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Three ways to enjoy healthy, natural peanut butter

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 by: Hope Egan
Tags: natural, peanut butter, health news

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(NewsTarget) Creamy, delicious peanut butter is filled with the same nutrients as peanuts. These nutrients include antioxidants and healthy fats that reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and colon cancer. Concern about gaining weight from eating nuts (or nut butter ) is unfounded. According to a study published in Obesity, participants who did not eat nuts were more likely to gain weight than those who did. And because it has a long shelf life, peanut butter is a good candidate for food storage.

The healthiest form of peanut butter is organic, natural peanut butter, which usually has a visible layer of oil on top and whose only ingredient is peanuts (or peanuts and salt ). You can also make your own peanut butter if you have a high-powered blender. While GMO peanuts are not currently approved for sale in the U.S., the peanut industry has been researching genetic modification, so beware of this change in the future. Great as a satisfying snack, for breakfast or dessert, here are three ways to enjoy natural peanut butter:

Snack: Fast and Easy
The quickest way to enjoy natural peanut butter is for a snack. Spread it on rice cakes or crackers; spoon it onto a celery stalk and sprinkle it with raisins; core an apple and spread it with peanut butter; or top an organic dark chocolate bar with a dollop of it.

Breakfast: Peanut Butter and Banana Roll-Ups
This quick breakfast makes 2 servings and is adapted from What the Bible Says about Healthy Living Cookbook.

INGREDIENTS
Heaping 1/4 cup organic, natural peanut butter
1/4 cup organic plain yogurt
2 tablespoons oat bran
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of sea salt
----------
2 organic, whole wheat tortillas
----------
1 banana

1. Combine the first six ingredients (peanut butter through salt ) in a small bowl. If the mixture is too dry, add a splash of orange juice or Organic Raw Certified milk to moisten.

2. Spread half of the peanut butter mixture over each tortilla.

3. Slice half of the banana over each tortilla.

4. Roll up the tortillas and serve with plenty of napkins.

Dessert: Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

This nutrient-dense recipe is also adapted from What the Bible Says about Healthy Living Cookbook. If you are short on time, simply press the mixture into an 8 x 8 pan instead of making the balls.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup dark chocolate chips
-----------
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup oat bran
2 tablespoons carob powder or cocoa powder
2 tablespoons dried unsweetened coconut
1 cup organic, natural peanut butter
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (or a combination)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

OPTIONAL COATINGS
- Finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or peanuts)
- Dried unsweetened coconut
- Sesame seeds

1. Coarsely chop the chocolate chips and add them to a medium bowl.

2. Add the remaining peanut butter ball ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly.

3. Scoop by teaspoonfuls and roll into walnut-sized balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Put on a plate or in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

4. Roll the balls in a small dish with optional nuts, coconut or sesame seeds.

5. Cover the plate or pan and chill before serving. These taste best when kept refrigerated.

VARIATIONS
- Use a food processor to chop the chocolate chips. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well incorporated.
- Substitute raisins or other dried fruit for the chocolate chips.
- Substitute carob chips for the chocolate chips.

Sources
Health benefits of peanut butter: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspi...

In depth nutrient analysis: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=nutrien...

Article on peanut GMO research; none approved for sale as of 2010: http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/database/plan...


About the author

Hope Egan is a biblical health writer and author of "What the Bible Says about Healthy Living Cookbook: Simple and Tasty Recipes Featuring God's Ingredients." This is the long-awaited follow up to "What the Bible Says about Healthy Living," by Dr. Rex Russell, who wrote her cookbook's foreword. Visit www.BSACookbook.com to contact her or for more information.

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