Peanut Butter for Runners: 3 Benefits and Recommendations

Reviewed by: Olexandr Maximenko (Sports Nutritionist, MSc)

Are you a runner looking for an energy boost? Try peanut butter for runners! Many athletes turn to peanut butter, as it’s loaded with healthy fats, protein, and other essential vitamins and minerals. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of running on peanut butter and provide recommendations for foods and types of peanut butter that are best suited for running activities.

Let’s take a closer look at how adding some delicious peanut butter into your diet can help you power through workouts!

Does peanut butter give you energy for Running?

Yes! It can provide sustained energy and aid in muscle recovery. Look for all-natural brands to avoid added sugars or unhealthy oils, which could contribute to weight gain or other health problems. Choose creamy over crunchy when possible, since it is easier to digest. Meanwhile, powdered peanut butter offers the most convenient on-the-go option.

What Is Peanut Paste?

Peanut paste, commonly known as peanut butter, is a thick and creamy spread that not only tastes great, but also offers runners various nutritional benefits. The main ingredient of peanut paste is ground roasted peanuts, which contain essential fatty acids, protein, fiber, vitamins E and B6, magnesium, and potassium.

In addition to its health benefits, peanut butter can offer a delicious snack between runs, both when paired with different food combinations or consumed alone.

JUSTIN'S Classic Peanut Butter for runners

Is Peanut Butter Good for Runners?

Runners and other athletes can benefit from the nutrients in peanut butter, such as healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates for energy.

Is Peanut Butter a Good Source of Protein for Running?

Peanut butter is a great source of protein for running. A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein, which helps to build muscle and aid in recovery after workouts or races.

While the fat content in peanuts may be higher than other forms of protein, these fats are mostly healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. In addition to its high protein content, peanut butter is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, like niacin, magnesium, and zinc, all of which help improve performance while exercising or racing.

3 Benefits of Peanut Butter for Runners

Peanut butter can be a great source of energy. It can help fuel your runs, and also aid in muscle repair and recovery afterwards. Here are the main benefits that peanut butter provides:

Female makes a peanut butter sandwich

1. High in Healthy Fats, Protein, and Carbs

With its high concentrations of protein and healthy fats, peanut butter helps to fuel the body with sustained energy during long runs. The healthy fats give the runner slow-release energy, helping to reduce fatigue and maintain concentration during exercise.

The protein found in peanut butter aids in muscle growth and recovery, helping to build muscle tissue and rebuild any damaged muscles.

Carbohydrates are an essential fuel source for athletes, including runners, as they break down into sugar, which is used by the body for energy during exercise. Peanut butter contains carbohydrates that provide a slow, sustained release of energy into the bloodstream.

2. Contains Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Peanut butter is a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals, which are important for runners. These include niacin, folic acid, B-group vitamins, and Vitamin E. The fiber in peanut butter helps to sustain energy during a run, as it slows down the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream.

3. Helps with Muscle Repair and Recovery

Eating peanut butter after exercise is beneficial for runners, as the protein and healthy fats support the healing of sore muscles while providing the energy needed to repair them.

Additionally, studies have shown that consuming a combination of protein and carbohydrates after a workout can reduce muscle damage, increase muscle performance, reduce inflammation, and speed up recovery time.

Disadvantages of Peanut Butter for Running

Although peanut butter has numerous benefits for runners, it should be consumed in moderation, due to its high calorie and fat content. Overeating peanut butter has a number of potential side effects:

1. High in Calories and Fat

Peanut butter is a convenient and tasty snack for athletes, but it is high in fat and calories, which can lead to weight gain if overeaten. Keep in mind that just 2 tablespoons of peanut butter can deliver a quarter of your recommended daily intake of fat. Runners should keep this in mind when integrating peanut butter into their nutrition plan.

2. Can Be Difficult to Digest During Exercise

Peanut butter is a great addition to a runner’s diet, but it can be difficult to digest during exercise. Fat takes a long time to digest and protein requires a lot of energy in order to break down. Both can cause discomfort when running or engaging in any other kind of physical activity.

3. Some Brands May Contain Added Sugars and Unhealthy Oils

Some varieties of peanut butter may contain added sugars and unhealthy fats, such as palm or coconut oil, which can contribute to weight gain and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Pro Tip:

To ensure you are making a healthy choice, look for all-natural brands that do not have any additional ingredients listed on the label. All-natural peanut pastes have about 90% peanuts, as well as salt, some peanut oil, and a bit of sugar (optional).

Beware: Peanut butter should be avoided by those with an allergy to peanuts.

In What Form Is It Best to Consume Peanut Paste for Runners?

Peanut butter can be consumed by runners in three forms: creamy, crunchy, and powdered. Let’s discuss all three in detail:

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1. Creamy

Creamy peanut butter typically consists of ground peanuts and a touch of salt, which can provide athletes with essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and powerful proteins that help to protect muscles from injury and speed up recovery time.

High in healthy fats but low in carbohydrates, creamy peanut butter also contains vital electrolytes to keep bodies hydrated during exercise. Although creamy peanut butter has many benefits, eating too much may cause bloating due to the high fat content, which makes it difficult for some people to digest during strenuous physical activity.

Creamy peanut butter consistency
Image by Freepik

2. Crunchy

Crunchy peanut butter, which has a thicker texture than its creamy counterpart, is also very enjoyable. The key difference between crunchy and creamy peanut butters lies in their ingredients. Cookies, nuts, or other additives are typically added to give crunchy peanut butter its signature texture.

Crunchy peanut paste contains more fat and calories than regular smooth varieties, with 2 tablespoons providing as much as 25% of the daily recommended intake of fat. Due to the additives, it may be harder to digest, so try it first before fueling for a long run.

Crunchy peanut butter with pieces nuts or other additives

3. Powdered

Powdered peanut butter is an excellent alternative to traditional nut butter for runners. It typically contains fewer calories than regular nut butter and is easier to digest.

Additionally, some powdered options offer up to 25% of daily value of protein, with no fat or sugar added. This makes it perfect for those looking to maintain a healthy weight while still optimizing their performance during running sessions. The one ingredient (roasted peanuts) also eliminates any concern about unhealthy oils or additives creeping into the mix.

Powdered peanut butter for runners

When Is the Best Time to Eat Peanut Butter for Runners?

Runners can incorporate peanut butter into their diets at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For a nutritious breakfast, peanut butter can be combined with banana or added to a protein shake. For lunch and dinner, try peanut butter sandwiches.

Peanut butter is an excellent snack option, too. It can be spread over toast or mixed into low-fat popcorn, granola bars, and yogurt. But is peanut butter good before a run or after it?

Peanut Paste Before Running

Eating peanut butter before a run can be beneficial, depending on the amount and type consumed. That being said, eating too much can make you feel heavy or bloated during your runs.

Therefore, consuming no more than 1 tablespoon prior to exercising is generally recommended for most people.

Peanut Paste After Running

Consuming peanut paste after a run can be beneficial for runners, as it aids in muscle repair and recovery, provides essential vitamins and minerals, and is an excellent source of protein.

Eating peanuts after a workout helps refuel the body quickly with its combination of carbohydrates (up to 5g per tablespoon) and protein (7-8g per tablespoon).

The Best Peanut Butter for Runners

Here’s our list of some of the best options for runners looking to add peanut butter into their diets as a healthy, energy-boosting food.

JUSTINS Classic Gluten-Free Peanut Butter

JUSTIN’S Classic Gluten

These squeeze packs are crafted with only two ingredients—responsibly-sourced peanuts and palm fruit oil. They contain no added sugar or salt, making them a healthy option to provide the boost of energy that runners need. With 1.15 ounces per pack, they’re also a convenient snack when you’re on the go.

JUSTINS Classic Gluten-Free Peanut Butter
  • Compound: Simple ingredients with peanuts and palm oil
  • Product Content Percentage: High percentage of peanuts
  • Processing type: Natural nut butter, no hydrogenated oils
  • Consistency: Creamy and smooth texture
  • Allergens: Contains peanuts; may contain traces of tree nuts
  • Certificate: Gluten-Free Certification
  • Storage conditions: Store in a cool, dry place

CLIF BAR - Crunchy Peanut Butter


Clif Bar energy bars are perfect for runners, providing a mix of 11 grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. These bars are specifically designed to give you enough energy to sustain long runs, making it a great marathon peanut butter without any extra stomach upset.

CLIF BAR - Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • Compound: Made with wholesome ingredients, including peanuts and oats
  • Product Content Percentage: Contains a significant amount of peanuts
  • Processing type: Baked energy bar with natural ingredients
  • Consistency: Crunchy and chewy texture
  • Allergens: Contains peanuts and may contain traces of tree nuts, soy, and dairy
  • Shelf life and storage conditions: Long shelf life, store in a cool, dry place
  • Certificate: Various certifications including organic and non-GMO

Organic Powdered Peanut Butter from US Farms

Organic Powdered Peanut Butter from US Farms

This product contains just one ingredient: organic roasted peanuts straight from US Farms. It contains no added sugar, salt, preservatives, or any unhealthy oils. Its low calorie count and reduced fat content make it an ideal supplement to fuel performance without risking weight gain.

  • Compound: Pure powdered peanuts, no additives
  • Product Content Percentage: 100% peanuts
  • Processing type: Powdered form, no oil added
  • Consistency: Fine powder when mixed with water, creamy paste
  • Allergens: Contains peanuts; may be processed in facilities that handle tree nuts and soy
  • Shelf life and storage conditions: Long shelf life, store in a cool, dry place
  • Certificate: Organic certification
Organic Powdered Peanut Butter from US Farms

Frequently Asked Questions About Running on Peanut Butter

Can I Eat Peanut Butter Before Jogging?

Yes, eating peanut butter before jogging is often recommended for runners and other athletes. It provides an excellent source of healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals that can help improve performance and energy levels when running.

Why Do Runners Crave Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter is popular among runners, and often considered a cornerstone fuel. Its high protein content makes it one of the tastiest snacks for runners.. Runners enjoy this high-energy food for its instant boost and because it serves as a tasty alternative to junk food.

Is Peanut Butter Good Before a 5K?

Yes, peanut butter can be a great pre-run snack for runners who are preparing for a 5K race. The peanut butter is a high-calorie product that helps provide the energy and muscle strength needed during hard workouts and races.

Final Thoughts on the Best Peanut Butter for Runners

When it comes to fueling up for a run, having an arsenal of snacks on hand is essential. Peanut butter can be an incredibly nutritious choice for runners, as it contains high-quality proteins and healthy fats, as well as essential minerals and vitamins.

Whether you’re looking for a delicious pre-run snack or something to refuel your muscles after a long run, peanut butter is a great option. It’s also versatile, affordable, and easy to take with you wherever you go.

Have you tried peanut butter before or after a run? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Also Read:


  1. WebMD. Peanut Butter: Is It Good for You https://www.webmd.com/diet/peanut-butter-good-for-you
  2. US Food and Drug Administration. Food Standard Innovations: Peanut Butter’s Sticky Standard https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/histories-product-regulation/food-standard-innovations-peanut-butters-sticky-standard
  3. Arya, Shalini S et al. “Peanuts as functional food: a review.” Journal of food science and technology vol. 53,1 (2016): 31-41 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4711439/
  4. Vliet, Stephan van et al. “Achieving Optimal Post-Exercise Muscle Protein Remodeling in Physically Active Adults through Whole Food Consumption.” Nutrients vol. 10,2 224. 16 Feb. 201 https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/2/224
  5. Liang, Yiheng et al. “Effects of carbohydrate and protein supplement strategies on endurance capacity and muscle damage of endurance runners: A double blind, controlled crossover trial.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition vol. 19,1 623-637. 12 Oct. 2022 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15502783.2022.2131460

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