Sally South and Rich enjoy some sushi
How many people get to go out for sushi with their nutritionist? As nutritionists go, Sally South is awesome.

Each month, I meet with my nutritionist – Sally South of Cornerstone Health Coaching Group – for lunch. It’s a little like having your teacher looking over your shoulder while taking a test. But, with Sally, it’s actually quite enjoyable. She doesn’t beat me over the head with dietary righteousness – for the most part.

I say “for the most part” because we’re having a slight debate about something where her expertise should easily win the day. It’s not so much that I’m trying to tell her she’s wrong as I just don’t quite get it. In any case, here it is; I’d love to hear what you think, especially if you take my side.

The question pertains to peanut butter. As I’ve tried to follow her lead by eating better, I’ve sought things I enjoy eating that are also relatively good for me. One such dietary improvement that I enjoy frequently is to cut up an apple and spread a little peanut butter on each piece.

I proudly told Sally about this fully expecting that she would express her admiration in my choice of a healthy snack alternative. Instead, she asked a probing question: “How much peanut butter do you eat?”

My reply was about as clear as should be expected: “I don’t know, I put a few tablespoons of the peanut butter in a bowl and spread some on each piece of apple.” When I answered is when the trouble started.

“Do you know how much peanut butter is a serving?” she asked.

I looked at her with a blank stare that clearly said, “I don’t know?” and “why does it matter?”

Apparently, she feels that it matters quite a bit. She laughed and suggested I check the jar of peanut butter to see. I forgot to do so and, the next time we met, when she asked the question again, and I gave her the same blank stare, she decided to provide the answer. It turns out that it’s not half of a cup or so of peanut butter I was eating with each apple.

I’ve forgotten what she said – I don’t know if she said a teaspoon or a tablespoon – so I’ve looked it up on the internet, which we all know is terribly reliable. According to what I’ve found there, a serving is either two tablespoons or about as much as you could stuff in a ping-pong ball.

I’ve never considered stuffing peanut butter inside a ping-pong ball but I do like peanut butter. The point of my disagreement with Sally is this – a serving compared to what? In other words, if I’m having dinner and, along with the dinner, the steak and potatoes, for instance, I also have a ‘serving’ of peanut butter, then that seems to make sense. But, if I’m having it as a snack, does it matter if I’m having a ‘large’ serving?

I’m not sure of the answer but I am sure of this – as ‘healthy snacks’ go, I think peanut butter is a great choice. I have tried to use a little less peanut butter with my apples but, based on a serving size, I don’t see how you could adequately spread peanut butter on a slice of bread. Of course, I don’t have to worry too much about that; the bread is not a healthy part of my diet anyhow.

Peanut butter, smeenut butter – what’s in a serving?

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