November is National Peanut Butter Month – and while this childhood favorite has faced plenty of controversy (food allergies, contaminants, inflammation) it’s also a quick, versatile and really yummy source of protein and healthy fats.
A few things to know about this humble legume:
- That’s right – pea-nuts are not actually a nut, but part of the legume family (think beans and peas).
- Peanuts are considered a “new world food,” thought to have originated in Brazil and then spreading. The Aztecs may have been the first peanut butter lovers – they were mashing peanuts into paste 500 years ago.
- Peanuts are packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, which helps reduce heart disease risk.
- A good source of protein, peanuts have 8 grams in a 2 tablespoon serving – that’s 16% of the recommended daily value.
- Don’t fear the fat! The 2 tablespoon serving is a fabulous combination of protein and healthy fat that will keep your tummy satisfied much longer than refined carbs.
- 75% of US kitchens currently have a peanut butter jar.
- It’s so easy to make your own! All you need are shelled peanuts, a food processor and some patience. Give it about 10-15 minutes and you’ll be good to go. Feel free to add other tasty mix-ins like sea salt, cinnamon, cacao…the possibilities are endless.
- Be a conscious peanut butter consumer. Like so many foods, the label “natural” doesn’t mean much. Check out the ingredients, and go as simple as possible. That means no added sugar or oils. If you can, go raw – unroasted, no salt added – and add a touch of sea salt to the jar at home if you need to. It’s also a good idea to buy organic. Non-organic versions can be high in pesticides, fungus and may contain aflatoxin, which is a potential carcinogen. Trader Joe’s, Santa Cruz Organic and Once Again all make deliciously healthy peanut butter.
It’s been said that everything is better with peanut butter – and these recipes prove it. Check out some of my favorite peanut butter fueled dishes:
Peanut Butter Pancakes: a delish way to start your day from JSHealth – plus a self-love message that I adore
PB+J Stuffed Muffins with Peanut Butter Crumble: as if the description from Edible Ash wasn’t amazing enough…
Peanut Better Balls: a creamy treat from Oh She Glows
Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge: love this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie
Peanut Butter Cookies: another JSHealth classic – gluten-free AND sugar-free!
African Peanut Stew: a savory dish from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook
Thai Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing: a fresh and tangy salad from Edible Ash