When you’re feeling hungry mid-morning but have to barrel through your work, temptation may draw you to low-nutrient snacks in the office vending machine or at the nearby convenience store. Instead of reaching for unhealthy fare, try an apple with peanut butter, which can fill you up and keep you satiated until lunch. This snack provides vitamins, minerals, protein and good fats in one simple, healthful combination. Watch your portions if you’re counting calories.
A small raw apple with the skin left on supplies 77 calories, while a 2-tablespoon serving of smooth or chunky peanut butter contains 188 calories. The apple also supplies you with almost 4 grams of dietary fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer and benefits digestive health. A 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter adds to the fiber intake with almost 2 grams. In addition, peanut butter is a rich source of protein, with more than 8 grams in just 2 tablespoons. Like fiber, protein increases satiety, leaving you better able to carry out your tasks. If you’re concerned about the calories in peanut butter, reduce your serving to 1 tablespoon. Most nut butters provide similar calorie counts.
Although not as well known as citrus fruits for vitamin C content, a small apple gives you 7 grams of this essential nutrient. This equals 9 percent of the recommended daily allowance for women and 7 percent for men. Vitamin C helps boost immunity and builds and repairs tissues throughout the body. Two tablespoons of peanut butter are a good source of the B vitamin niacin, providing 29 percent of women’s daily needs and 25 percent of men’s. Niacin, or vitamin B-3, helps reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and also supports a healthy nervous system.
A snack of one small apple contains 108 milligrams of the mineral potassium, and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contributes an additional 208 milligrams. Potassium is an electrolyte that works in conjunction with sodium to balance fluid levels in your body. You need 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day, or roughly twice the amount of sodium recommended for daily intake. Eating an apple with peanut butter gives you 7 percent of that goal. This snack also supplies 19 percent of an adult’s RDA for phosphorus, a mineral that strengthens your bones and teeth.
An apple is virtually fat-free, supplying only a fourth of a gram in a small fruit. A 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter, on the other hand, increases your daily fat intake by 16 grams. However, only 3 grams of that fat is saturated, and the rest of the fats are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Unsaturated fats are considered healthy, and including them in your diet can improve blood cholesterol numbers, thereby helping to cut your risk of coronary artery disease.
- USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Apples, raw, with skin
- USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Peanut butter, smooth style, with salt
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Protein, Weight Management and Satiety
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber - Essential for a Healthy Diet
- The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book; Shari Lieberman, Ph.D., and Nancy Bruining, MPH
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fats - Know Which Types to Choose
Paula Martinac holds a Master of Science in health and nutrition education from Hawthorn University, with an emphasis on healthy aging, cancer prevention, weight control and stress management. She is Board Certified in holistic nutrition and a Certified Food and Spirit Practitioner, and has written extensively on nutrition for various websites.