Peanut Butter for Runners – Why This Dietitian Loves Peanut Butter

Peanut butter often has a nostalgic effect on people.  It reminds me of childhood and those perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwiches my mom would make me.  It takes me back to being a kid and running around in the yard.

Would you believe me if I said that this nostalgic peanut butter is actually an awesome food for runners?  The delicious nut butter has nutrients that can have a very important place in a runner’s diet.

In this article you will learn why peanut butter is for runners, the nutritional composition of peanut butter, and some ways to incorporate it into your diet.

Let’s learn more about why this dietitian is nuts about peanut butter!

Peanut butter is delicious

First and foremost, peanut butter is super tasty.  I may be biased here, but I will never get sick of peanut butter.  There are so many ways you can eat peanut butter, and every way is just as delicious.

When healthy food tastes good, it makes it even easier to want to eat them! Major win-win.

It is full of healthy nutrients

There are a lot of peanut butters out there and available at your stores.  Some of these peanut butters will have added ingredients such as sugar, or additives to add to the creaminess.  Which may not be the best option.

If you look at what’s available and read the label, you can find the natural peanut butters that only contain peanuts and maybe some salt.  Natural peanut butters are often readily available in the stores.

Natural peanut butter contains all three macronutrients, carbohydrates, fats, and protein.  Composition wise, it is the highest in fat, but the fat mostly found in peanut butter is unsaturated fat, which is a heart healthy fat.

Peanut butter is also relatively high in protein, which makes it an ideal post-run food for runners.  

There is not much carbohydrates in peanut butter, but it does make a perfect partner for high carb foods such as bread or apples.

Regarding micronutrients, peanut butter contains Vitamin E, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Copper, and Manganese.  All of these are important to support a healthy runner’s diet!

Peanut butter provides fuel

Something that may scare people away from peanut butter is that it is higher in calories.  For active runners, this is something that actually makes it a perfect food item!

Calories should be thought of as energy or fuel for runners.  With regard to fuel, peanut butter has a lot of bang for its buck!  The fuel from peanut butter can help sustain your next workout.

Peanut butter is versatile

There are endless ways to eat peanut butter (including straight out of the jar).

As a running dietitian, some of my favorite ways to eat peanut butter include:

  • The classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Peanut butter granola
  • Oatmeal with peanut butter and berries
  • Peanut butter and Nutella sandwich
  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Peanut butter with apple slices
  • Fruit smoothie with peanut butter
  • Peanut butter on a bagel
  • Peanut butter toast
  • Add peanut butter to a salad dressing
  • Peanut butter protein balls

There are so many ways for you to enjoy peanut butter.  Many of these snacks are easy to pack up and travel with you, making them ideal for runners who are always on the move.

You can pack up these peanut butter snacks and eat them after your run or race to help jump start your recovery process.  

When should runners eat peanut butter?

Whenever you want! Seriously peanut butter can be included at basically any time for a runner’s diet.  It is not the most ideal snack right before a run, but it can be included in a meal a few hours prior to a run.  

Peanut butter is a great option to be included in a post-run snack given the high protein content.  You can also eat peanut butter throughout your day.  You can include peanut butter in your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  

The bottom line

The bottom line is this registered dietitian thinks that peanut butter is the perfect food for runners.  I don’t like to label foods as “super-foods”, but if I did use that language, peanut butter would fit this role.

Peanut butter has many nutrients that are essential for runners.  It also has a great energy punch that can be used as fuel for runners. 

Peanut butter is super versatile, and there are countless recipes available out there to try.  Many of these peanut butter recipes are easy to pack up and bring on the road, making them an ideal snack for busy runners.

Peanut butter can be eaten at any time, but may be more efficient if eaten after a run, or throughout the day.

Overall, peanut butter is a great choice for runners.  It is delicious, versatile, and full of nutrients.  Peanut butter should be included in your nutrition and training plans. So, unless you are allergic, say YES to peanut butter!

If you enjoyed this post feel free to follow along with me on Instagram where I share more running nutrition advice!

As always, happy running! 

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