I can still remember 10+ years ago when I had the idea to start a blog. I was at a loss for a blog name but knew I wanted something that seemed lighthearted and upbeat but also evoked thoughts of food since the vision I had for my blog was a conversational space with a focus on food, fitness, family and life. I tossed around a myriad of ideas but they all fell short.
During this time, Ryan and I were dating and still learning the ins and outs of living together after college. One of my “quirks” that irked him was the fact that I’d pop open our shared jar of peanut butter multiple times a day and take a swipe of peanut butter to eat as a snack. In the middle of one of these little snack breaks, he suggested the name “Peanut Butter Fingers” for my blog since he caught me with peanut butter fingers in our apartment multiple times a day. (He also told me it was time for me to either get my own jar of peanut butter or use a spoon. I’m now a “peanut butter spoon” girl but that doesn’t really flow as well. Nor does it have the Friends reference I adore!)
My love for all things peanut butter began at a young age and only intensified as an adult when I began experimenting in the kitchen. Throughout the years, I found ways to incorporate peanuts and peanut butter into every meal of the day and peanuts and peanut butter became something I often eat not only every day but frequently multiple times a day. What can I say, I am a peanut butter lover!
When The Peanut Institute reached out to me about their 30×30 Challenge, I was instantly intrigued. The idea of the challenge is simple: Consume one serving of peanuts (about 30 peanuts) or peanut butter every day for 30 days. Done and done! I’m fairly certain I do this anyway thanks to my peanut butter obsession, but through our conversations, I began feeling better and better about my natural love for peanuts and peanut butter for a number of reasons.
Peanuts are a nutrient-dense superfood, providing the body with a bunch of notable health benefits in a small serving. Numerous studies conducted in the United States and around the world have proven that the regular consumption of peanuts helps prevent disease, improves life expectancy and delivers positive effects throughout the body. The consumption of small amounts of peanuts or peanut butter have been associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, emerging research has shown that those who regularly consumed peanuts had a lower risk for breast, colorectal, esophageal and pancreatic cancers as well.
And, from a nutritional standpoint, peanuts pack a serious punch. One serving of peanuts or peanut butter contains 7 grams of protein (30% more than cashews and walnuts and 15% more than almonds) and 19 vitamins and minerals, many of which fight heart disease. (The heart-healthy vitamins and minerals found in peanuts include vitamin E, folic acid, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, copper and potassium. Peanuts are also a good source of magnesium, copper, vitamin E and biotin and an excellent source of niacin, manganese and molybdenum.) They’re also high in fiber and healthy fats which can contribute to lowers levels of LDL cholesterol.
To be honest, the taste alone is what keeps me coming back to peanut butter so often (#addicting) but the added health benefits don’t hurt one bit!
Just in case you’d like to try to increase your consumption of peanuts, here’s a little peek into how I regularly incorporate peanuts and peanut butter into my diet. Below I am sharing a glimpse into two breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners that include peanuts or peanut butter. All of the photos were snapped in “real time” so no fancy food styling occurred, though I did leave out photos of peanut butter on a spoon topped with chocolate chips because, well, that was consumed too fast to photograph.
Greek Yogurt Topped with Berries and Peanut Butter Granola
On mornings when I wake up not quite as ravenous, a simple throw-together breakfast of Greek yogurt, granola and berries is a great way to start my day. This will also often double as a late afternoon snack for me and I love the way it is filled with protein, healthy fats and carbs. My go-to homemade granola recipe is the same peanut butter granola recipe I shared on the blog years ago. It’s made with only five ingredients and since the ingredients required for the recipe are pantry staples in our house, it’s a simple one for me to throw together time and time again.
Egg White Oatmeal with Peanut Butter
This is a classic for me that never gets old. I typically eat oatmeal several times a week for breakfast and almost always stir in a big dollop of peanut butter or crushed nuts to give the oatmeal a little more staying power. (I also often incorporate protein powder or egg whites for this same purpose.) I love the creaminess peanut butter adds to my oatmeal and the way it helps fill me up and give me enough energy to last all morning long.
Chopped Salad with Homemade Peanut Dressing
A while back, I shared my obsession with Kristin’s Thai Crunch Salad and it’s still a favorite in our house. Though I don’t always take the time to chop everything up as detailed in her original recipe, I will take the extra time to whip up the homemade Thai Peanut Dressing to pour over pre-chopped salads I buy at the grocery store. The dressing is creamy and savory and so delicious.
Grain bowls are a lunchtime staple for me because they’re easy to assemble and incorporate leftovers in a new way. I typically have some kind of a cooked grain on hand in our fridge (brown rice, quinoa, wheatberries, etc.) and top it with leftover roasted veggies, a drizzle of a sauce or dressing and a sprinkle of nuts for crunch and healthy fats. A go-to sauce for me is this recipe from Delish. It’s made with peanut butter, honey, soy sauce (I substitute coconut aminos), olive oil, garlic and lime juice. I eyeball the ingredients most of the time and typically don’t take the time to measure everything out but it always seems to come out well!
Is there a better on-the-go snack than trail mix? It’s one of my favorites and always includes a little something sweet (chocolate candy, raisins, dried cherries or cranberries, etc.) as well as peanuts and seeds to boost the protein and staying power of the trail mix.
Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Cauliflower and Banana Smoothie
I make smoothies for myself almost every day (especially in the summertime) because they’re fast to make and pack a serious nutritional punch. One of my go-to smoothie combinations includes a scoop of chocolate protein powder, a tablespoon or two of peanut butter, frozen cauliflower (you cannot taste it and it’s a great way to sneak in a serving of veggies) and frozen banana. It’s creamy and filling and makes a great snack, breakfast or lunch! If I’m going to enjoy this one as a meal, I simply increase the amount of peanut butter to bump up the calories and often add oats to the mix as well to make it a little more substantial.
I’ve made this recipe two times already this fall and for good reason! It’s an incredibly tasty vegetarian meal made with a base of sweet potatoes, peanuts and peanut butter. It’s warm and comforting and must be added to your “must make” list now that the weather is getting a little cooler!
I’m such a sucker for curry recipes of any kind and this one is a winner! During the autumn months, I cannot get enough butternut squash in my life and this curry recipe is made with butternut squash, red curry paste and coconut milk. As written, it’s a vegetarian recipe that calls for the addition of chickpeas but I swapped out ground venison for the chickpeas because we had some in our freezer that I wanted to use up. It was a big-time winner and one I’ll absolutely make again this fall.
Question of the Day
What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter or peanuts?
Sources for peanut-based facts:
- Lee, J., et al., The relationship between nut intake and risk of colorectal cancer: a case control study. Nutr J, 2018. 17(1): p. 37.
- Nieuwenhuis, L. and P.A. van den Brandt, Total Nut, Tree Nut, Peanut, and Peanut Butter Consumption and the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in the Netherlands Cohort Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2018. 27(3): p. 274-284.
- van den Brandt, P.A. and L. Nieuwenhuis, Tree nut, peanut, and peanut butter intake and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer: The Netherlands Cohort Study. Cancer Causes & Control, 2018. 29(1): p. 63-75.
- Yanjie, Z., et al., Peanut consumption associated with a reduced risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: A case–control study in a high-risk area in China. Thoracic Cancer, 2018. 9(1): p. 30-36.