jelly. Or stir a spoonful into a bowl of oatmeal for some warm, nutty nutrition on a cold winter morning.
Read more: 7 Healthy Peanut Butter Brands
Looking for something you can enjoy on the go, as you head out for your day? The University of Maryland suggests a banana and peanut butter smoothie. Blend 2 tablespoons of peanut butter into 3/4 cup of almond milk, add a frozen banana, a couple of dashes of cinnamon and a little honey if you want it sweeter. You can also add a quarter-cup of old fashioned oats for a thicker texture.
Pack some healthy peanut butter snacks to take along to the gym. A recipe by the University of Massachusetts begins with a half-cup of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of raw honey, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil melted together over low heat.
Chop up 2 cups of your favorite nuts in the blender, along with a few Medjool dates, and stir them into the mix. One-fourth cup each of unsweetened coconut flakes and sunflower seeds completes the concoction. Press between parchment paper on a cookie sheet and freeze for two hours; then store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- USDA: "Peanut Butter"
- Michigan Medicine: "Minerals — Their Functions and Sources"
- Cornell University: "Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip for Fruit"
- Illinois Extension: "Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dip"
- University of Maryland: "Banana and Peanut Butter Super Smoothie"
- University of Massachusetts Medical School: Center for Applied Nutrition: "Delicious Peanut Butter Granola Bars"