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Peanut Butter and Saturated Fat

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Mmmm…peanut butter…Here at the Jolly Tomato we can’t help but lick the knife after we make our kids’ sandwiches for lunch. There’s probably a good quarter-teaspoon there after all – why waste it?

But we can’t help but feel at least a little guilty knowing how much saturated fat we’re getting with every two-tablespoon serving (13 percent of the recommended daily allowance, according to the label on the econo-tub of store-brand peanut butter we’re currently using). So why do we still look at it as a “health” food?

For one thing, saturated fat is not entirely bad (in moderation, at least). And peanut butter gives you a decent amount of nutrients in addition to the fat. (See this note from the Harvard Health Letter for a good summation.) It’s also high in the “good” fat, monounsaturated fat, and it’s a good source of protein and a decent source of fiber. That’s more than we can say for some of our other go-to kid lunches like bologna or hot dogs.

Of course, we know we could make some improvements, like moving to the all natural peanut butter rather than the processed, hydrogenated oil variety that the kids love so much. One great suggestion we saw recently: Mix the kids’ peanut butter with the all-natural variety so that they get used to a more modified taste and get more nutrients concentrated in there. Or try some other nut butters like almond butter for a change of pace. And of course, spread it on some good whole-grain bread (not overprocessed enriched white bread). And make your own jam, like we just did last week.

OK, now we’re really hungry. Time for a sandwich break.

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