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1. Measure portions carefully. Once you become familiar with portion sizes, you may be able to estimate them.

One ounce of peanuts is a small handful, or about 40 pieces. Look for single-serving (one-ounce) packets of peanuts at the store to help with portion control

Two tablespoons of peanut butter is about the size of a ping-pong ball. Keep one on your kitchen counter in your fruit bowl.

Speak with a registered dietitian in your area for more information on keeping track of serving sizes and the carbohydrates in your diet.

2. Replace refined carbohydrates or saturated fat with peanuts or peanut butter.

Spread peanut butter on a slice of whole-grain toast instead of an English muffin with butter.

Add half of an ounce of peanuts to your salad in place of croutons. Dip celery in peanut butter instead of a cream cheese dip.

For a change, replace the usual spaghetti and meatballs with a Thai-inspired, wholewheat pasta dish with peanut butter sauce.

Spread some chunky peanut butter on a half of a banana for a sweet, balanced evening snack.

3. Quick Facts on Peanuts and Peanut Butter

Commercial peanut butter brands usually contain only one more gram of sugar per serving than natural peanut butter brands. Read Nutrient Fact Panels to compare.

Unsalted or lightly salted peanuts, are considered “low sodium,” since they contain less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving. Many peanut butter brands are also “low-sodium.”

Natural and commercial peanut butter brands offer similar nutrition profiles. The majority of fat is the heart-healthy unsaturated fat. They are low in saturated fat and both labels will list zero grams of trans fat.

Beyond heart-healthy fat, peanuts and peanut butter contain many important nutrients, including plant protein, fiber, folate, manganese, magnesium, vitamin E, copper, zinc, and iron.

Sample Nutrition Facts Panels

Nutrients in One Ounce of Dry-Roasted, Salted Peanuts
Calories: 165
Total Fat: 14 grams
Saturated fat: 2 grams
Trans fat: 0 grams
Polyunsaturated fat: 4 grams
Monounsaturated fat: 7 grams
Sodium: 230 millligrams
Total Carbohydrate: 6 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Sugars: 1 gram
Protein: 7 grams

Nutrients in Two Tablespoons of Creamy Peanut Butter
Calories: 190
Total Fat: 16 grams
Saturated fat: 3 grams
Trans fat: 0 grams
Polyunsaturated fat: 5 grams
Monounsaturated fat: 8 grams
Sodium: 160 milligrams
Total Carbohydrate: 6 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Sugars: 3 grams
Protein: 8 grams

The Peanut Institute is a non-profit organization that supports nutrition research and develops educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles.