Posts Tagged ‘peanut butter’

picture of nut butter spread with berries

Do you remember when peanut butter was the only nut butter available on the grocery store shelves? Options included creamy and chunky, and eventually low sodium and natural, too.

Today, the nut butter market has grown exponentially, for a variety of reasons! People with peanut allergies want alternatives to peanut butter, and some schools have gone nut free as a precaution for students with nut allergies. Additionally, consumers like to look for new and exciting flavors to jazz up traditional snacks like PB&J sandwiches.

Most nut butters are made from either tree nuts like almonds, cashews or hazelnuts, or from seeds (e.g. sunflower seed butter), since peanuts are actually a legume. However, chickpea butter now exists as an alternate legume-based spread, and its creators claim it has a similar texture and nutritional profile to peanut butter.

When looking for a nut butter to try, variables to consider include taste, texture, spreadability and nutrition content. To see how nut butters stack up nutritionally, keep in mind that a 2 Tablespoon serving of peanut butter has 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of sugar. Many peanut butter alternatives have more sugar and less protein than peanut butter, so your best bet is to look for options that are comparable to peanut butter in nutrition content. A good rule of thumb is to avoid flavored or sweetened nut butters, like chocolate hazelnut spreads and cookie butters, as these tend to be the highest in sugar.

One nutritional benefit of mixing up your nut butter selection is that while most nuts are similar in fat and calorie content, they contain different vitamins and minerals. Cashews are rich in copper, for example, and almonds are a good source of Vitamin E. So, consuming a variety of nuts – as long as you don’t have a nut allergy – can help provide you with the different vitamins and minerals that your body needs to thrive.

Don’t forget about portion control when consuming nuts and nut butters, though. A serving of nut butter is only 2 tablespoons, and a serving of raw nuts is ¼ cup- about the size of the palm of your hand. It can be easy to overspread and overeat nuts and nut butters, and the fat and calories contained in these foods can add up quickly. Read your food labels and use measuring utensils to practice portion control, and you’ll get the nutritional benefits of nuts and nut butters without overindulging.


Ettman, L. (2017). Here’s what you need to know about sugar in nut butters. Nutrition Action. https://www.nutritionaction.com/daily/sugar-in-food/sugar-in-peanut-butter/

Nurture Life (2016). Top 7 Kid Approved Peanut Butter Alternatives. https://nurturelife.com/blog/top-7-kid-approved-peanut-butter-alternatives/

USDA (2012). Household Foods Fact Sheet: Peanut Butter, Smooth. https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_PEANUTBUTTER_100395Oct%202012.pdf

Warren, R.M. (2016). Best nut butters to eat right now. Consumer Reports. https://www.consumerreports.org/nut-butters/best-nut-butters-to-eat-right-now/

Watson, E. (2018). Nut butter… minus the nuts? The amazing chickpea offers a pulse-based alternative. https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2018/04/05/Nut-butter-minus-the-nuts-The-Amazing-Chickpea-offers-a-pulse-based-alternative

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

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Does your family go through boxes and boxes of store-bought snacks faster than you can replenish them? Do you feel like you’re spending a majority of your grocery budget on sugar-filled, processed snacks that don’t seem to last more than a few days at your house? There is an answer to this madness. Make your own snacks!

You might be thinking, “I don’t have time for that!” and while that may be true, you’d be surprised how much time you’d actually be saving. Yes, making your own snacks involves some planning and prepping. However, this planning and prepping stage might not involve the lengthy process of taking a trip to the grocery store. You can make various snacks for you, your kids, and whoever else may be at your house from foods you likely already have on hand. For example, you could try the Homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars shown below. In addition, recipes like these make large enough batches to provide snacks lasting up to two weeks if stored properly. Many store bought boxes of granola bars provide only 5 servings, so why not whip up homemade bars that yield about 24 servings per batch.

Find a recipe for snacks that fits your own personal schedule. On a time crunch this week? Throw together a big batch of trail mix using those nuts you bought in bulk that have been taking up space in your cupboard. Add in cereal, raisins, seeds, or chocolate chips and seal in an air-tight container. Scoop into sandwich-sized bags for an easy, balanced, and healthful snack for any time or place.

Buying ingredients in bulk at your favorite grocery store can help make an abundance of different snacks that add variety to your daily routine. Stock up on versatile foods like oats and nuts and you’d be surprised at your options for snacks and meals as well as how much more full your wallet feels. The recipe below, found on the What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl website provides a snack that costs $0.30 per serving. No, that’s not a typo; $0.30 per serving. These homemade granola bars yield 24 servings making the total cost of the recipe about $7.15 according to USDA. You could get about 2 boxes, or 10 servings, of your average granola bars for that price.

Health bonus: Snacks like these provide more than just dollars in your pocket and variety to your pantry. The nutrition in homemade snacks like these is worth more than all of the previous reasons combined. The carbohydrate and protein provided in healthful, homemade snacks will offer the energy you need along with satisfaction until your next meal. On the plus side, you know exactly what ingredients are going into your snacks without paying for processed sugars and ingredients you can’t pronounce.


Homemade Peanut Butter Granola Bars

From “What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl

Makes: 24 servings

Total Cost: $7.15

Serving Cost: $0.30


  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup carrot (grated)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel and grate the carrots.
  3. Put the honey and peanut butter in a large saucepan. Cook on low heat until melted. Remove pan from the heat.
  4. Add oatmeal, raisins, carrots, and coconut to the saucepan. Stir well, and let it cool until you can safely touch it with your hands.
  5. Press the mix firmly into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Cool and cut into 24 bars.

Authors: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, and Allision Doriot , Dietetic Intern with Wood County Extension.

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, West Region, Ohio State University Extension, spires.53@osu.edu

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