Calling all peanut butter lovers! We have a lot to celebrate starting with a revolution happening in the peanut butter aisle. Natural style peanut butter, made with only peanuts and salt, is taking center stage and organic peanut butter options are even available. You won’t believe how pure and amazing natural-style peanut butter tastes without the added sugar or saturated fat. Sure, you have to stir it with a long knife or mini spatula (to incorporate the natural oils) when you first open the jar, but then you store it in the refrigerator and you’re good to go until the jar is empty.

From Protein to Smart Fats

While an honorary member of the nut family, peanuts are technically a legume and they have their own nutritional story to tell. These amazing plant protein packages are balanced with monounsaturated “smart” fats, fiber vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds. With 7 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving, peanuts have the highest amount of protein compared to other nuts. They also have the highest amount of two B-vitamins compared to other nuts, with one ounce of peanuts contributing 20% of the Daily value for niacin and 10% for folate. Peanuts also give several key minerals a boost including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Top Nut in Phytosterols

An ounce of peanuts or natural style peanut butter also adds a nice dose of several antioxidant-acting phytochemicals (plant compounds) starting with the highest amount of phytosterols compared to other nuts. Phytosterols might help inhibit the growth of some cancers and help reduce the risk of heart disease, in part through its effect on LDL “bad” cholesterol. Recent studies suggest that regular peanut consumption may help decrease blood pressure, a condition that affects the majority of American adults. When you switch to natural-style peanut butter, it’s like eating peanuts because only salt is added!

Stir it up with Natural-Style Peanut Butter

With all of this going for peanuts, the time has come to promote natural-style peanut butter beyond the predictable PB & J. Natural style peanut butter is a powerful addition to smoothies, oatmeal or overnight oats and works well as a base for energy bites and balls. The whole family will love this easy recipe for Peanut Butter Energy Bites. You can design your own version of these bites by putting dried cherries or strawberries in the center of the bite and rolling the bites in everything from unsweetened coconut to unsweetened cocoa powder.

Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Makes 18 bites (9 servings if 2 bites each)


1/2 cup O Organics creamy peanut butter (stir well to blend)

3 tablespoons O Organics maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon maple extract

1/3 cup Signature Select nonfat dry milk powder

1/3 cup ground old fashioned oats (add oats to a mini food processor or similar and pulse to grind)

1/3 cup Signature Select Nutty Nuggets Cereal (similar to Grape Nuts)


Date pieces, Dried cherries or berries (to put in the center of the energy bites)

Granola, Unsweetened shredded coconut or Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (to roll the energy bites in)


In a medium sized bowl, blend peanut butter, maple syrup, and maple extract together with a spatula or spoon. Stir in nonfat dry milk powder, ground oats and nuggets cereal until blended.

Use a mini cookie scoop (or tablespoon measure) to grab about a tablespoon of the mixture. Add a dried fruit piece to the center if desired and roll into a ball. Roll the ball in shredded unsweetened coconut, mini semisweet chocolate chips, granola or nugget cereal if desired.

Store in the refrigerator in a sealable bag or container until ready to serve or pack in your backpack/briefcase for the day.

Nutritional Information: Per 2 bites

Calories 157, Total Fat 7.6 g, Saturated Fat 1.2 g, Monounsaturated Fat 4.1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2 g, Trans Fat

0 g, Cholesterol .4 mg, Sodium 81 mg, Potassium 99 mg, Total Carbohydrate 15 g, Dietary Fiber 1.5 g, Sugars 6 g, Protein 5.5 g, Calcium 42 mg, Iron 1.6 mg

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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