I’ve shared a few of my patented smoothie concoctions with you in the past, but I think my current obsession is one for the record books. I’ll have this smoothie for breakfast, of course, but it also makes for a pretty tasty dessert—with way fewer calories than a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
Friends, I would like to introduce to you the peanut butter-banana almond milk smoothie. The photo above is from my drink this morning, which I'm sipping as I write this. Sure, it looks like pea soup, but you can't judge book by its cover. The greenish tint comes from the vitamin-loaded kale that's in there, so it's all in the name of nutrition.
Now let's talk about the peanut butter. Peanut butter is one of those things that is either The Most Nutritious Food on God's Green Earth or The Dieter's Death Trap, depending on whom you ask. Here's the thing: If you look at the nutrition label, traditional peanut butter does pack quite the caloric wallop: 190 calories in two tablespoons. It also contains 16 grams of fat, three of which are saturated.
But here's the thing: Peanuts and peanut butter (I would recommend sticking with natural brands) fall into the same camp as olive oil and avocados, according to most experts and a slew of scientific studies. It's high in fat, sure, but it contains the good fat kind of fat—monounsaturated—along with fiber, protein, potassium, magnesium and more.
That said, if calories are a concern for you, I have a suggestion. Actually, to give credit where credit is due, the suggestion comes from a reader (Hi, Dalia!), who a few weeks ago told me about a product called PB2, a powdered peanut butter that has 85 percent fewer calories and fat than regular peanut butter. It's contains just three ingredients—peanuts, sugar and salt—and no artificial sweeteners and is preservative- and GMO-free. The stuff is made by squeezing the oils out of peanuts and dehydrating the leftovers. It reconstitutes to a peanut butter-like consistency when you mix it with liquid (though, it's a bit thin to be used in something like a PB and Sriracha sandwich).
While you lose most of the fat—both the saturated and unsaturated kinds—and a couple grams of the protein, you save a boatload of calories: There are just 45 calories in two tablespoons of PB2, a fraction of the cals in the spreadable stuff.
So it's your choice. I'm not one to count calories, so I'll probably stick with my creamy peanut butter. But in the name of science, I tried the smoothie with PB2 today and it tastes exactly the same. (I got a jar of it for about $5 at Target.) To each his own, I say.
Here's how to make it, along with the nutrition facts for both the natural peanut butter and PB2 versions.
Peanut Butter-Banana Almond Milk Smoothie
Makes one large (16-ounce-ish) serving
1 very ripe banana, frozen (*If you only have unfrozen bananas, add 2-3 ice cubes to the smoothie.)
1/2 cup rolled oats
Handful (about 1 cup) kale
1 tsp. cinnamon
1½ tbsp. peanut butter or PB2
1½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1. Place all the ingredients, in order listed above, in a blender, and blend until smooth, at least one minute. Serve in a Ball jar for most adorable results.
Per smoothie (with spreadable natural peanut butter): 501 calories, 19.2 fat grams (including 2.8 grams saturated fat), 363 milligrams sodium, 1,134 milligrams potassium, 72 grams carbs, 12.8 grams fiber, 18.2 grams sugar, 15.4 grams protein.
Per smoothie (with PB2): 393 calories, 8.3 fat grams, 373 milligrams sodium, 1,134 milligrams potassium, 70.2 grams carbs, 12.8 grams fiber, 17 grams sugar, 13 grams protein.
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