Is honey and peanut butter sandwich healthy?

Honey and peanut butter sandwiches are a popular lunchtime snack or meal for many people. The combination of sweet honey and nutty, creamy peanut butter seems like a perfect flavor match. But are these sandwiches actually healthy?

The Nutritional Benefits of Honey

Honey has been consumed by humans for thousands of years, valued for its sweet taste and nutritional content. Here are some of the main health benefits of honey:

  • High in antioxidants – Honey contains polyphenols and other antioxidant compounds that can help protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation.
  • Antibacterial and antifungal properties – Honey has been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi, which can help heal wounds and treat infections.
  • Source of carbohydrates – Honey is mainly composed of natural sugars like glucose and fructose, so it provides a quick energy boost.
  • May promote heart health – Some studies have found that honey can help improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
  • Soothes coughs – Honey has long been used as a natural cough remedy, as it can help coat and soothe the throat.

So honey contains beneficial nutrients and bioactive compounds that can promote health in a number of ways. Using it as a sweetener is likely healthier than using refined sugar.

The Nutritional Profile of Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a spread made from ground, dry-roasted peanuts. It is popular worldwide and rich in several nutrients, including:

  • Protein – 2 tablespoons contains 7 grams of protein, which promotes fullness and helps muscle building.
  • Healthy fats – Peanut butter is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.
  • Fiber – It provides about 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving, which contributes to digestive and heart health.
  • Vitamins and minerals – Peanut butter contains small amounts of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate, niacin, and vitamin E.
  • Antioxidants – It provides antioxidants like resveratrol and phytosterols, which can help protect the body.

Overall, peanut butter can be described as a nutritious, plant-based protein source that provides essential vitamins and minerals.

Potential Downsides of Honey and Peanut Butter

While honey and peanut butter do have nutritional benefits, there are some potential downsides to consider:

  • High in calories – Both ingredients are relatively high in calories, with almost 100 calories in 2 tbsp of peanut butter and 60 calories in 1 tbsp of honey.
  • High in natural sugar – The main nutrients in honey are natural sugars, so it is high on the glycemic index. This could be a problem for people with diabetes.
  • Allergies – Peanuts are one of the most common food allergens. People with peanut allergy must avoid peanut butter.
  • Aflatoxins – Peanuts and peanut butter may sometimes be contaminated with aflatoxins, toxins produced by molds.
  • Trans fats – Some brands of peanut butter still contain partially hydrogenated oils with trans fats, although most have now removed them.

Moderation is key with both honey and peanut butter. Consuming large amounts could lead to excess sugar and calorie intake.

Nutrition Facts of Honey and Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Here is the basic nutritional breakdown of a simple sandwich made with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of honey between two slices of whole wheat bread:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 387
Carbohydrates 51g
Protein 13g
Total Fat 15g
Saturated Fat 2g
Fiber 5g
Sugar 18g

As we can see, a honey peanut butter sandwich provides significant amounts of protein and fiber. But it is also high in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. About half of the carbohydrates come from natural sugars in the honey.

The Glycemic Index and Blood Sugar Effects

The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI cause faster, larger spikes in blood sugar compared to low GI foods.

Honey has a moderately high GI, typically around 60-85 depending on the variety. Pure glucose is used as the reference food with a GI of 100. In contrast, peanut butter has a low glycemic index of just 14.

When eaten together in a sandwich, the honey and peanut butter likely have a moderate effect on blood sugar. The protein, fat, and fiber in peanut butter helps slow down the absorption of sugars from the honey.

Overall, honey peanut butter sandwiches are a fairly blood sugar-friendly snack compared to other sandwiches made with highly processed bread and sugary jams. But portion size still matters, especially for people with diabetes.

Sandwich Filling Combinations for Balanced Nutrition

Nutritionwise, honey and peanut butter sandwiches could be improved by adding some extra fiber, nutrients, and protein. Here are some healthy sandwich fillings that pair well with peanut butter and honey:

  • Sliced banana – for extra fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.
  • Sliced apple – for added fiber and vitamin C.
  • Ground flaxseed – for fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Sliced avocado – for healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins.
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt – to increase protein.
  • Chopped nuts like almonds or walnuts – for healthy fats and plant protein.
  • Ground cinnamon – for antioxidants, and to balance out the sweetness.

Combining peanut butter and honey with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and yogurt can produce a more nutrient-dense sandwich with extra health benefits.

Healthier Bread Options

Choosing healthier bread can also improve the nutrition of honey and peanut butter sandwiches:

  • 100% whole wheat bread – Offers the most fiber, minerals, and nutrients.
  • Sprouted grain bread – Made from whole grains that have started germinating or sprouting. May be more easily digested.
  • Whole grain rye or pumpernickel – Dense, hearty breads with fiber and nutrients.
  • Sourdough – The fermentation helps break down gluten and makes nutrients more bioavailable.
  • Ezekiel bread – Sprouted whole grain bread made from legumes as well as grains.

Avoid white bread or refined flour varieties like honey wheat. Look for bread with at least 2-3 grams of fiber per slice to help slow sugar absorption.

Healthy Homemade Honey Peanut Butter Recipe

Making homemade peanut butter allows you to control the ingredients for a healthier spread. Here is a simple recipe to try at home:


  • 2 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt (optional)


  1. Process the peanuts in a food processor for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.
  2. Add the honey, cinnamon, and salt (if using). Process again until fully mixed in.
  3. Store homemade peanut butter in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

By making your own peanut butter, you can avoid hydrogenated oils, palm oil, and excess sugar and salt often found in commercial brands. Pair your creation with whole grain bread and fruit spreads for a nutritious homemade sandwich.


Honey peanut butter sandwiches can be a nutritious meal or snack in moderation. Peanut butter provides protein, healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins. Honey contains antioxidants, enzymes, and trace nutrients. However, both ingredients are high in calories and natural sugars.

To make honey peanut butter sandwiches healthier, use whole grain bread, add extra fruits and vegetables, and watch your portion sizes. Combining peanut butter with yogurt, seeds, nuts or cinnamon can improve the nutritional quality. Making homemade honey peanut butter allows you to control exactly what goes into it.

Overall, honey and peanut butter can be included as part of a balanced diet. Just be mindful of servings to keep calories, carbs, and sugar under control.

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