Peanut Butter Shopping & Eating Tips (cont.)

'PB' Without the 'J'

Here are 10 tips for eating peanut butter beyond the PB&J:

  • Spread peanut butter on whole-grain toast or bagels instead of butter or cream cheese.
  • Add peanut butter to fat-free or low-fat salad dressings (with compatible flavors) for added thickness and flavor. Beat them together until smooth -- using an electric mixer, small food processor, or whisk.
  • Add peanut butter to muffin or pancake batters instead of butter or margarine (when the taste is compatible).
  • Add peanut butter to smoothies, especially chocolate- or banana-flavored smoothies.
  • Add peanut butter to stir-fry sauces for added flavor and thickness.
  • When making peanut butter cookies, keep the peanut butter, but for the butter/margarine the recipe calls for, substitute a less-fat margarine (one with 8 grams of fat or less per tablespoon).
  • Peanut butter adds plant fat and protein to make a well-rounded, satisfying snack out of whole-wheat crackers, sliced apples or bananas, or celery sticks.
  • Make a vanilla or chocolate peanut butter treat by mixing a tablespoon of natural peanut butter into 1/2 cup of light vanilla or chocolate ice cream or frozen yogurt.
  • Add peanut butter to granola bar recipes for extra flavor and to help bind the oats and other ingredients together.
  • Use whole-grain bread and less-sugar jam to whip up a healthier peanut butter sandwich (see recipe below).

A Better PB&J

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 2 slices whole-wheat bread + 2 tsp jam/jelly + 1 tablespoon nuts

With whole-wheat bread, less sugar jam, and natural style peanut butter, the traditional PB&J turns into a high-fiber, high-nutrient sandwich that isn't dripping in calories or fat.

2 slices 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain bread
1 tablespoon natural (reduced-fat if available) smooth peanut butter (like Laura Scudder's)
1 tablespoon less-sugar jam or jelly

  • Spread natural peanut butter on top of one of the slices.
  • Spread less-sugar jam or jelly on top of the other slice.
  • Put pieces of bread together to make sandwich. Cut diagonally and enjoy!

Yield: 1 sandwich

Per serving: 308 calories, 12 g protein, 47 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, 1.7 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 430 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 26%.

Peanut Butter Safety

Recently, the FDA warned consumers not to eat certain jars of peanut butter produced by a particular plant in Georgia, which may be contaminated with salmonella. (The warning applies to Peter Pan and Great Value brands with the product code on the lid of the jar beginning with "2111" purchased since October 2004.)

Historically, it has been the potentially carcinogenic aflatoxin -- produced by particular fungi -- that was the thing to watch in peanut butter, not the notorious salmonella (usually linked to poultry and raw eggs). Aflatoxin can contaminate grains and nuts before harvest or during storage. Corn and peanuts are thought to be at highest risk of aflatoxin contamination.

One of the best things you can do to minimize aflatoxins in the future is to store your grains and nuts in a dry, cool environment. That's why I always refrigerate my peanut butter and freeze nuts that I'm not going to use right away.

To prevent rancidity in your peanut butter, keep your jar of natural-style peanut butter in the refrigerator. And if you don't go through a lot of peanut butter, buy the smaller sized jars.

Published March 23, 2007.

SOURCES: Wolter F. et al, The Journal of Nutrition, December 2004; vol 134: pp 3219-3222. Stewart J.R., et al, The Journal of Nutrition, July 2003; vol 133: pp 2440S-2443S. Wolter F. The Journal of Nutrition, 2002; vol132: pp 2082-2086. Mukuddem-Petersen J., et al., The Journal of Nutrition, September 2005; vol 135: pp 2082-2089. Press release, FDA, Feb. 14, 2007. ESHA Food Processor Nutritional Analysis Software.

©2007 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

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