I remember when nothing tasted better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, especially toasted! I loved them as I was growing up, but they were available only as an occasional treat because my mother always had me on one sort of diet or another. I wish Mom were still here today --- I think she just might change her mind about the nutritional value of peanut butter!

Peanut butter's gotten a bad rap . . . up until now. Nutritionists and health researchers are just learning that peanut butter is a good source of protein, fiber, folate, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and even phytochemicals! And yes, peanut butter does have fat, but the fat is monounsaturated, which is more cholesterol-friendly. In fact, researchers are finding that it may even help to lower cholesterol! Two tablespoons of peanut butter only provide 16 grams of fat, about the same as three pats of margarine or an ounce of salad dressing.

Do you have a picky eater, overweight child or spouse/mate who doesn't eat "nutritionally correct?" Simple and creative ways you can provide and enjoy the delicious taste and nutritional power of peanut butter, teamed up with other items in your pantry, might include:

  1. Mixing it with applesauce and serving on cinnamon toast

  2. Mixing it with raisins and honey and serving on a bran muffin

  3. Mixing it with chopped pickles and spreading on cheese crackers (Yum!)

  4. Mixing it with coconut and crushed pineapple and spooning on a toasted wholewheat English muffin half.

  5. Combining it with marshmallow cream (low fat) and spreading between reduced-fat vanilla wafers.

  6. Spreading or dipping raw fruits and vegetables, such as celery, carrots, jicama, cucumber, zucchini, apples, pears, peaches, oranges, etc., into your peanut butter.

  7. Stirring it into a dish of sugar-free chocolate pudding or hot chocolate.

  8. Scooping it up with low-fat pretzels (3/4 oz mini pretzels equal one bread/starch)

  9. Stirring it into hot cooked cereal.

  10. Spreading as a topping on waffles, pancakes, French toast or even to hot fruit cobbler, as a dessert topping.

However you choose to revisit peanut butter is your choice. Remember, peanut butter is loaded with vitamins and minerals that are good for growing bodies as well as grown-up ones. If you've always loved peanut butter, go ahead and enjoy it once again -- just remember to watch your portion sizes. Here's are some nutritious (and delicious) peanut butter recipes to get you started.


PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or less, according to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups all natural granola, preferably sugar-free
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit bits
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick vegetable spray; set aside.

    Content Continues Below ⤵

  2. Combine peanut butter, honey and cinnamon in a large saucepan and heat until mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and granola.

  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Turn oven off and mix in raisins, mixed fruit and peanuts. Let stand in (unlit) oven for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until dry. Store in tightly covered container.

Nutritional Information Per 1/3 Cup:

    204 Calories
    5gm Fat (1gm Saturated Fat)
    33gm Carbohydrate
    0mg Cholesterol
    135mg Sodium
    5gm Protein
    2gm Dietary Fiber
    Exchanges: 1 Starch/Bread; 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat.

Marilyn Helton
Marilyn Helton, Cinnamon Hearts Newsletter.