Yesterday, I made a chocolate brownie with crunchy peanut chunks in the dough. It can seem usual, normal, but as I rarely eat cakes — I only bake them for family events, or like yesterday, a brunch with friends — I never thought about using peanuts this way.
That is when I realized how versatile peanuts are. I found them in such a variety of recipes. And I started wondering, why are peanuts everywhere?
Peanuts are present in many diverse recipes
- Breakfast peanuts: This is the first place where you find them: in your peanut butter. Who doesn’t love some peanut butter and banana toast, or PB and jelly? Now we even use peanut butter in smoothies!
- Asian food peanuts: Have you ever eaten a damn good Pad Thai sprinkled all over with peanuts? Or do you like satay sauce — which is loaded with peanuts? You got it. Asian food makes the best use of peanuts.
- Beers and drinks: On an after-work drink with friends or colleagues, your beer is served… with a bowl of salted peanuts! They are tasty and filling enough so that you don’t get drunk too soon.
- Quick snacks: Depending on your culture, peanut butter sandwiches might be your go-to snack. Nutrient-dense, filling, and hearty. It doesn’t get boring and keeps you going through the day. Another healthy snack is to eat peanut butter with apple slices.
- Cakes: As I said above, peanuts are often used in brownies, fudge cakes — everything chocolaty — for their salty side but also their crunchiness. It also makes the cake smoother without using real butter.
- Ice creams: Here we come with the most indecent of all: ice creams and ice creams bars. Frozen ice cream bars (Sneakers, Lions…) are decadent — and most of them have that peanut touch. Vanilla ice cream with peanut bites is heaven.
Peanuts meet all your nutritional needs
According to the NIH, our food should contain these proportions of protein, fats, and carbs to meet our body needs :
- 20–35% fat
- 45–65% carbohydrate
- 10–35% protein
Of course, it depends on your age, your physical activity, and other criteria, but the ranges are more or less adaptable.
Now let’s compare these values to the nutrients in peanut. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, peanuts made of:
- 50% fat
- 25% carbohydrates
- 25% protein
So peanut are higher in fats and lower in carbohydrates than what is recommended, but the difference is not that important, we will see why.
Breaking down the magic: why you should include them in your diet
They fuel you we enough energy
To live and to move, our body needs carbohydrates, and of which sugars, but not too much. Carbs give us that energy to move our muscles around. Alright, if you stay on the couch all day long, you might not need all those carbs.
Yet, we do not want too much sugar either — we want complex carbs, to give us that satiety feeling.
With their 25% carbs, peanuts will be enough if you are not running a marathon. Moreover, they have a very low glycemic index (14), so they don’t skyrocket your blood sugar levels, and you can eat them as a treat without feeling guilty.
All that fat is good-for-you fat
Fat can be good for you! As long as it is not saturated fat, which is hard for our body to break down, we need that fat.
Peanuts contain monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, and both are good for our hearts. Like reducing cardiovascular inflammations and lowering blood pressure.
So when people tell me that peanut butter is SO fat, SO unhealthy, I try to reason them. Of course, if you put sunflower oil and sugar in your peanut butter, it may go unhealthy. But the plain peanut butter made with 100% peanuts is heaven for our mouth and our body.
Nonetheless, you will tell me, 50% of fats is a lot. Yes. It is. But when I think about it, and I think about people who are on a Keto diet and aim to have 80% of their food intake from fats. And this diet works for them, so 50% seems suddenly alright for me.
They are better than a protein shake
Well, peanuts don’t have as much protein as a protein shake does, but at least they are all-natural and tasty. Why take a peanut butter flavored protein shake when you can have the peanut butter directly?
Peanuts have between 20 and 25 grams of protein per 100g. So no, you won’t eat 100 grams of peanut butter in one sitting, but added a spoonful of peanut butter to your toast or your smoothie will bring its lot of protein. If you don’t eat meat, they can help you reach your protein needs.
That is why peanut a nutritious snack: they fill you, give you that satiety, and are great for your muscles. Fitness addicts love peanuts! (and I do too). If you are really into fitness, I can tell you this: peanut contains approximately 20 amino acids, and especially arginine which is so great for muscle energy and recovery.
Let’s give it a try
I hope I convinced you to at least try to include peanuts in your diet. And I am sorry for you if you have some allergies to them.
I listed a bunch of ways you can eat peanuts at the beginning of the article. The easiest one is peanut butter. And now, don’t tell me anymore that peanut butter is not healthy.