According to Jama’s Alphabet Soup, November is Peanut Butter Lover’s Month: friday feast: peanut butter poems wanted! Since I talked about peanut butter in the comments to that post and in some of my bread recipe posts in October, I thought it would be a good time to write about peanut butter on my blog.

Peanut butter is both a triggering food for me and a food that showed up in some of my worst overeating episodes. Nearly all foods that meet those two criteria have been banned from my house. I can count on one hand the number of those foods that are currently in my kitchen. Peanut butter is one.

Peanut Butter photo to illustrate tips to stop overeating or binges of peanut butter

I’m not the only eater in my house, so eliminating peanut butter would cause a hardship for my husband who eats it sanely, usually in the form of a half-sandwich of peanut butter and honey for an afternoon snack. Peanut butter is the basis for one of our favorite sauces for stir-fry — a sauce that we particularly like with cooking greens which are so healthy that you could eat them with almost anything and consider it a win nutritionally.

I had to work pretty hard to find a way to keep peanut butter in my diet without letting it derail my good eating habits (at least, not too often). I follow two principles with peanut butter.

Peanut Butter is a fat not a protein. I had to quit thinking of peanut butter as a good source of protein. Here’s a table of some of the foods I eat for protein in the amounts I use at lunch. The values are from CalorieKing.

protein (g) fat (g) kcal
1T Peanut Butter 4 8 94
2oz chicken 29 12 118
1/3c tempeh 10 6 107
1/2c 1% cottage cheese 14 1 81

I don’t know where I got the idea that peanut butter was a good source of protein given those numbers! Maybe the peanut butter lobby?

Peanut Butter is an ingredient not a condiment. I use peanut butter in things not on things.

Once in awhile, though, I get a craving for peanut butter on toast or a peanut butter sandwich that nothing else is going to solve. When that happens, I make a PB Spread so that the peanut butter remains an ingredient. For me, PB Spread satisfies the craving without triggering additional cravings.

PB Spread -- an alternative to peanut butter for overeaters and others on a diet

The easiest version of my PB Spread is simply peanut butter mixed with yogurt cheese (strained yogurt). When I first started doing this, I made it about half and half. Now, I use two big spoonfuls of yogurt cheese and one big spoonful of peanut butter, blended together in the food processor.

PB Spread -- a low fat peanut butter alternative for healthy diets

Over time, I’ve grown to like PB Spread better than peanut butter. It’s creamier, spreads more easily, and it’s less oily.

Other things can be added to change the flavor, texture, and nutritional elements of PB Spread. Cottage cheese is surprisingly good while boosting the protein. Flax meal adds those ever-important omega-3s and you hardly notice it’s in there. Honey is good if you’re in a sweet rather than savory mood.

Is peanut butter a problem food for you (or am I the only crazy one)? What approaches work well for you?

Has anyone tried that new PB2? Apparently, it’s a de-fatted powdered peanut butter that is reported to be quite good as a substitute in recipes. I haven’t seen it around here yet.

Weekend Cooking meme graphicThis is my Weekend Cooking post for this week. Visit Beth Fish Reads to see other posts describing adventures in the kitchen.


Peanut Butter — An Overeater’s Tips — 21 Comments

  1. What a useful post! I wouldn’t have thought to mix it with yogurt or cottage cheese to make a spread, what a great idea. PB is not really a trigger food for me but when I do eat it, it’s always too much of it. After reading your post I’m sure that’s because I think of it as a protein with good fat, not just a fat. Very helpful!

  2. I like your chart about other sources of protein for lunch. An eye opener for me. I like your idea about PB Spread. Now how about sharing that stir-fry sauce using peanut butter – hint, hint.

  3. You are brave and wise, Joy. I know all about eating disorders, and have worked (now successfully) for decades to stop substituting food for not dealing with deep-seated emotional issues. As a kid, though, I always craved peanut butter as a real “treat” and later, I would devour it on its own, almost mindlessly.

    So you’re not alone, but you do have something there with the PB spread, and seeing it as an ingredient, not the source of comfort. I just used 1/2 cup of PB in a wonderful PB Chocolate chip cookie–very chewy and delicious. Might end up on my holiday bake list this year.

  4. You know, I always thought it was a good source of protein, as well. {sigh} Advertising works. Your spread sounds lovely, though…and probably something I should try. And no, I haven’t tried PB2 – how interesting!

  5. I’m an emotional eater but peanut butter isn’t one of my comfort foods. I do like it on toast or fresh bread with honey as a treat once in a while but I like your work arounds for making peanut butter your friend

  6. Thanks for the recipe 🙂 Peanut butter is not a real problem for me. I do spread it on a sammy about once a week. But I love to make my own sateh sauce and I need peanut butter for that 🙂

  7. Interesting post! I like how you use PB in recipes and mix it with yogurt cheese — not banishing it entirely from your diet but using it in a way that makes sense for you.

    Four grams of protein in one tablespoon? About the equivalent of one egg? It is shocking when you think there’s about 100 calories in just one tablespoon.

  8. I had no idea that peanut butter is a fat, not a protein! I used to eat it like crazy. It seemed to be healthier than indulging in something else. Now I know. I’m an overeater too so the only thing that works when it comes to food that I really love is to go off of it cold turkey.

  9. I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I don’t eat peanut butter in anything else except cookies every once in a while. I think I sometimes eat emotionally, but I tend to crave salty, crisp things (chips!), and I don’t keep those around much.

    I thought the protein comparisons were interesting – thanks for pointing that out!

  10. I am also one of those misled about the amount of protein. I enjoy PB in a sandwich with Banana. If I toast the bread lightly, then it melts the PB a bit and I can spread it thinner . I use a bit less that way.

  11. That sounds yummy. It also reminds me that I should probably stop just chowing on peanut butter (I always thought it was much healthier than it is). This reminds me, actually, of a former teacher in high school; one of the sisters (I went to a Catholic HS) had what about amounted to a room of peanut butter she would slip into and nosh on between (and sometimes during) classes.

  12. I found PB2 in the Creve Coeur Dierburgs, was planning to try mixing it with fat-free ricotta and see what happens. The protein to fat ratio is much better than regular peanut butter.

  13. Pingback: Peanut Sauce — Weekend Cooking | Joy's Book Blog

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