If you’re like me, peanut butter is one of your most beloved comfort foods. From soft PB&J sandwiches in your school lunchbox to chewy homemade peanut butter cookies imprinted with the signature criss-crosses, peanut butter is one of the most nostalgic and comforting of the comfort foods.
But like all comfort foods, it packs a heavy weight with about 200 calories per 2 tablespoon serving and 16 grams of fat. Yes, you can rationalize your generous spoonful of peanut butter on your morning toast as a healthy fat and protein source, which it is, but dig into the jar a bit deeper and you’re looking at few hundred calorie splurge. Any way you spoon it, peanut butter is a very energy-dense food.
In the past few years, food manufactures have worked feverishly to concoct a low-fat version of this nutty spread while still retaining its divine flavor and creamy texture. As a peanut butter devotee, here is the low-down on a variety of peanut butters. Some are reduced-fat, some are really reduced fat, some are great and some miss the mark.
- Reduced-fat: Practically all the popular peanut butter brands now have a reduced-fat version. The statistics come in at about 180 calories and 12 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving. They are delicious and taste just as good as their full-fat counterpart, but they still aren’t as slim as peanut butter lovers and waist-conscious folks like myself would like to see and eat.
- Whipped Peter Pan peanut butter: I learned about this inventive creation from Hungry Girl author and foodie, Lisa Lillien. Whipped peanut butter has 140 calories per 2 tablespoon serving. The calories have been dropped because the spread has been whipped so it’s bit more airy in texture and lighter in calories per serving. Whipped peanut butter is akin to regular cream cheese and whipped styles. Same yummy flavor but fluffier texture and less calories. This one is a winner in my eyes.
- Better N’ Peanut Butter: Either you’re a fan or you’re not of this peanut butter spread that is the least caloric one on the peanut butter market to date. Coming in at 100 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving, Better N’ Peanut Butter allows you to slather it on without feeling the guilt. Made from peanut flour as opposed to actual peanuts, this low-cal version retains the same consistency as real peanut butter, but the taste is fairly different than regular peanut butter. I love this stuff and the chocolate peanut butter spread is really great, but since our taste buds light up when they touch fat and since this contains so little of it, some peanut butter lovers would rather have the full-fat calories than nosh on this kind.
There are also a host of powdered peanut butter versions that carry the same very low-fat and low-cal nutritional stats as Better N’ Peanut Butter. You simply mix them with a few tablespoons of water and presto, you have your own portion-controlled, low-cal peanut butter. Chunky and chocolate brands are also available. I haven’t had the pleasure of testing out any of these yet but if you have, I’d love to hear from you.
December 3rd, 2008