Today is National Peanut Day and this food is definitely deserving of a day for itself! Peanuts aren’t actually a nut, they’re a legume. They flower above ground but grow below ground.
Peanuts have fat and fat is bad. WHAT?! If someone ever tells you this, tell them they’re WRONG! Not all fats are created equal. Peanuts are filled with brain-boosting, heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. These fats do not lead to weight gain! In fact, the fiber, healthy fat, and protein combination found in peanuts can be part of a weight-loss diet, if eaten in moderation. You don’t need much…a quarter cup of peanuts or a couple Tablespoons of peanut butter can curb hunger for a few hours!
The unsaturated fat in peanuts is mostly monounsaturated fat, which is associated with lower cardiovascular issues. Monounsaturated fats assist in keeping your arteries clear, which allows blood to flow freely. This decreases your risk of heart attack or stroke. These fats also help to lower your LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels and raise your HDL or “good cholesterol” levels.
You want to choose “natural” when it comes to peanut butter. If you check the nutrition label and there are more ingredients than just peanuts and salt, then it’s not natural. In many brands, sugars and unnecessary ingredients are added in.
Another thing to watch out for is the “reduced fat” label on peanut butters. Like I said before, fat is not the enemy! When something like peanut butter is made to contain less fat, other ingredients have to be added, usually sugars, to fill the place of the fat. Just go for the natural peanut butters for the best and cleanest type!
Hear me out on this…my favorite way to enjoy peanut butter is on a sandwich with cucumbers. Don’t knock it until you try it! The cucumbers add a freshness and crunch that can’t be beat. If that’s not your favorite, give these Peanut Butter Energy balls a try! They’re perfect for a mid-day snack or for when that sweet tooth craving hits!
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and roll into balls. Keep them in a closed container for up to a week or in the freezer for however long you want!