Peanut butter: the root of all evil?


After I posted this link from about how peanut butter isn’t a health food on my Facebook page “If a geek can get fit, so can you”, there was a great deal of weeping and refusal to let anyone take away their tasty treat. As a lover of this substance myself, it occurred to me that there needed to a balanced follow-up to explain why peanut butter can and cannot be healthy.

Problem #1: most jarred varieties of peanut butter add all sorts of sugars and gunk to it. You’ll see things like honey, molasses, corn syrup, and all kinds of nonsense that peanut butter just doesn’t need. You don’t need to add all of these sugars to peanut butter and it tastes quite nice without it.

Solution: Read labels and only obtain peanut butter which at most has two ingredients: peanuts, and maybe salt.

Problem #2: While peanut butter can be a reasonable source of protein, 70% of its calories are from fat. Fat is 9 calories per gram, which makes peanut butter fairly intense in terms of calories. A serving of peanut butter is two tablespoons, which is around 200 calories. You can easily by not measuring accidentally eat an additional 200-300 calories per day from underestimating how much peanut butter you’re eating.

Solution #1: enjoy peanut butter in moderation, learn what a serving size looks like. A little bit won’t kill you. And if it fits your macros, all the better!

Solution #2: look up a product called PB2. It’s a powdered peanut butter that has had a lot of the fat extracted from it. I enjoy a tablespoon of it with my chocolate protein smoothies. It’s only 45 calories and adds an additional 5g of protein to my smoothie. Very tasty! 🙂

So in conclusion: enjoy your peanut butter, but know how much of it you’re eating and what’s in it other than just peanut butter.

Healthy eating tips for the incredibly busy

I’m a software engineer. These blog posts go out because I write them up in advance and schedule them in advance, because like many people, my time is at a premium and I don’t have full control over it.

So how does one eat healthy in an incredibly crazy and busy world?

Here are some of my tips:

  • 1) Cook/prep things you plan to eat often, in bulk, in advance. Things like quinoa and brown rice can be cooked on weekends and keep well in the fridge, and can be added to meals throughout the week.
  • 2) Make extra of things that freeze well, and take them out for convenience lunches. You can do this with soups and stews.
  • 3) Add leafy greens whenever possible. I bring in foods that warm up well and add a container of baby spinach to them, and mix it up well.
  • 4) Make juices and smoothies in the morning and take them with you in a thermos or tupperware container.
  • 5) Bring fruit and cut up veggies to work.
  • 6) Bring a travel blender or juicer to work!

Some fast meals I like to make when I’m either too busy, too lazy, or just am feeling uncreative but still want my healthy, quick eats:

  • 1) Quinoa, beans, salsa. Really, that’s it.
  • 2) Sauteed veggies in coconut oil with brown rice
  • 3) Sauteed or steamed kale
  • 4) Kale or baby spinach with half an avocado and lemon juice for a tasty salad

When in doubt…just bring fruits and veggies…the original fast food. 🙂