This past weekend I visited my family in my hometown. I love that my family have healthy food items in their pantry and fridge, which makes me one very happy dietitian!
In deciding what to have for breakfast, I was craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A well toasted PB&J is among one of my favorite foods! Upon grabbing the peanut butter from the fridge, I noticed the label read “Natural” in big, bolded letters. When we see this word we automatically think that it’s healthy, right? But that’s not always the case. The word “natural” could mean anything.
Reading the food label and the ingredients is good practice to know what our food is actually made out of. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider when purchasing peanut butter.
What to look for in a peanut butter
Read the Ingredient List and loos for a Clean Label
An ingredient list that has a clean label means that (a) you can pronounce what is listed and (b) they’re wholesome ingredients. If it’s difficult to pronounce, chances are it’s probably not the healthiest of food items. Look for peanut butters that only have peanuts listed on the ingredients – that’s it!
Some peanut butters are labeled as “low-sodium”, which we often think this is a good thing. But when something is taken out of a product (in this case salt) something must be added so that it tastes good. In most cases sugar, molasses, or even high fructose corn syrup is added to these products. This in turn increases the calorie content.
Avoid trendy words like:
“no stir” – these products typically contain partially hydrogenated oils, which tends to translate into trans-fat.
“natural” – we generally think that the word “natural” is healthier but some products labeled as this may have additional ingredients, such as added oils and sugar.
"reduced fa" – typically these products do have less total fat but to compensate for the flavor, manufacturers add other ingredients like sugar and/or salt to make it more appealing to our taste buds.
Peanut butter is a good source of protein, is cholesterol-free, has healthy fats, and Vitamin E. Whether you like yours creamy or crunchy, organic or non-organic, be sure to read the label to know what’s in your favorite peanut butter.
What's your favorite way for having peanut butter? Let me know in the comments below!