Friday, April 17, 2009

In a nutshell

Forget what everyone else says. I think nuts are a girl’s best friend. They can be packed in tiny containers and sit pretty inside the tiniest handbags, but when you need your nutrition fix, they are totally dependable. High in fibre, low on glycemic index and conservative on calories, they can provide the goodies without the ill-effects or the agony. Ask me. I have gone through most of my pregnancy armed with these potent energy sources— almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds— practically any nut or seed that can be eaten.

But there was still a void for that one life-giving energy snack when one felt a sugar low, and didn’t particularly want to work too hard to satiate it. Fruit did the job, but sometimes involved arduous processes like cleaning or slicing, unless you were eating a banana. Nariyalpaniwalas seem to have attained cult status and are not easy to come by. Junk is out, and so are processed juices or instant snacks. Granola bars are still contentious for their glycemic index. Enter the peanut butter.

I must admit, it was well into my adolescence that peanut butter came into my life, when dad would get prized, ‘imported’ bottles full of the stuff that seemed as precious as a rare whisky, as it was hard to come by, and had to be bought from bootleggers.

‘Have it with anything’ is an understatement…. I have spooned out and consumed straight from the jar, added it to porridge, used it as a bread spread, layered it on cake, added it to milkshakes, and of course made the most fulfilling sandwiches with it. A lot of my trekking memories are about how peanut butter saved my life.

Okay, it is rich in dietary fibres, and two teaspoons of peanut butter has as much protein as 225 ml of milk. Also research has also proven that peanuts and peanut butter eaters have leaner bodies. And, it has been prescribed to fight protein deficiency and malnutrition.

That’s enough trivia to convince me at least. But I think the best part is the ease of use. No thawing, no defrosting or any such complications. Just open the jar and scoop out a dollop without feeling sinful or any such thing.

Planter’s Creamy Peanut butter and American foods were once upon a time our only peanut butter sources. Till Funfoods came along and more recently, Sundrop launched its peanut butter. Finally, you can have your peanut butter and eat it too. Or drink, if that’s the way you prefer it.

The next time someone pities you for being a vegetarian and wonders aloud where your protein would come from, tell them in defiance, “Mere paas peanut butter hai!”



High energy milkshake

Muesli

One tablespoon peanut butter

Fruit of your choice (bananas and papayas work best)

Milk

Ice cubes



Method:

In a blender, add a tablespoon of muesli (even a granola bar would work), a dollop of peanut butter, chopped fruit, milk and ice cubes and give it a whisk.

Serve chilled.



Peanut Porridge

Oatmeal

Peanut butter

Milk



Method:

To three heaped teaspoons of oatmeal in a bowl, add enough water to cover the oats.

Microwave for 30 seconds. Mix a dollop of peanut butter into the oats, and add milk as required.

Your high energy, high calcium breakfast is ready

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