One of the staples in my fridge is a jar of natural, no sugar-added peanut butter. I prefer crunchy because I like the texture of the nuts. Peanut butter is a versatile and inexpensive source of protein, important to remember for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet or who are trying to create more plant-based meals.

Here are some fun facts about peanut butter:

• It takes about 540 peanuts to make one 12 ounce jar of peanut butter. In the United States, by law, anything labeled “peanut butter” must contain 90 percent peanuts. (

• Each tablespoon of peanut butter is approximately 100 calories and most of that is from fat (8 grams). Peanut butter is also a good source of protein (4 grams in 1 TBSP) and contains potassium, vitamin E and magnesium.

What are some ways that you can use peanut butter in recipes?

• Add it to your breakfast smoothies. Use 1 cup of milk of your choice plus 1/2 frozen ripe banana plus 1 TBSP crunchy peanut butter plus 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Additional add-ins can include hemp hearts, chia seeds, honey, frozen strawberries and spinach.

• Spread it on bread or toast. Add some protein to your breakfast toast with peanut butter instead of butter or make it into a classic PB&J or my favorite, or peanut butter and honey.

• Make a satay sauce with peanut butter as a dip for grilled chicken. (Recipe:

• Make up no sugar added “PB power balls” using peanut butter and peanut flour (PB2): 1/3 cup of crunchy peanut butter plus 2 tablespoons of PB2 plus 1 teaspoon of vanilla plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon plus 2 pitted medjool dates. Put in food processor and blend. Remove and form into individual balls. Roll in hemp hearts and freeze until firm. Makes about six medium-sized “Peanut Protein Power Balls” that make a great snack.

Talk to Leah: Leah McGrath is the corporate dietitian for Ingles Markets. Follow her @InglesDietitian. Contact her at, 800-334-4936 or at

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