Sunday, May 16, 2010

Peanut Butter: Added Fat Equals Extra Pounds

Paradise Greetings,

Busy week. The White House released its report on Childhood Obesity. Check it out and decide where you can make a difference: There will be a pop quiz next blog - with prizes - so pay attention!! We're talking about our children's health and lives here...

How much do YOU love peanut butter? I love peanut butter. Always have, always will. Nut butters in general are great. I love almond butter and cashew butter. The only ingredient in the best ones is the nut. Nuts contain the "good" fat called unsaturated fats. We need fats. Fats, protein, and carbohydrates keep us going. If you eat too much fat, even the good fats, you will gain weight.

Fat contains 9 calories a gram, vs 4 calories a gram for protein and carbs. For the big kids reading this, alcohol contains 7 calories a gram. So, when your goal is to get to a healthier weight (America, are you listening???), cutting back on the fat calories is the first step.

This week one of the Growing Healthy Kids classes I did in conjunction with the Treasure Coast-Vero Beach Kiwanis Club was a lesson on making healthy snacks for teenagers. I brought in the ingredients for making PB&B sandwiches (peanut butter and banana) using whole grain bread.

I brought in 3 kinds of peanut butter and taught the kids how to read the food labels. The one peanut butter that the kids gravitated to first (those advertising and placement dollars at work) is the one that has ADDED TRANS FAT, as identified by those two key words, "partially hydrogenated". The only peanut butter I allowed them to open and use was the one that only had 2 ingredients, compared to the other 2 which had 5 and 6 ingredients each, including added fats and added sugar.

So, your lesson today is to count the ingredients on the peanut butter in YOUR food pantry. Less is more. Less ingredients is more health. By the way, the peanut butter the kids used to make their peanut butter and banana sandwiches was Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter. Not the Jif. Not the Peter Pan.

This week was special for another reason: the launch of the Growing Healthy Kids chef apron. Net proceeds support the garden-based education program and healthy kids cooking classes. Go to

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids