Friday, August 04, 2023

A Healthier PB&J


Organic crunchy peanut butter on a
100% whole wheat English Muffin
topped with Fresh Mango

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a go-to lunch. It's quick, it's inexpensive and who doesn't love them? Even people allergic to peanuts indulge by easily substituting the peanut butter with any nut or seed butter. 

Sadly, growing up in an Italian household, I wasn't introduced to the PB&J until I went off to college. But now I eat them regularly, usually at breakfast time. 

The question remains, is it healthy? As a nutritionist, I would say that the typical peanut butter and jelly sandwich is not a healthy choice. First, it's typically made with white bread. Second, many peanut butters come in plastic containers and contain sugar, hydrogenated oils, and salt. And if you've ever made jelly, you know the most popular recipes contain more sugar than fruit.

Here are 4 easy things to do to make this iconic sandwich healthier:

#1 Start with a bread that is made from whole grains. It's easier to find a whole grain bread that contains wheat so if you are gluten free, you will have to carefully read the labels. There are some good ones out there but many of them are full of overly processed starches and gums to hold them together. So if you aren't allergic to wheat, a bread like Dave's Killer Bread with 21 Whole Grains and Seeds OrganicBread is a winner. Check out for more of their healthy breads. 

#2 Pick an organic nut butter that only contains the nuts and seeds. Just peanuts -  no oil, no sugar. Little or no salt. I like organic MaraNatha or Santa Cruz peanut butters.

#3 Only buy nut butters that are in glass jars. Peanut butter has a high fat content and the oils in the nut butter can absorb chemicals fro the plastic and become contaminated. The above peanut butters are both in glass jars.

#4 Substitute the jelly with fresh fruit! This will save you empty calories and needless sugar as well as adding healthful fiber to your sandwich. My favorite fruits to add are:

    *Sliced mangos, peaches, nectarines

    * Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries

    * Sliced bananas, apples