National Peanut Butter Day

Peanut butter is a fun food — and nutritious to boot. It deserves its own national observance day.

Two tablespoons of peanut butter provide 8 grams of protein and 1.9 grams of fiber. It has 10% of your daily requirement of Vitamin B-6 and 12% of Magnesium.

Peanut butter is high in fat — 16 grams in that two tablespoons’ worth. This used to give peanut butter a bad reputation, but we now know that some fats are better for us than others. Half the fat in peanut butter is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat you find in olive oil. More than one quarter of the fat is polyunsaturated fat, another healthy type, the same kind found in fatty fish. Just 3.3 grams is saturated fat.

Choose brands of peanut butter made with peanuts and salt only. Avoid sugar-added types. If you want a sweet touch on your sandwich, think about adding chopped dates or sliced bananas. While fruit contains sugar, it also brings along vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. That’s a healthier choice than nutritionally empty sugar.

You can also control the amount of sweetness you add. When we use sugar-added products, we get accustomed to the amount of sugar the manufacturer chooses to add.

Peanut butter is a nice basis for desserts. Cookies are never going to be a healthy mainstay of our diet, but most of us aren’t ready to give up cookies forever. Why not try out this super-simple recipe for a peanut butter cookie with no flour or butter? It’s gluten-free, too!

Magic Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c. peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg

Combine ingredients, spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet, and bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes, till just set.

Here’s a tip: if you want the crisscross pattern (the universal symbol for peanut butter cookies), bake your cookies for about 5 minutes before applying the fork tines. Place the tines of the fork across the cookie and then across the design in the other direction, like a hashtag.