Did you know that peanut butter can actually help you gain weight? On the other hand, if you are trying to cut weight, wait before you drop that jar in the bin! Interestingly, peanut butter can also help you lose weight!
Well, that should’ve sounded really confusing, right? As much as peanut butter is rich in healthy nutrients, it can also provide you with a high amount of calories that can help you put on mass- which is perfect for hardgainers trying to make considerable gains.
At the same time, the high levels of monounsaturated fat and low glycemic index of natural peanut butter helps those trying to lose weight.
In this article we will be focusing primarily on how peanut butter helps gain weight and how you can incorporate it into your diet to maintain a caloric surplus for weight gain.
Peanut Butter: Why, or Why Not?
Peanut butter is a popular spread used across the world, renowned for its very high nutritional value as well as for being incredibly tasty.
Now, of course the taste will vary from company to company, so will the texture, but in general, the taste of it is very nice (unless you’re not someone who enjoys the taste of peanuts).
Something that we would like to bring to your notice before we progress further into the article, although it is a bit of a no-brainer, peanut butter is NOT for you if you have any kind of allergies or restrictions related to the consumption of nuts.
DO NOT put yourself through reactions just because we are discussing and recommending the health and gaining benefits of peanut butter.
Weight Gain and Junk Food
Now, coming back to how peanut butter could help you gain weight. It is important to first understand the machinations of weight gain in general. How exactly do we gain weight? Well, to answer that effectively, we first need to have a clear distinction between what’s healthy and what’s not.
Yes, if you keep on gulping down junk food, like chips, soft drinks, and various fast foods like pizza, greasy burgers, fries, etc., you are bound to start piling up some weight. Even if weight gain is your goal, this is not ideal.
This weight you gain is unhealthy weight, which gets deposited as fat at unseemly places (like your belly). These foods are typically high in trans or saturated fats, refined sugar, and offer negligible nutrients.
When you are trying to gain weight, you should be focusing on overall weight gain, primarily in the form of muscle mass.
Being on a caloric surplus through healthy food and meeting your body’s growing nutritional demands for its development are the way to go.
Maximize Your Gains Through a Calorie Surplus Diet
Calorie dense food are the ones which offer a high calorific value because they generate a lot of energy upon metabolism.
Fats typically generate a huge amount of energy that helps your body to burn and store energy faster. Same goes for sugar or other forms of carbohydrates like glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc. Comparatively, protein energy takes a little longer.
In this context we would like to bring into the scene our dear old Peanut Butter, which is an extremely calorie dense food.
Just a 100 grams serving of peanut butter is capable of providing a whopping 590 calories of energy. Most of the energy generated from peanut butter is through fat, as peanut butter is very rich in fat- fortunately, the healthy kind. The calorie content of peanut butter is as follows:
- Total Fat Content: 16 grams
- Polyunsaturated Fat Content: 4 grams
- Monounsaturated Fat Content: 8 grams
- Saturated Fat Content: 3 grams
- Total Calorific Value: 191 calories
Since it is a plant-based rich butter made from blended roasted peanuts, peanut butter is packed with a good amount of protein, dietary fibre, high levels of vitamins, including vitamin E and vitamin B complex, and various other essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, etc.
Does Peanut Butter Make You Gain Weight?
Yes, peanut butter can indirectly help you gain weight by providing the essential calories you need to maintain a calorie surplus and gain healthy weight.
We know that 2 tablespoons of peanut butter can deliver you 16 grams of fat, which is technically 21% of the recommended daily fat requirement for a person, and 191 calories of energy.
Including peanut butter into your daily diet can help you remain on a calorie surplus and bulk up effectively. And because peanut butter is a very nutritious and healthy food, it can definitely be used to replace fatty junk foods and fast foods that contain all the saturated unhealthy fats, without compromising on the aspect of taste.
Given that this butter has a lot of the essential nutrients that our body requires, including dietary fiber, protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and essential minerals and vitamins, it can help you boost your health and immune system, alongside providing you with a surplus of energy.
How to Include Peanut Butter into Your Weight Gain Diet?
In order to effectively use peanut butter for the purpose of weight gain, you need to figure out how much excess calories you require to exceed your body’s calorie consumption and meet your weight gain goals.
Now, this depends on the metabolic rate your body manifests and the caloric content of the food that you usually consume to replenish for the lost energy. On the basis of that, you can calculate how much peanut butter you might require to get that extra boost of calories.
The best way to utilize peanut butter for the purpose of weight gain is to incorporate small amounts of it, distributed across meals all throughout the day.
This will also help you with maintaining a constant supply of energy without putting too much stress on your digestive system.
Meal Plans Incorporating Peanut Butter
Depending on the type of meal structure you follow, you can arrange your peanut butter consumption accordingly.
If you’re one of those people who are into the 6 meals a day plan, then you can easily include 1 tablespoon of peanut butter with each meal, like a dessert (it’s sweet and TASTY) to follow up your meals.
Here is a sample meal plan incorporating peanut butter that you can refer to:
You can totally utilize your breakfast for delivering that starting punch of calorie rich food that will keep providing you with energy throughout the day.
Have peanut butter on a toast, in a sandwich, or else mix it up in an oatmeal or cereal bowl to enhance the taste as well as for its additional benefits.
If you are a gym buff, you know that protein shakes are well worth the hype they get, when it comes to aiding muscle building and development.
Adding a tablespoon of peanut butter to your daily protein shakes will help you further enhance your calorie and nutrition consumption, while also providing you a boost of energy before, during, or after workouts.
Lunch and Dinner
Add depth to the flavour of your salads or gravies with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a little bit of soy sauce, and you’ll be surprised at how amazing it tastes.
Snacks Between Meals
Make yourself a milkshake with whole milk, bananas, and peanut butter as a snack between meals if you get hunger pangs. This is an extremely filling and calorie heavy snack that is perfect for those trying to gain weight.
A word of advice- don’t have this if you know you have a heavy meal approaching in a couple hours because this is going to keep you full for a while.
You can also snack on high calorie fruits or baked pita chips and use peanut butter as a dip!
All in all, you need to strategically plan your diet and spread out your consumption of peanut butter in your regular diet, and let this powerful ingredient work its magic.
Creative Ways to Use Peanut Butter for Weight Gain Purposes
While it is convenient to scoop out spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar, this can get boring after a point. I’m sure you are looking for creative ways to include peanut butter into your everyday diet to maintain some variety and avoid monotony.
Here are some interesting and tasty ways that you can incorporate peanut butter into your daily meals:
1. Peanut Butter Sauce
This is a very tasty and tangy version of peanut butter for weight gain, which is a good alternative for people who don’t like the traditional taste of peanut butter.
This sauce goes really well with rice, rolls, noodles and many other enticing food options. It can also be used to dress salads and as dips for fries and chips (try to go for baked options over fried ones).
And the best bit, apart from its versatility, is how easy and convenient making the peanut butter sauce is.
All you need to do is put ¼ cup peanut butter in a blender with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, 1 or 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (as per your taste), a little bit of chilli garlic sauce for that tangy hot taste (you can also use chilli flakes and garlic powder), lemon juice to enhance the tangy twist, and of course a little bit of water to get the proper saucy texture.
Blend the ingredients thoroughly, and add water if required to loosen up the consistency. And voila, your sauce is ready!
Store the peanut butter sauce properly in an air-tight jar, and consume as desired.
2. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Truffles
All you will need to make this is ½ cup peanut butter, 1 cup chocolate (ideally dark chocolate), and the required amount of powdered sugar as per your taste.
You have to mix the peanut butter with sugar to get it to be more creamy. Now, melt the chocolate and pour half of it on the paper liners placed in molds.
Then, pour the peanut butter mixture and cover it up again with chocolate. The truffles would need 4-5 hours of proper freezing, and there you go- your yummy peanut butter and chocolate truffles are ready to be devoured.
Here’s a warning, these insanely good truffles can leave you craving for more, but it is advisable to eat one piece at one time as it is a little high on sugar.
3. Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Another insanely tasty and healthy alternative for a full-blown dessert is the peanut butter ice cream that can be prepared right at home without much fuss.
Take 1 cup of chopped strawberries and bananas. Add cocoa powder and ½ tablespoon of vanilla extract to it. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Now blend it all well until the mixture turns smooth and silky.
Pour the blend into a bowl, and freeze it for 3 hours.
Grab some ice cream cones, readily available in the supermarkets, and take scoops of your homemade peanut butter ice cream and enjoy. You can even garnish it with some chocolate syrup or sprinkles on a cheat day if you want to!
4. Peanut Butter Smoothie
If you are a fan of smoothies, well, here’s another way to use peanut butter for weight gain. Not only is it going to be very tasty, but it is healthy and you can have it any time of the day you like when you’re feeling the hunger pangs.
Have the peanut butter smoothie with breakfast, consume it after an intense workout to regain energy, or have it like a regular dessert after meals- it’s all up to you.
How do you make this versatile and appetizing peanut butter smoothie? It’s very simple.
All you would need is some chocolate shavings, a cup of yoghurt, 2 cups of peanut butter, and 1 cup of whole milk. Blend these well till they are at a smoothie-like consistency.
No added sugar, no extra hassle, just a big cup of healthy and tasty smoothie that will serve you at least thrice a day. Keep it chilled for a better experience.
5. Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwich
One of the most common and easiest food you can make using peanut butter is a peanut butter sandwich.
It might be super easy to make but the health benefits from this is immense, especially if you are trying to gain weight in the process.
Spread the peanut butter on one side of a slice of whole grain bread (for health benefits) and line up sliced banana pieces neatly. Cover it up with another slice of bread.
You can slightly toast the bread if you like it better that way. And there you have it, a calorie dense breakfast is ready to be served.
The amount of energy that you get from these sandwiches is very high, and of course they taste good.
Is peanut butter good for weight gain? It definitively is. If you are trying to put on some weight, you can have peanut butter with your regular healthy diet and add up calories in the most healthy way possible.
For 2-3 meals of your day, just add a tablespoon of peanut butter with your diet, and it is good enough to add up to your daily calorie consumption goals. This excess calorie will help you make significant gains in your body mass.
Thus, based on your weight goals, peanut butter is a versatile ingredient that can yield impressive results to help you both gain and lose weight effectively.
Just be cautious against using store-bought peanut butter as it may contain added sugar and preservatives which you are best off avoiding. It is really easy to make peanut butter at home, and I would highly recommend you do so.
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Rohan Arora is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and has been actively involved in sports and fitness for over 8 years. He now leads the team of fitness specialists and personal trainers who help people around the world with personalized workout and nutrition plans, along with providing the right information on sports supplements.