Cashew butter is $11.99 a jar.

Almond butter isn’t quite as expensive but it’s still more than you would like to spend on something you eat with your morning cup of tea. But you’re a Grown-up. Grown-ups eat things like almond butter on an artisanal whole grain roll with chia jam.

Says who?

I am pretty sure it wasn’t me. I have nothing against other nut butters. I just LOVE peanut butter. (Although not for breakfast and not on a roll.) Being a grown-up, in my opinion, means having the wisdom to make your own choices, for your own body and budget. My peanut butter may look a little different than the ants on a log I loved when I was 8 (and may still eat at Christmas with my nephews) but it still fits into a healthy Grown-up diet. In fact, I eat it every day and I think you should too.

But what about all that fat? Isn’t peanut butter just fat on a spoon?

Yes, peanut butter is primarily fat. It has about 17 grams per 2 tablespoon serving. However that same serving also contains 8 grams of protein. That makes peanut butter a very inexpensive way to boost the protein content of your oatmeal or smoothie.

Do not be afraid of those 17 grams of fat. Your body needs fat for hormone production, a healthy immune system, to use fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and for your skin to stay soft and supple. Peanut butter is a delicious and easy way to get the fat our body needs. The 17 grams is mostly unsaturated fat (the “good” kind) as long as you read your labels and avoid peanut butter without added hydrogenated oils.

Which is why you ALWAYS have to check the ingredients when you buy ANY nut butter. Your peanut butter should contain at most two ingredients: peanuts and (maybe) salt.

Don’t trust the front of the jar. Even if your jar says ALL NATURAL it probably still has added sugar. Sugar is natural so they aren’t lying. The marketing department is just taking advantage of the Halo Of Health. It’s hard to find a peanut butter without added sugar but they do exist. My personal favorite is Target Market Pantry Natural. Smucker’s Natural peanut butter is also sugar free as is Hallams brand. There are others but these are the ones I personal buy that are available to me locally. These brands are also very affordable making it a health food that won’t bust your budget.

Educated and prepared with your no sugar added all natural peanut butter you are ready to have a spoonful with your afternoon apple. Not so fast….check your spoon so you don’t over do it.

Portion control is key with any nutrient dense food. Just like you don’t eat the whole avocado (right, you save part of it for later?) you can’t eat big scoops of peanut butter straight from the jar because it is low in carbs and has healthy fat. You still need to manage portion. I recommend measuring out one tablespoon, which is half a serving, to go with your baby carrots for a small snack or top off your favorite protein mug cake. When enjoyed slowly with other flavorful foods, one tablespoon is more than enough.

I know what you’re thinking….what about PB2?

Yes, it is lower in calories. It is fun to add to sauces and smoothies. But it does have added sugar so BEWARE of when you use it and how much. Personally I have decreased my use of PB2 because I think real peanut butter tastes better and I want less sugar in my diet.

To keep it real, I’ve actually started making my own nut butter on occasion. Learning to make my own nut butter was #22 on my 100 Dreams List (don’t laugh) and I was so happy to check it off. Vega has some amazing protein nut butter recipes. My favorite is Mocha Peanut Butter.

DIY Protein Nut Butters
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Photo courtesy of Vega

Did you know March 1 is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day? What a perfect time to indulge your inner child like the smart fit female you are.

Here are 5 great recipes that take you beyond the standard PB&J!

Peanut Butter Siracha Noodles from Dixya at Food Pleasure & Health

Peanut Butter Espresso Banana Bread from Rebecca at Strength and Sunshine

Fruity Peanut Butter Wrap from Vegetarian Times

West African Peanut Stew from Clean Eating Magazine

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pancake Muffins from…ME!

How are you going to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day?

What’s your favorite brand of peanut butter?

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