Peanut Butter Before Bed - Good or Bad?

Sometimes you are simply hungry and need a snack before sleep. Other times a small bite to eat satisfies your stomach and your mind, which helps you sleep better. In either case, if you eat healthy throughout the day, a snack before bed won’t cause weight gain or other unhealthy side effects. Then is peanut butter a good choice?

Can You Eat Peanut Butter Before Bed?

Contrary to common beliefs, it is okay to eat peanut butter before sleep. Actually, peanuts are full of niacin, which is a vitamin that stimulates your body to release the hormone serotonin. Serotonin is the thing that tells your body it is time to sleep. Peanut butter is light enough to get you through the night without adding inches to your hips, but is hearty enough to curb your hunger.

Another thing to remember is when you go to bed hungry, you may have a hard time falling asleep. If your tummy decides to complain and rumble, it can actually wake you up after you’ve started to snooze. Think about this. When your body is hungry, it is because it needs food for energy. It will start to eat away your lean muscle mass until you feed it again, so give it what it needs so you wake up energized. 

Peanut Butter with Spoon

What If I'm Trying to Lose Weight? 

Several nutritionists and fitness experts advise you to refrain from eating peanut butter before bed if you are trying to lose weight. However, because it contains good fat and fiber, it can be a great addition to your diet. In all actuality, it can help you control your appetite because it satisfies both your taste buds and your hunger for hours at a time.

Did you know that peanut butter can help you lose weight? Why? Because it contains monounsaturated fat, fiber and protein. These elements help to satisfy junk food cravings, deter sugar crashes and have enough bulk to keep you full longer. While it does not burn fat directly, it does boost your metabolism which burns calories. When your body works off calories, you lose weight. 

Ways to Enjoy Peanut Butter

Peanut butter before bed is a great snack but before doing so, consider how much and in what way you should eat it. The thing to remember about this delicious spread is to eat it in moderation. It is an energy-dense food, so it contains nearly 190 calories in a mere 2-tablespoon serving. However, if you enjoy it in a controlled manner, you will not hurt your weight loss efforts.

Since peanut butter carries such a wallop in such a small amount, it is rarely eaten alone. Consider combining it or just plan peanuts with other healthy ingredients to make a hearty snack. Some nosh ideas include:

  • Peanut butter spread on whole grain bread
  • Dip celery stalks in peanut butter
  • Dried fruit and roasted peanuts mixture
  • Peanut butter on apple slices
  • Spread peanut butter on a tortilla, rice cake, English muffin or crackers
  • Mix peanuts with air-popped popcorn
  • A serving of roasted peanuts
  • Spread peanut butter on a banana slices

This nutty spread is so versatile, the possibilities are unlimited. As long as you track your consumption, you will be able to enjoy peanut butter before bed and still lose weight. 

Nutrition and Benefits of Eating Peanut Butter

1.   Protein

Peanut butter has 7 grams of protein in a single 2-tablespoon serving. Protein rich foods provide your body with amino acids, which help repair and build muscle. Protein also makes your body feel full for a longer period of time. 

2.   Healthy Fats

The healthy fats in peanut butter carry the same benefits as those in olive oil. There is nearly 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat and over 7 grams of monounsaturated fat in one serving. These fats have been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

3.   Potassium

A 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter with added salt has twice the potassium as sodium. Potassium has been proven to be beneficial to your heart and nerve health. Even though it is often found with sodium, it counteracts against it and protects your cardiovascular system.

4.   Fiber

There are 2 grams of fiber in a single serving of peanut butter. Fiber is key in keeping your appetite under control as it makes you feel full. It also helps your digestive tract, lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes, and decreases your chance of heart disease and obesity.

5.   Manganese

Manganese is a mineral that works like an antioxidant in your body. It helps your body fight toxins, assists in protecting your cells and aids in breaking nutrients down for easier absorption into your system. It is also great for your bone health. One serving of peanut butter gives you one-third of your daily recommend consumption of manganese (magnesium).

6.   Niacin

Niacin is also known as vitamin B-3. This nutrient is essential for healthy cell development and growth. It supports your metabolism and assists with transforming other nutrients into energy for your body. It even promotes the release of serotonin, which regulates your sleep. One 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter has 30 percent of your recommended daily consumption of niacin.

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