You probably did not know, but November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month!

Americans who love peanut butter will celebrate by consuming more than 65 million pounds of peanut butter in November.

The first patent for peanut butter was submitted on Nov. 4, 1895, and in 1995, November was designated Peanut Butter Lover’s month to commemorate the 100th birthday of this popular food.

For most, peanut butter was a staple in school lunches and is synonymous with jelly or honey.

More recently, however, the nutritional benefits of peanut butter have been explored along with new and innovative ways to incorporate this traditional food into a healthy meal plan.

Peanut butter is high in fat and calories with around 190 calories per 2 tablespoon serving; however, peanut butter packs a powerful plethora of nutrients.

The calories in peanut butter come from a combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat; each 2 tablespoon serving contains about 6 grams of carbohydrate, 8 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat. About half of the total fat comes from monounsaturated fat, which is linked to healthy blood lipid levels, and one-third of the fat comes from polyunsaturated fat in the form of omega-6 fatty acids.

The rest of the total fat found in peanut butter is naturally saturated. Furthermore, peanut butter contains vitamin E, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6.

There are many varieties and brands of peanut butter available at grocery stores, and at times it can be confusing as to which is best to include in a healthy eating meal plan.

Most name brand peanut butter companies now offer a “natural” style product which contains peanuts, oil and salt without added sugar; best of all, many are already blended so there is no need to mix the oil and peanut paste together before consuming.

The rule of thumb for peanut butter is to adhere to the serving size of 2 tablespoons. This amount offers a balanced amount of calories, carbohydrate, protein and fat.

The challenge when eating peanut butter is to maintain portion control while enjoying all the nutritional benefits this versatile food has to offer.

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at carey.stites@smchh.org.

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