Peanuts: The Guilt-Free Food

There are a lot of things that can bring stress to our day-to-day lives, from work, to world events, to spilling coffee on your favorite shirt before a big meeting (again). And sometimes, we just need a moment to ourselves to recover and recharge. Preferably with a snack.

So whether you want to give yourself a break, enjoy a reward, or relieve stress, when you treat yourself, you should always make sure you’re treating yourself right. Because with the right foods, you can actually help boost your body’s response to stress, AND save room in your budget for more treats ahead.

And one food that checks every one of those boxes?

The simple superfood known as peanuts.

So while we explain some of the more nutritious points of peanuts, we’ll help give your eyes a break with some of our favorite (free) recipes to enjoy for yourself!

But for an appetizer, here’s a little dessert: Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars.

Feel Good without the Guilt

We can’t always control when we need a break, but we can control what we do with them. Peanuts are a guilt-free snack that’s a cost-effective alternative to empty calorie treats, so you can refocus and recharge without any regret.

Why Peanuts are a Guilt-Free Snack

1. Unbelievable Nutrition, Unbeatable Price

Finding foods that support your nutrition without breaking your budget can sometimes be a challenge — but peanuts provide 19 vitamins and minerals, 7g of protein, heart healthy fats and fiber, all for about 18 cents per serving.

Which is delicious news for you, and your budget.

What makes peanuts a guilt-free food? Here are just some of the highlights:

  • Niacin – In addition to supporting your digestive system, skin and nerve function, dietary niacin protects against Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.1 Peanuts provide 25% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA).
  • Vitamin E – An antioxidant that supports immune function, vitamin E is considered a ‘hard-to-get’ nutrient for men and women.2 Thankfully, peanuts are a good source of vitamin E.
  • Magnesium – Supports our heart rhythm, immune system, blood pressure, bones, and even blood sugar. Magnesium intake is also associated with reduced inflammation, a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.3,4 Peanuts are a ‘good source’ with 12% of your RDA per serving.

2. Bounce Back with Better Nutrition

Taking a snack break with peanuts doesn’t just support your body, it can also support a healthy mind!

  • p-coumaric acid – An antioxidant in peanuts, it can help reduce stress, anxiety5 and depression — all while improving memory function.6
  • Resveratrol – Another antioxidant, it helps increase blood flow to the brain.7

But if you want something a little more immediate to improve your mood, we recommend this deliciously creamy (yet dairy-free and guilt-free) banana-based Nice Cream.

It’s really so good, it’s bananas. Pun intended.

3. Up Your Energy

It’s ok to enjoy sweets in moderation, but the right ingredients can make all the difference. Peanuts are an energy-dense food8 that can help prevent “sugar crashes,” which makes them a great choice for dessert recipes.

4. Indulge without the Bulge

If you think keeping trim will keep you from enjoying your snack, think again! Approximately 15-18% of calories from peanuts and peanut products aren’t absorbed by the body.9,10

And if you’re looking for a pick-me-up that provides energy with just a dash of sweetness, look no further than our No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Balls.

No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Ball Recipe

For more recipes, healthy tips, research and more, be sure to follow the Peanut Institute on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest!

Or, check out our recipe section for more ideas, including celiac and diabetes-friendly cookbooks.


1. Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL, Scherr PA, Tangney CC, Hebert LE, Bennett DA, Wilson RS, Aggarwal N. Dietary niacin and the risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease and of cognitive decline. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 Aug;75(8):1093-9. PubMed PMID: 15258207; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1739176.

2. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020.

3. Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A. Dietary magnesium intake and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Feb;95(2):362-6. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.022376. Epub 2011 Dec 28. PubMed PMID: 22205313.

4. Larsson SC, Wolk A. Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. J Intern Med. 2007 Aug;262(2):208-14. Review. PubMed PMID: 17645588.

5. Scheepens A, Bisson JF, Skinner M. p-Coumaric acid activates the GABA-A receptor in vitro and is orally anxiolytic in vivo. Phytother Res. 2014 Feb;28(2):207-11. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4968. Epub 2013 Mar 26. PMID: 23533066.

6. Isabella Parilli-Moser, Inés Domínguez-López, Marta Trius-Soler, Magda Castellví, Beatriz Bosch, Sara Castro-Barquero, Ramón Estruch, Sara Hurtado-Barroso, Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós. Consumption of peanut products improves memory and stress response in healthy adults from the ARISTOTLE study: A 6-month randomized controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition. 2021 Sept;40(11). DOI:

7. Alper CM, Mattes RD. Effects of chronic peanut consumption on energy balance and hedonics. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Aug;26(8):1129-37. PubMed PMID: 12119580.

8. Arya SS, Salve AR, Chauhan S. Peanuts as functional food: a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2016 Jan;53(1):31-41. doi: 10.1007/s13197-015-2007-9. Epub 2015 Sep 19. Review. PubMed PMID: 26787930; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4711439.

9. Mattes, et al. Peanut digestion and energy balance. International Journal of Obesity. 2008;32:322–328.

10. Levine, Silvis. Absorption of whole peanuts, peanut oil, and peanut butter. NEJM. 1980;303(16):917-8.