Don’t you just love the comfort of a good ole PB&J? You’ve got to try it in bowl form one morning. It’s truly spectacular.
PB & J’s are typically perceived as nothing more than sugary indulgences. And when placed on refined white bread, and spread with highly processed peanut butter and fiber-less jelly, they are indeed light years away from being nutritious. But they don’t have to be.
Tips to Nutrify your PB & J
The Bread. Choose a bread with minimal ingredients, especially minimal sugars. Food companies today add quite a bit of sugar to their loaves; and I’m talking more than needed for the fermentation process (a process most companies skip entirely). Instead, grab a freshly baked loaf from your grocery store, local bakery, or bake your own. These breads do not typically have all the preservatives, conditioners and other ingredients needed to make the loaf last longer on the shelf. Aim for whole grain breads such as whole wheat, spelt, oatmeal, buckwheat, and millet breads for example. The flour used to make these breads contains most, if not all, parts of the grain which means more nutrients and more fiber.
The Peanut Butter. Peanuts. Salt. That’s all it takes to make peanut butter. There are no emulsifiers in these “natural” peanut butters to keep them homogenous, and this turns people off. But all it takes is a little stir and your peanut butter is back in business.[Tweet ” In our highly processed world, we’ve got to learn to choose health over convenience”]. However, if you must have a peanut butter with a little more oomph, be sure to avoid the following ingredients: fully and/or partially hydrogenated oils, palm oil, excessive sugars which come in many forms (dextrose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, etc), and any ingredients you find difficult to pronounce. And please, please, please stay away from reduced fat or fat-free peanut butter. During the low-fat craze, companies took the fat out of a lot of products; as a result, they tasted like crap and had to add a bunch of sugar to compensate for their repugnance. So, if a product is low-fat or fat-free, you can count on it having more sugar than it’s conventional counterpart. And if it doesn’t, it probably tastes like dirt. Besides, the fat in peanut butter is good for you. Eat it up.
The Jelly, Jam, Preserves and Marmalade. Jam, Preserves and Marmalade all contain bits and/or pieces or fruit and seeds, lending them more fiber. Choose these over jelly. Jelly is basically fruit juice with pectin. By choosing a spread with more fiber, you reduce the glucose load experienced by consuming a high amount of sugar, thereby controlling blood sugars a little better.
Add In’s. Add some chia seeds for crunch and a hearty dose of brain boosting omega-3’s. Get fancy with your fruit spread and use real fruit; sliced strawberry’s, bananas or apples. Better yet, try fresh blueberries during the summer.
1/4 cup quinoa
3 TBS oats
1 TBS chia seeds (optional)
1/2 TBS cinnamon
Splash of vanilla
3/4 cup water
1/4-1/2 cup milk
3 TBS raisins
2 TBS peanut butter
1-2 TBS preserves, jam or marmalade (I used strawberry preserves)
- Bring water, quinoa and raisins to a boil in small pot. Reduce heat and let simmer until you start to see the little quinoa tails sprout out.
- Add oats, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla, and cook a few minutes more until grains are tender.
- When done, remove from heat and mix in chia seeds and peanut butter. If too dry, add a bit more milk. Spoon some preserves on top and enjoy.