This article is part of a popular series on Nutrition for Runners. Heather from the blog, Trials of Training,
has offered her expertise in Nutrition to runners in the Lounge to pass
along information on recipes, nutrition, and running/food related
questions. She has her BS in Nutrition from Penn State, she is
currently working to be a Registered Dietician, and loves to help
runners with their questions.
Past articles can be found in the Nutrition and Hydration section and Recipe section in the Lounge.
I am a huge fan of peanut butter. To me, there’s no other food that tastes good with such a variety of things! Plus, because of its protein and fat content, peanut butter is great as part of a pre-workout snack and great recovery fuel!
In the midst of training for a few races this Fall, I noticed my grocery bills continuously hiking up. When I took a closer look, it was often the result of energy bars and, more energy bars. These used to be my staple Pre-run snack; portable, tasty (flavor varieties!), and packed with protein. However, these packaged items should never replace food. And a running/training-friendly diet shouldn’t have to be expensive.
I made the decision to replace my CIF and LUNA bars with something cheaper, equal in calories, and still high in nutrients – ½ whole-wheat bagel + 1 tbsp Peanut Butter.
I save at least $5 per week ($20 per month!) with this little substation in my running routine. I’m also reaping the benefits of an excellent protein source, that is often overlooked – Peanut Butter!
Yes, this nut butter is calorically dense. It is high in fat, but in a diet-friendly way! Peanuts are high in mono and poly-unsaturated oils*; these healthy fats have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease by helping to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Peanut butter is also high in protein, providing around 7 grams of protein per serving. As a budget-conscious shopper, I find it interesting that you pay only $0.015 per g of protein in peanut butter. Compare that to the $0.16 you pay per g in a CLIF bar (at $1.69 each, 10g protein)! Per calorie, it is also cheaper than other protein sources such as cottage cheese, deli meats (turkey, ham, roast beef), and tuna.
In case you need any more convincing that peanut butter is worth your nutritional buck, check out the other nutrients it packs in one tablespoon:
- Vitamin E (antioxidant)
- Reservatol (phytochemical – also in Red Wine – thought to reduce “bad” cholesterol and help prevent blood clots)
- Sodium (important electrolyte for endurance athletes!)
One disadvantage of some processed brands of peanut butter is that they do contain some hydrogenated oils. However, it is typically in small amounts, and not enough to trump its other health benefits. You can also steer clear of this by choosing the “All Natural” varieties (Ingredient List should read only Peanuts and Salt).
Lastly, there are a few ways that I enjoy this creamy nut butter! I combine it with a variety of foods, including:
- Whole-wheat toast/bagels
- Frozen-yogurt topper
What do you eat with your peanut butter? Is it part of your pre/post workout routine?
*More information on Dietary Fats