Whenever I am on a hike, I like to carry along a meal or a snack to keep me going. I notice that my fellow hikers do the same, and most of them are making room in their backpacks for some form of peanut butter.
While I love peanut butter as much as the next person, seeing so much of the gooey snack on the trail made me wonder why hikers eat so much peanut butter. Is peanut butter a wonder food? Read on to find out!
Peanut butter is rich in two very important essentials to a hiker, which are fiber and protein. Just two tablespoons, which is the recommended single serving size, provides 7.7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
Fiber and protein give your stomach something to do and make you feel full longer as well as provide energy to sustain you on a long hike. As far as nutrients go, you cannot find a better combination than that.
Fat vs. Nutrients
You may worry that peanut butter is high in fat, but it actually contains high amounts of mono and polyunsaturated fats and oils, which are good for you. The fat content in peanut butter does make it high in calories, but the good outweighs the bad here.
In addition to our friends fiber and protein, a serving of peanut butter is crammed with vitamins like B3, B6 and E. Not only that, minerals such as potassium, selenium, zinc and magnesium are found in decent amounts in a serving of peanut butter. All of these play an important part of producing energy in the body and metabolizing fat.
Speaking of calories, when hiking you are going through your body’s store of energy pretty fast. Hikers know that a serving of peanut butter provides 190 calories and 16 grams of fat, which makes it a concentrated source of energy.
Face it; you do not want to carry a bunch of food with you or the means to make a whole meal. Peanut butter is more portable than many sources of energy, and it provides more nutritional benefits.
Choosing the right peanut butter involves label reading, as you may have guessed. Many commercial peanut butters have high contents of sugar and sodium that cancel out all the health benefits. Order organic, natural or freshly ground peanut butter from your local health food store, grocery store or from Amazon, such as Classic Gluten Free Peanut Butter by Justin's | $9.91. Some brands even offer single-serve options, which are super handy for hiking trips.
If you cannot find single serve peanut butter, try packing it in a plastic bag and then placing it into a storage container. When hiking, snip off the corner of the bag and squeeze your serving of peanut butter into oatmeal, onto noodles or in your hot cocoa. Just squeeze and go for a nutrition packed pick-me-up.
Well, there you have it, the benefits of peanut butter on the trail. This convenient, portable powerhouse of nutrition can stave off hunger while replenishing vitamins and minerals hikers lose during a long trek.