Peanut Butter: Think Out Of The Sandwich

Peanut butter has been a pantry and sandwich staple in households for generations. However, this beloved American icon is more than a spread destined to partner with jelly. Peanut butter is also a nutrient-dense food that is sometimes overlooked as part of a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating peanut butter into a variety of dishes and snacks can help add important nutrients to one's diet.

One serving of peanut butter-just two tablespoons-provides eight grams of protein, two grams of fiber, 10 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin E and 12 percent of the RDI of magnesium. Additionally, the USDA's new MyPyramid recognizes the importance of varying dietary protein sources and suggests that peanut butter, along with nuts and other nut butters, may be substituted for meat or poultry in meals. Additionally, peanut butter is cholesterol free and contains zero grams of trans fats per serving.

A walk down the grocery store aisle reveals a wide selection of peanut butters to meet different tastes and dietary needs. Creamy or crunchy Laura Scudder's® Natural and Organic Peanut Butters and Jif® Peanut Butter brands offer an assortment of choices, including lower-salt and reduced-fat varieties.

Think outside the sandwich and spread peanut butter on apple slices for a delicious snack, put a dollop in yogurt or even stir into hot oatmeal. Peanut butter can also be the basis of sauces that can turn plain noodles or chicken into a delightfully exotic dish, as in this recipe for Asian Noodles with Chili-Nut Sauce.

Asian Noodles With

Chili-Nut Sauce

3 tablespoons Laura Scudder's® Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter, Jif® Extra Crunchy or Simply Jif® Peanut Butter

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1-2 tablespoons Chinese chili oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 (10-ounce) package Chinese wheat noodles or 1/2-pound package whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

4 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, chili oil, rice vinegar and brown sugar in a large bowl. Stir to blend well. Toss drained noodles with chili-nut sauce, onions and peppers. Cool noodles to room temperature. To serve, place noodles on serving platter, garnish with sesame seeds. For a variation, add 2 cups chopped cooked chicken.

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About The Author, Stacey Moore
For more ways to enjoy peanut butter, visit Note to Editors: This story involves a product that's available only in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington State.