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Simple Swaps for a Healthier PB&J Sandwich

I’m going there – dedicating an entire blog post to the beloved peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This favorite combo is a go-to for kids’ school lunch boxes, post-workout fuel or easy meal on-the-go. Let’s take a closer look at this classic sandwich and talk about simple swaps for a healthier version.

A PB&J sandwich is made up of three parts: the bread, jelly and peanut butter.

First, the bread.

Sandwich bread is one of the easiest swaps to make on your plate, but can also be one of the most difficult depending on your taste and texture preferences. Most bread is made up of enriched wheat flour which can be misleading given there is “wheat” listed. The truth is, it’s a fiber-less flour that has been stripped of its nutrients through processing.

The healthier ingredients to look for include whole wheat and sprouted grains. Both of these options are going to be higher in fiber, which will slow down digestion and sustain energy for the long haul. Some of my favorite brands include Foods for Life Ezekiel Sprouted Bread (found in the freezer section) and Dave’s Killer Bread (found in the bread aisle).

Next, the peanut butter.

Raise your hand if you grew up on or have Jif Natural Peanut Butter Spread in your pantry. Using the terms “natural” and “organic” can make you think it’s going to be the healthier option, but that’s not always the case. Sugars and oils are often added to nut butters to make them more spreadable and, well, addicting. Hint: if it has the word “spread” on the label, you might want to check the ingredient list.

There should be one, maybe two, ingredients listed: the type of nut and salt. Store brand nut butters are usually a safe choice and the most affordable.

Last but not least, the jelly.

This is the step that makes the sandwich in my opinion. Whether you’re a grape or strawberry fan, there are a few key additives to watch out for on the ingredient label. The more popular jelly brands often have more than one source of sugar listed, including high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar and evaporated cane juice.

For a healthier jelly, look for one that is all fruit or try making your own at home!

Here’s how to make berry chia jam:

Heat 2 cups mixed berries on the stovetop or in the microwave. Mash with a fork until desired texture is reached. You could also blend in a blender. Add 2 tablespoons chia seeds and let thicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

With just a few simple swaps, the classic peanut butter and jelly can be made into a healthier sandwich!

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