Peanut Butter: Not just for kids anymore

There really isn’t a better snack than a generous dollop of peanut butter paired with an apple or banana. Peanut butter reminds me of a time when my biggest deadline was finishing my mud pie before dark, when the most expensive thing on my wish list was a two-wheeler and when my biggest confrontation was over which toy I got to play with.

For a few years I was too good for peanut butter and passed by my old friend at the grocery store. I chose protein shakes, granola bars and rice cakes in an attempt to eat healthy and follow the trends. None of these were ever very satisfying. I couldn’t stand protein shakes. Granola bars are okay but left me hungry an hour later. And rice cakes don’t taste good.

Recently, I noticed a lot of the runners I know eating peanut butter, and I started doing some research. Peanuts contain more protein than nuts. In fact, peanuts aren’t nuts at all, they are legumes. Peanuts also have poly- and monosaturated fats. These are good fats that studies show reduce the risk of heart disease.

I decided it was time to add my old friend back into my diet. A few days a week I spread one whole grain waffle with a tablespoon of peanut butter for breakfast, or I’ll snack on a tablespoon of peanut butter with a banana. I’ve noticed the days I incorporate peanut butter I stay full for much longer. Peanut butter is real stick-to-your-ribs food.

Skippy Peanut Butter is one of the most popular peanut butter brands with more than 90 million jars sold annually. Recently, I found out that Little Rock is home to a Skippy Peanut Butter processing facility. The Little Rock Skippy plant opened its doors in 1977.

The peanut butter industry uses nearly half of the peanuts grown in the United States. By law, in order to label a product as peanut butter, the product must contain 90 percent peanuts. It takes 772 peanuts to make one 16.3 ounce jar of peanut butter.

Georgia and Texas farmers grow the most peanuts, but Arkansas farmers are starting to choose peanuts over other crops. In 2010, Arkansas farmers planted 1,000 acres of peanuts. In 2011, 4000 acres in Arkansas grew peanuts. This year, even more Arkansas farmers will plant peanuts.

Peanut butter isn’t just for snacking. You can find a lot of recipes that use the creamy stuff. Peanut butter is an ingredient in cookies, cheesecakes, pies, frostings, soups, sauces and much more. March is National Peanut Month, so celebrate by grabbing a jar of peanut butter at your local grocery store.


For more from the Little Rock Skippy plant check out this video: