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Feature:

National Peanut Butter Lovers Month

In honor of National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, this month's feature is highlighting the nutritional wonders of one of America's favorite nutty spreads. Peanut butter is not only a great energy booster, with its supply of carbohydrates, it is also terrific at fending off hunger because of its rich serving of protein and fat.

Now some may cringe at the mention of fat, but even the fat in peanut butter is good for you. Peanut butter contains monounsaturated fats which are beneficial to the body because of its ability to lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise your good cholesterol (HDL).

Another perk of peanut butter is its dose of fiber, niacin, phosphorus, magnesium and Vitamin E.

Despite the abundance of benefits related to peanut butter, there are some details to be cautious of. In order to make peanut butter more creamy, some types of peanut butter are hydrogenated which results in added trans fats. Also it is important to remember: moderation, moderation, moderation! Fat provides 9 calories per gram (versus 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates and protein) making it more calorically dense when looked at gram for gram. One serving of peanut butter is one tablespoon, about the size of a poker chip, and provides 95 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein.

The big debate now is whether natural or regular peanut butter is better for you. Recently the United States Department of Agriculture released a study that showed there is no reason to believe natural peanut butter is superior to regular. It is simply a matter of personal preference -- just always remember, whether natural or regular, to keep those portion sizes in check.

 

NOVEMBER 2012 HEALTH & WELLNESS FEATURE

Chocolate Peanut-Butter Energy Bars image

 

Chocolate Peanut-Butter Energy Bars

from MyRecipes 

 

 

This delicious and nutritious peanut-butter energy bar is great for making ahead of time and freezing for later, or enjoying hot and fresh out of the oven. The peanut butter is a great source of healthy fat and protein! Substitute semi sweet chocolate chips with dark chocolate
chips to increase the nutritional benefits even more.

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups barley flakes or rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided 

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with
    cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.
    In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and peanut butter until well
    combined. Beat eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Add barley flakes (or rolled oats), cranberries, peanuts, and 3/4 cup chocolate chips, stirring to combine.
  3. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Cool completely in pan on wire
    rack.
  4. In a small bowl set in a pan of simmering water, melt remaining
    1/4 cup chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. With fork, drizzle chocolate over bars; refrigerate until set. Cut into 24 bars.

 

Yield: 24 servings (serving size: 1 bar)

 

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 176
Fat: 8.2g (2.3g sat, 3.7g mono, 1.8g poly)
Protein: 4g
Carbohydrate: 24g
Fiber: 2g
Cholesterol: 16mg
Iron: 1mg
Sodium: 62mg
Calcium: 18mg

 

Fiona Bennett, Health July 2012 via MyRecipes