Peanut Butter Is Still a Healthy Choice for Kids

It’s easy to keep, easy to eat, and most kids love it. But is peanut butter good for them?

 

Yes, nutrition experts say. Your children are much better off with a peanut butter sandwich than if they ate the same number of calories in candy bars and potato chips, or by drinking soda. Those snack foods have little nutritional value.

 

The typical supermarket brand of peanut butter, while high in overall fat content, is low in saturated fat—and high in protein and fiber. But you have some healthy options. For example, the oil is separated from the nut paste in many natural peanut butter brands. So to make a lower fat version, skim some of the oil off before you mix the paste and oil together. Beware: low-fat versions may not be healthier. Many times, these products have added sugar to make up for the missing fat and to improve taste. So low-fat peanut butter may be lower in fat but contain the same number of calories as the regular type.

 

Peanut butter is versatile. Here are a few variations nutritionists recommend:

 

  • Peanut butter and sliced bananas on whole wheat bread.
  • Peanut butter on celery sticks with raisins.
  • Peanut butter, date, and nut spread. (Blend 1 cup dates, one-half cup chopped pecans, one-half cup chopped walnuts, 1 cup creamy peanut butter, and 4 tablespoons evaporated milk.) Spread on crackers, bread, or fresh fruit.
  • Peanut butter milkshake. (Blend 2 scoops vanilla ice-milk or low-fat frozen yogurt, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 cup skim or low-fat milk, and 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter.) It’s a quick snack or fast breakfast, and high in protein, calcium, and B vitamins.

 

Do not serve peanut butter to your child if he or she is allergic to peanuts. It’s also important that you teach a child who has a peanut allergy to ask about any treats offered at school or day care before eating it.