1. Everyone’s favorite childhood food can play an important role in an adult diet. Besides boasting a healthy dose of protein, peanut butter is extremely rich in monounsaturated fats, the healthy variety that can prevent heart disease and is less likely to be stored as body fat.

2. Two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter contain 188 calories, 8 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs and 16 grams of fat.

3. The classic PB&J is off-limits except during mass-gain periods (or cheat days) because combining fat and carbs isn’t ideal. It’s best to eat peanut butter with low-carb foods. Try another childhood favorite, ants on a log: Spread peanut butter on a celery stalk and sprinkle with a few raisins.

4. Don’t even consider buying light or low-fat peanut butter. When manufacturers eliminate the fat, they almost always replace it with more sugar. Do buy natural or organic peanut butter. Many non-organic varieties contain hydrogenated oils (a source of dangerous trans fats) to keep the product from separating.

5. Put peanut butter’s good fats to use by eating it with protein before bed to further slow digestion and keep muscle breakdown at bay. We suggest pairing it with 1 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt and topping it with 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds, a great source of polyunsaturated fats.

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