Yes, it is true, peanut butter is good for runners. In fact, it is great for runners, and has come to be seen as a cornerstone fuel. Need more proof? Just ask a group of runners how important peanut butter is to them! Here’s the 3 main benefits of peanut butter for runners:
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3 Benefits of Peanut Butter for Runners
Peanut butter is:
- Highly nutritious – proportionally packed with beneficial nutrients
- Versatile – pairs well with anytime of the day
- Affordable – keep it simple and cheap!
Why Peanut Butter is the Ideal Fuel for Runners
Running performance has a direct correlation to how runners fuel. When you are first starting out with a running regimen, you might be tempted to think that improvement and stamina come from more training. However, the pros will tell you that improving your running performance and stamina is not just dependent on how often you train, or how long you run, it is also directly related to what a runner chooses to eat. It comes down to choosing the right fuel for the tank. Peanut butter checks all the right boxes:
- Beneficial fats
- Good Carbohydrates
- Folic Acid
- Low in sugar
- Easily and slowly digestible
The nutrients and composition of peanut butter itself is exactly what the body needs for the type of physical activity that running demands. Peanut butter is full of beneficial unsaturated fats, which is excellent news for your heart (an important muscle used in running). Peanut butter produces a high energy output due to the good carbs and proteins it contains, which assist with muscle growth and recovery. It also contains fiber, niacin, and folic acid, additional nutrients to help you power through your run and give you energy. Additionally, peanut butter is low in sugar, easily and slowly digestible (which makes you feel full longer), and able to be eaten in a natural way without a ton of unnecessary additives – peanut butter is the perfect vessel for runners.
Peanut butter is also an extremely versatile food, which is super convenient for runners. It can be easily and quickly prepared and eaten, at any time of the day. Peanut butter can be eaten alone, or can perfectly pair with other ingredients. The ideas for including peanut butter in your daily food consumption are endless, and can be included in breakfast, lunch, and dinners.
Peanut butter is affordable. Because let’s face it, running gear and running vacations are expensive! Who needs to spend extra on running fuel, when a simple jar of peanut butter can be the answer!
Background on Peanut Butter
Peanut butter comes from a humble background, yet it is revered in running culture as a super fuel. From this humble background comes a multi-dimensional and multi-faceted food that you will find on the menu of all seasoned long distance runners. This is why everyone from running coaches, professional athletes, and dieticians recommend peanut butter for runners.
What Exactly is Peanut Butter?
So what actually makes up peanut butter? Peanuts, obviously! But there is an actual science to what constitutes peanut butter. Contrary to the name, there is no butter in peanut butter, but there is a certain percentage of peanuts.
The FDA actually requires peanut butter to contain at least 90% peanuts. The other 10% may contain sugar, salt, and oil.
Ever wonder what that oil is doing at the top of your peanut butter jar? That is just the peanut oil found in more natural brands, so no need to worry! Just stir it up to make it spreadable before eating. If you don’t want to mess with stirring, there are plenty of brands that use hydrogenated oil to prevent separation.
What are the Different Kinds of Peanut Butter for Runners?
In today’s market, there are tons of varieties of peanut butter. There are plenty of big name brands that you have seen on the shelves for decades, and then there are plenty of newer, spiffier, peanut butter options. However, there are 3 main categories of peanut butter:
- Natural or Organic
Within these broad categories you can narrow down your options to include peanut butters with no oil or sugar added, homemade peanut butters, flavored peanut butters, and even powdered peanut butters!
Some of the seasoned players in the peanut butter field will use hydrogenated oils in their peanut butter. This is to prevent the oil from separating from the peanut butter, which means no stirring required.
Natural peanut butter brands will contain some separation of the peanut butter from the more natural peanut oils, so stirring is required. The choice is yours!
Why Choose Peanut Butter for Runners
So why is peanut butter such a go to for runners, from newbies to pros? Remember the 3 main reasons that peanut butter is the ideal super fuel for runners: it is nutritious, versatile, and affordable.
There are a lot of different ways to fuel for running. Believe me, runners spend a lot of money on their fuels. Runners love to talk with other runners about what works for them, sort of like insider trading! What runners eat before their runs is an extremely common topic of conversation in running groups.
It can be easy to find yourself going down a never ending rabbit hole chasing fancy, complicated, and over hyped fuels. But sometimes you need to know when to keep it simple! Why not choose a fuel that is simple, straightforward, nutritionally complete and well-rounded, and naturally contains all the components of a high energy and healthy food? The answer is peanut butter for runners!
There aren’t many food items or snacks that have as big a payoff in versatility! Peanut butter is one of the most versatile foods a runner can have in their inventory. You can grab a spoonful of peanut butter for a quick shot of energy. You can pair peanut butter with breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods. You can pair peanut butter with other highly beneficial food items for runners, like toast, oatmeal, and bananas! Peanut butter is compact, easy to pack, varietal, and easy to travel with.
Check out some of the ways you can purchase peanut butter below:
- the creamy classic – Skippy creamy peanut butter
- the crunchy classic – Skippy extra crunchy peanut butter
- the natural – Skippy creamy natural peanut butter
- the no sugar – Skippy no sugar added peanut butter
- the new kid – Powdered peanut butter
- the decadent – Reese’s peanut butter sauce
- the salty – Salted caramel peanut butter
- the sweet – Honey peanut butter
- the squeezable – Skippy squeeze peanut butter packets (PERFECT for running, race day morning, traveling, hiking, etc! Whenever you need a lightweight, packable, on the go peanut butter option!)
Don’t be a runner that spends unnecessary dollars on fueling their runs! Opt for peanut butter, the simple and affordable answer! Save your dollars for that new pair of trail running shoes or that nifty hydration running vest!
When Should Runners Eat Peanut Butter?
Whenever! There is no wrong time to include peanut butter on the menu. Need more proof? Check out all the ways that peanut butter fits in with your regular meals:
- Peanut butter and oatmeal
- Peanut butter and toast / English muffin / bagel
- Peanut butter in a smoothie
- Peanut butter and pancakes or waffles
- Gotta go with the classic – peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!
- Peanut butter (in a creamy sauce form) can be the perfect compliment to pasta dishes and chicken!
- Check out this super quick and easy peanut butter chicken recipe (combining 2 proteins perfect for runners)
- And this simple yet tasty peanut butter noodles recipe (again, combining two foods ideal for fueling your runs)
- Peanut butter and apples
- Peanut butter and bananas
- Peanut butter and crackers
- Peanut butter and honey
- Peanut butter and carrots
- Peanut butter cookies
One of my favorites – peanut butter, cinnamon, and apple oatmeal!
How Else Can I Make Peanut Butter a Part of My Active Lifestyle?
The great thing about peanut butter, is that it is not only great for runners, but for anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle. Just ask the hikers and bikers out there. Or anyone who is cross training for an event.
A long distance hiker will likely have peanut butter somehow included in their backpack. Peanut butter is a staple food for me personally, both before all my hikes, and during my longer distances, like when I hiked 24 miles roundtrip at the Grand Canyon’s Rim to Rim hike, or the 21 mile hike to the highest point in the lower 48 states at Mt. Whitney! A biker will also likely be fueling with peanut butter before taking on those 100 mile century runs. Another way that peanut butter proves it is versatile! You will find peanut butter being used as fuel for any type of active pursuits!
So don’t wait – grab yourself a jar of peanut butter and start pursuing those running goals!
Besides Peanut Butter, What Else Do You Need to Pursue Your Running Goals?
In addition to the right fuel, you also need the right plan! Your plan needs to be organized and intentional, and the best way to do that is to check out my collection of handy running printables, training calendars, ebooks, and checklists here!
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