Here’s Everything You Should Know About Healthy Peanut Butter

What makes healthy peanut butter, well, healthy? We break down what you should look for on the label, plus some great go-to brands.

Though peanut butter is a common ingredient in sweet treats like candy, cakes and ice cream, it can be a super healthy addition to your diet, too. Let’s learn what makes a brand of peanut butter a healthy (or unhealthy) choice—and how to make your own at home.

If you’re looking for other healthy nut butters, check out our guide.

How to Choose a Healthy Peanut Butter

What to Look For

When looking for the healthiest type of peanut butter in the grocery store, take a look at the label. The fewer the ingredients, the better. The cleanest brand will only contain peanuts and maybe a touch of salt. Many others will contain some type of unprocessed vegetable oil.

What to Avoid

The less healthy brands will contain added sugar, preservatives and trans fats in the form of hydrogenated oils. (By the way, this is the difference between good fats and bad fats.) Sugar is added for flavor and you’ll easily be able to see it on the label.

Preservatives can be trickier to spot. But oftentimes they’ll be words you’ve never seen before or the label will say that it’s added for preservation.

Finally, hydrogenated oils are added to prevent separation. (Hint: looking for separation is a great way to spot a natural peanut butter.) Make sure to look at the ingredients list—not the nutrition label—to find out if a product has trans fat. Since companies are able to claim 0 trans fats if the product has 0.5 grams or less per serving, the only way you’ll really be able to tell is if the ingredients list has “hydrogenated” in it.

Healthy Peanut Butter Brands

So, which brands should you look for when shopping online or at the grocery store? Here are some of my top picks:

How to Make Healthy Peanut Butter

One very important option to mention when talking about healthy peanut butter is making your own! It’s much easier than you might think.

For chunky peanut butter:

  1. Chopping about ¼ cup of peanuts and set aside
  2. Place about 2 cups of peanuts blender or food processor and process for about 5 minutes or until smooth.
  3. Stir in chopped peanuts, a bit of salt and some orange zest or honey to taste.

Use your healthy peanut butter in these good-for-you snack recipes.

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Christina Manian, RDN
Christina Manian is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist based out of Boulder, Colorado. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, she has been involved with the nutrition departments of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Mass General Hospital. She completed her nutrition education at the Mayo Clinic with a focus on medical nutrition therapy and most recently practiced clinical nutrition at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. While her background has largely been in the clinical setting, Christina embraces and is shifting her focus towards wellness nutrition as the backbone to optimum health.