In honor of back to school time, and because I received a request to cover this, today’s Grocery Store Spotlight is all about peanut butter, a favorite among children and adults alike. Peanut butter is such an American staple, and the grocery store aisle is always hopping with moms looking to stock up for their kids’ lunches and snacks. Once again I got some suspicious looks as I took pictures of all the peanut butter jars for this post (What I go through for you people!).
Before I dive in and start comparing the brands, it’s important to note that peanuts have many benefits (great for heart health, good source of antioxidants, prevent gallstones, help prevent weight gain, etc.), but there are also some concerns. They are a common food allergy, and they contain high amounts of oxalates and aflatoxins. Click here to learn more and read about all things peanut!
As with the tomato sauces we investigated last week, there are tons of brands and varieties of peanut butter (creamy, chunky, reduced fat, organic, natural, etc.) but the determining factor you should be looking for on the label is the quality of the oils used. Hydrogenated oil is one of the most destructive things you can put into your body. Click my post on fats to recall its many harmful effects.
Jif Creamy – Choosy moms may choose it, but that doesn’t make its hydrogenated oils good for kids!
Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (rapeseed and soybean), mono and diglycerides, salt.
Jif Natural – Jif got this one right. I’m happy to say it’s the exact same price as the Jif Creamy, but it doesn’t contain any of the harmful oils. It has the exact same amount of fat, calories, sugar and fiber as the creamy as well. This is a much better choice!
Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt and molasses.
Skippy – Just as with the Jif brand, it’s crucial that you select the natural variety over the others. Avoid the creamy, which contains the hydrogenated oils and choose Skippy Natural, which contains only 4 ingredients.
Ingredients: peanuts, sugar, palm oil and salt
Peter Pan – This brand receives The Nutritionista’s ultimate seal of disapproval (Which is like the worst thing in the world!). The company does not offer a natural variety, and the creamy variety contains more than one type of hydrogenated oil! That’s 17 grams of poor-quality fat in every 2 tablespoon serving! Please don’t eat this brand or serve it to your kids. We deserve better!
Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed and rapeseed), salt, and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil
Smuckers – With only two ingredients and no added sugars, this brand wins the award for the most whole peanut butter. There are 7 grams of healthy protein in every 2 tablespoon serving. The only problem with this brand and other super whole peanut butters is that the oil rises to top and you have to constantly remix it, and it can be a bit a little tougher in consistency than the other brands.
Ingredients: peanuts, salt
With a few healthy options in the regular section of the store, I don’t really see a need to pay a lot more for the kind in the natural section. You can get a high-quality brand without paying double the price. Another great option is to go to a store like Whole Foods, where you can make your own peanut butter from fresh peanuts. However, many moms have told me they have trouble getting their kids to eat that kind since it isn’t sweet and that it doesn’t spread very well.
Almond butter is another great alternative to peanut butter when you’re looking to switch things up with your protein source. Almonds protect against diabetes and cardiovascular disease and increase energy, making them a great snack to hold you over between meals.
So there you have it, friends. Avoid the Peter Pan at all costs, and steer clear of the regular Jif and Skippy brands as well. Instead go for the Natural Jif and Skippy brands, Smuckers, or another all-natural variety with no hydrogenated oils and the fewest ingredients possible.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to send your requests for future Grocery Store Spotlights my way!