First of All— What is Peanut Butter and How is It Made?
Peanut butter is a well-loved ingredient all around the world! It is a typical food in households in the United States, Africa, and Australia, among others. Everyone who tastes it once is seemingly bewitched! Why is this? Peanut butter is essentially a paste or a spread made from the ground down bits of roasted peanuts.
It was invented in the 19th century, allegedly by George Washington Carver (though it is likely that the inventor is unknown and Carver simply made the spread famous). It varies in intensity, flavor, and nutritional profile according to how it is made and to what ingredients it contains besides— obviously— peanuts.
Also it can be salty, savory, or sweet— a delight to your taste buds! You can use peanut butter to make rich smoothies, baked goods such as cakes and cookies, desserts and frostings, salad dressings, and— when you pair it with bread and your favorite jelly— a delicious pb&j sandwich.
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What Are the Benefits and Nutritional Value of Peanuts
All good and fine, but knowing what is in your food is super important!. Let’s look at the main ingredient in your peanut butter paste or spread: the peanuts themselves. Also known as groundnuts and goobers, these little beans grow in tropical and subtropical areas.
The first domestic plants of peanuts probably came from South America about 8000 years ago. Since then, they have been loved and eaten by millions and millions of people. And for good reason: besides being super tasty and having lots of unexpected uses (such as creating fabrics and furniture polish), they make a super nutritious snack. Bonus: peanut butter has a really long shelf life if stored correctly.
Peanuts contain about 19% percent of the protein you need to eat in a day— and protein is a great way to feel full for longer, thus helping you not over-snack in between meals. They also have lots of minerals and other essential nutrients such as Potassium, Iron, Vitamin B1, Thiamine, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, and Phosphorus. Phew!
Peanuts do contain both saturated and unsaturated fats such as oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acids. Remember, though: some good fats are necessary for the good functioning of your body! Also, its Vitamin E and natural antioxidants will keep your hair full and your skin looking young— beauty is in what you eat!
Peanuts— and, per extension, peanut butter— have specific health benefits that have amazed scientists. For example, they help lower your chances of developing gut conditions such as colon cancer and Crohn’s disease. They also aid in preventing strokes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
A word of caution, though: peanut butter is not good for everyone. If you have a history of allergies to peanuts or other nuts, do not eat it! Consulting with your doctor to find out whether you can safely eat peanut butter or not is always a good idea to keep your body healthy. Overall, though, peanuts and peanut butter make for a great, nutritious ingredient!
Types of Peanut Butter
There are two main types of industrially produced, commercially available peanut butter. These all tend to be either crunchy or smooth. There are a few differences in peanut butter types and their added ingredients:
- Crunchy peanut butter consists of, essentially, peanuts that have been ground into a coarse paste. It will be, obviously, crunchy!
- The creamy peanut butter has a smoother, more spreadable texture because it has been made from more finely ground peanuts.
- If you want to know what the peanut butter jar in your pantry contains, look at the label in detail!
- Most manufacturers use more than just peanuts and water: the most natural ones also include salt, while less organic versions add different hydrogenated vegetable oils, stabilizers, artificial preservatives, and even corn syrup or sugar.
If you care about the quality of the ingredients and the number of calories in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you need to buy as pure and crunchy a peanut butter product as you can. In this case, less is definitely more!
What’s in a Pb&j Sandwich? All the Basics!
What do you think of when you imagine a peanut butter sandwich? In truth, the ingredients in one of these tasty snacks vary from person to person, according to everyone’s personal taste and available time. They can go from basic— bread, butter, jelly— to complex versions including veggies, sauces, or sweets.
Typically, though they will contain either crunchy or creamy peanut butter, fruity jam or jelly, and your bread of choice. The most typical choices include white bread that is cut into slices, wheat bread, or whole wheat bread. Some people prefer using a richer, more organic bread with seeds.
Common extra additions include chocolate, dried or fresh fruit (such as raisins and bananas), or sugary syrups. Of course, what you put in your sandwich— and how much of it you decide to use— determines your pbj sandwich calories!
How Many Calories in a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich?
Peanut butter and jelly are tasty, we all know that, but how many calories does a sandwich have? If you are trying to find out whether you can keep these delicious snacks in your diet, this is the definitive answer: a resounding yes! However, everything depends on which ingredients you choose and how much of them you use.
First, the infamous bread. It would not be a sandwich without this ingredient, but which variety you use can change everything! White bread, for example, has 74 calories per slice. Wheat bread and whole wheat bread have 77 and 81 respectively. However, this is deceiving: whole wheat bread or whole bread made of other cereals is, though higher in calories, your best option.
Jelly or jam usually amount to 70 calories per tablespoon. This is what you will typically use in your sandwich! Of course, the more organic and pure the jelly is, the better. If your jelly or jam has tons of sugar, that will add tons of useless calories and carbs to your snack.
For the calculation of pb&j calories, let’s go with the most common choices: white bread (71 calories), 2 spoonfuls of commercial peanut butter (190 calories), and common jelly (70 calories). This means 330 calories overall. If you add a whole sliced banana (about 100 calories), that means 430 calories in peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Pretty good, right?
How to Make Your Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Healthier
It is not just about the calories, though. You can have a low calories snack that does not really provide much good energy or, worse, does not satisfy you and sets you on the way to grab something unhealthy from the tempting fridge. Here are some quick tips to make your peanut butter sandwich more nutritious and filling:
- Choose the seedier bread. The more whole-grain and organic your bread is, the better. Even if it does have a higher calorie count, you will also be getting very important nutrients that will make your stomach feel full for longer. Eating whole bread is also important for long-term health.
- Replace the artificial additions such as chocolate smoothie bowl recipe or syrup with healthier ones. Use dried fruit (like raisins or figs) or fresh fruit (think: banana, berries, some refreshing pear slices). The sky is the limit!
- Make your own peanut butter. It is not a difficult process and means that you get to control exactly what goes into your food. Mix 2 spoons of ground peanut powder with 1 of water and blend well. That’s it! This mix has half the calories and fat of its commercially available cousins.
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Spread and Snack Away!
Peanut butter is super tasty and useful. It also makes a great snack! If you were wondering how many calories does a peanut butter and jelly sandwich have, now you have the answer. You will never have to abandon your pb&j sandwich again. So spread, devour, and enjoy!