Are Peanuts Good for a Kid’s Health?

The nutrient-rich profile of peanuts and peanut butter can have a positive impact on our daily health — and the benefits start early! From preventing disease to promoting healthy development and extending life expectancy, peanuts are an affordable way to deliver nutrition kids need at every age.

When Can Kids Eat Peanuts?

It is recommended to start early. Thanks to groundbreaking research, experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) recommend introducing peanut protein to infants as early as 4-6 months of age to reduce the risk of peanut allergies.

Peanuts and Peanut Butter Benefits for Kids

Kids need more protein as they grow, and it’s important they receive it from healthy sources. Peanuts contain more plant-based protein than any other nut, which is part of why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends peanuts and peanut butter to help meet children’s protein needs. In addition to helping kids feel fuller for longer, peanuts and peanut butter also support healthy development.

The Powers of Protein:

  • Assisting in brain development
  • Helping us form healthy bones
  • Enabling muscle growth
  • Helping to develop the immune system
  • Assisting in rapid growth

Arginine Helps Kids Grow

Arginine is an amino acid that helps kids grow! Getting arginine from food (rather than supplements) has been associated with a higher growth velocity and linear growth, even more than general protein intake.1 And peanuts have more arginine than just about any other food.

Peanuts and the Brain

Peanuts and peanut butter can also help support a healthy, growing mind! (And they’re pretty great for adult minds, too!) They contain several components that are important to brain development:

B Vitaminshelp with energy production and proper brain development.2
Choline promotes concentration and supports functioning neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that carry messages across the brain and body.3
Copper promotes concentration and, along with polyunsaturated fatty acids, help produce neurons.

Peanuts & Peanut Butter Are Good For Kids Because the Benefits Grow With Them

If you think peanuts are just kid’s stuff, think again. Even after kids are all grown up, peanuts and peanut butter contain a host of nutrients that have plenty to offer:

Resveratrol: An antioxidant that’s also found in grape skins, this polyphenol protects against cancer and heart disease.4

Niacin: Peanuts are an excellent source of this vitamin, which is associated with a reduced rate of cognitive decline.5

Manganese: Peanuts are also an excellent source of this mineral, which helps improve bone health, control blood sugar, and may even lower incidence of seizures.

P-coumaric acid: This neuroprotective phenolic acid may help protect against anxiety and depression6, as well as liver and kidney damage7.

Biotin: Peanuts are a good source of this mineral, which is beneficial for healthy hair, skin and nails.

Peanuts help kids of all ages


Proper nutrition during the first 2 years of life is essential for healthy growth and development. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 refers to this time period as “B24” and highlights that nuts/peanuts “are important sources of iron, zinc, protein, choline, and long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids [2].” These unsaturated fatty acids are vital for the rapid brain development that happens through the child’s first 2 years of life [2].


Cultivating good nutrition habits in children starts with their earliest introduction to foods that encourage healthy dietary patterns. In fact, studies show that a baby’s diet—from breastfeeding to solid foods—can impact how they eat as they grow and, consequently, can affect their health as they age [4].

As parents include complementary foods in their baby’s diets, they should [5-7]:

  • Limit their baby’s intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and snacks
  • Limit foods that are high in salt, such as processed meats and some canned foods
  • Emphasize nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables
  • Include nutrient-dense snacks

A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetics Association found that pairing vegetables with a preferred taste like peanut butter significantly increased vegetable consumption in children [8]. Feeding whole nuts or sticky foods like peanut butter to infants and toddlers may not be appropriate due to choking risk. However, parents can pair thinned peanut butter with softened vegetables to help build healthy habits that may be carried throughout childhood and adulthood.

School-Aged Children

The prevalence of obesity in children has been increasing since the 1990s. Today, 1 in 3 children is either overweight or obese, and 1 in 5 is obese [9, 10]. Children who are overweight or obese are likely to be overweight or obese as adults. They are also more likely to have asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease [4, 10]. Rapid infant weight gain is a strong predictor of childhood overweight and obesity [11].

Peanuts and peanut butter pack protein, protective nutrients and unique bioactives that can help kids grow up strong, and adults feel their best.So when it comes to your snack time selection, they’re one pick that kids and adults can definitely agree on.

Want some quick ideas for adding more peanuts into your diet? Check out our blog on the topic, or explore our recipes!

And if you want to get more peanuts into your daily feed, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Related Studies

Overweight Kids Lose Weight Eating Peanuts Every Day in School Based Study

Better Bodies Better Diets in Hispanic Kids Who Eat Peanuts

High Nutrient Peanut Snacks Help Overweight Kids Eat Less

Peanut Butter Dipping Helps Kids Eat More Veggies


  1. van Vught, A.J.A.H., et al., Dietary arginine and linear growth: the Copenhagen School Child Intervention Study. British Journal of Nutrition, 2013. 109(6): p. 1031-1039.2. Kennedy D. O. (2016).
  2. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68. doi:10.3390/nu8020068.
  3. Cusick, S. E., & Georgieff, M. K. (2016). The Role of Nutrition in Brain Development: The Golden Opportunity of the “First 1000 Days”. The Journal of pediatrics, 175, 16–21. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.05.013.
  4. Sales JM, Resurreccion AV. Resveratrol in peanuts. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(6):734-70. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.606928. Review. PubMed PMID: 24345046.
  5. Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL, Scherr PA, Tangney CC, Hebert LE, Bennett DA, Wilson RS, Aggarwal N. Dietary niacin and the risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease and of cognitive decline. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 Aug;75(8):1093-9. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2003.025858. PubMed PMID: 15258207; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1739176.
  6. Szwajgier D, Borowiec K, Pustelniak K. The Neuroprotective Effects of Phenolic Acids: Molecular Mechanism of Action. Nutrients. 2017 May 10;9(5). doi: 10.3390/nu9050477. Review. PubMed PMID: 28489058; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5452207.
  7. Ekinci Akdemir FN, Albayrak M, Çalik M, Bayir Y, Gülçin İ. The Protective Effects of p-Coumaric Acid on Acute Liver and Kidney Damages Induced by Cisplatin. Biomedicines. 2017 Apr 28;5(2). doi: 10.3390/biomedicines5020018. PubMed PMID: 28536361; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5489804.