Certain foods just go better together. Sometimes it’s because the flavor combo is irresistible, like peanut butter and chocolate, and sometimes it’s because the nutritional profile of each food complements the other and makes the final dish even more nutritious.
The truth is that there are no foods that are “perfect,” providing all of the nutrients that we need for the best health, so our diet should include a lot of variety. That said, there’s no reason not to make the most of delicious couplings that are also nutrient-rich. These aren’t magical combinations, just real examples of how you can pair nutritious foods together to get the most out of them. Here are a five combinations that will help you get the most bang for your buck:
Peanut Butter + Whole Wheat Bread = Complete Protein
Peanut butter and whole wheat bread are nutritious foods all by themselves. Peanut butter provides protein, heart-healthy mostly good fats, and are a good source of micronutrients including vitamin E, folate and niacin. Whole wheat bread provides 8% of your daily value of fiber and contains the nutrients needed to make this sandwich a complete protein. For more on complementary proteins, visit Bastyr University’s helpful page here.
Make your own homemade peanut butter with this recipe!
Yogurt + Bananas = Digestive Wellness
Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria that may help improve digestive health. Yogurt contains probiotics. Bananas contain resistant starches that are prebiotics, essentially food for those good bacteria. According to the Mayo Clinic, eating these foods has the potential to lead to a happier tummy!
It’s as easy as just chopping up bananas and mix them right into your plain yogurt.
Peanuts + Pasta = Increases Satiety
Plain pasta may not provide long-term satiety, but add some peanuts and you also add stick-to-it-iveness. The fat, fiber and protein in peanuts may be the reasons that peanuts offer a more satisfying bite. For more on peanuts and satiety, visit our page on how peanuts Fights Hunger with Powerful Nutrition.
How about this awesome Confetti Peanut-Ginger Party Pasta from Let’s Move? Kid-friendly too!
Strawberries + Spinach Salad = Bumps Up Iron Absorption from the Greens
Iron is an important nutrient that helps carry oxygen through the blood to all of the muscles in the body. Spinach is a good source of iron, but the iron in vegetables is not as bioavailable as the iron in animal foods. Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C. The CDC advises eating vitamin C to help “unlock” vegetable sources of iron to make them easier for your body to use.
Try this Spinach Salad with Peanut Dressing.
Oatmeal + Peanuts = Heart Health
Oatmeal contains soluble fibers that may help reduce risk for heart disease, according to the FDA’s health claim guidance. Peanuts also qualify for a heart health claim*. Put them together and you have a powerful punch against cardiovascular disease.
This delicious recipe for Peanut Butter Apple Spice Oats is even better with chopped peanuts sprinkled on top!
*Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz per day of most nuts, including peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.