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Start Your Day With Peanut Butter

If you’re looking for a better way to start the day, try some peanut butter. Adding peanut butter to your morning meal can help provide the energy necessary to live, work and play well. This nutrient-dense food is a smart option for breakfast because it’s filling and tastes great. Two tablespoons of smooth-style peanut butter offers 8 grams of plant-based protein and more than 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients. “Making time for breakfast and choosing a meal that has fiber, protein and good fats can play a role in maintaining a healthy diet,” said Registered Dietitian Sherry Coleman Collins. “Research shows that a balanced breakfast including fruit, whole grains and protein such as peanut butter gives you the fuel and nutrients needed to stave off hunger until lunchtime.”

Here are four easy breakfast ideas:

1 . Swirl peanut butter into oatmeal.
2. Add smooth-style peanut butter into a breakfast smoothie for an easy portable meal.
3. Toast whole grain frozen waffles and top with peanut butter instead of syrup for a low-sugar start to the day.
4. Spread peanut butter on whole grain bread and top with slices of banana.

According to National Peanut Board research, 90 percent of American households contain one or more jars of peanut butter.

For a new twist, try one of the slightly indulgent gourmet chocolate peanut butters, such as those from Peanut Butter & Co. or Sunland Peanut Butter. Flavored peanut butter is a great way to perk up a dull breakfast routine.

Peanut Butter Banana Power Muffins

Ingredients

1⁄4 cup honey
1 large egg
3 medium bananas
1⁄2 cup peanut butter, smooth
2 Tbsp peanut oil, salad or cooking
1⁄2 cup prune puree
1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp peanut flour, defatted (optional)
1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
3⁄4 tsp baking soda
1⁄8 tsp salt, table
1⁄2 cup multigrain cereal
1⁄2 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or use muffin tin liners. In a large bowl, mix honey, egg, mashed bananas, peanut butter, peanut oil and prune puree. In a separate bowl, mix whole wheat flour, peanut flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and multigrain cereal. Mix wet and dry ingredients. Mix until almost completely combined. Fold in peanuts. Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter between 12 muffin tins. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Serves 12.

*Article courtesy of NAPS. Image: Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Include These Bad Foods in Your Diet!

Yes, you heard me right! Sometimes foods labeled as “bad” or guilty pleasures can actually be good for you when enjoyed in moderation as a part of a balanced diet.

Here are a few naughty treats to add to your daily meals to improve your overall health:

  • Peanut Butter: Have you been avoiding fattening peanut butter since the mid-90s? You are definitely not alone! The good news is that although peanut butter is high in fat, it is not necessarily fattening.

Your weight directly depends upon the calories that you consume, so when you eat peanut butter in moderation in small portions, you won’t be at risk for gaining weight. A few tablespoons of peanut butter are less than 100 calories and provide you with healthy protein and folate to stimulate new cell growth.

  • Eggs: If you too have believed the negative rumors that eggs are high in cholesterol, you may have been avoiding egg yolks altogether. However, the medical community has now confirmed that trans-fat and saturated fats are more likely to raise your cholesterol than sources of dietary cholesterol.

On top of that, the protein in eggs makes them very satisfying. Eating eggs for breakfast will make you less likely to overeat at lunch so that you can effectively control your calories throughout the day.

  • Chocolate: This is the good news that you have been waiting for if you are a chocolate lover! Although commercial chocolate is full of sugar and fat, dark chocolate contains antioxidants that thin the blood and promote cardiovascular health.

Recent research from Switzerland revealed that eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate each day for two weeks reduced the stress hormone cortisol in people with high stress levels.

  • Nuts: So many women avoid nuts since they are full of fat… but keep in mind that nuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats that are actually beneficial to your health. Nuts are full of healthy nutrients, which vary from nut and nut but may include antioxidants, vitamin E, omega-3 fats, and lutein.

It is important to monitor your serving size since nuts are high in calories, yet they can serve as a healthy, high-protein snack to give you a boost of energy in a midafternoon slump.

The truth is that you are what you eat! By including many of these so-called “bad foods” in your diet, you can greatly benefit your health, balance your diet, and intake extra protein to boost your energy each day.

Bethany Ramos is an aesthetician that co-owns her own website, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of the Bodum French Press, check out Bethany Ramos’ website today!

From the Food Network comes an ingenious way to get the little ones to eat their vegetables (and possibly Dad, too!), a delicious pureed soup made with the all-time, kid-favorite – peanut butter! Check out www.foodnetwork.com for more family-friendly meal ideas!

Pureed Peanut Butter and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

1 cup onion, diced

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 stalk celery, diced

4 carrots, diced

2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced

2 leeks, white part only, washed well and diced

4 cups vegetable broth

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, organic, no sugar preferably

1/2 cup tahini

Parsley, for garnish, minced

Scallions, for garnish, chopped

Directions

In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil, stirring until onions are transparent. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, leeks and broth. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer the soup until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cayenne, black pepper, salt, peanut butter and tahini. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree it. Garnish and serve.