Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Peanut butter and WHAT?!

My older kids are HUGE fans of peanut butter sandwiches and I wanted to inject some variety (and more nutrition) into this favorite lunch. Since it's summer we have plenty of fruit around – and peanut butter/banana is one of my favorite combinations. I decided to experiment.

I made three sandwiches on whole wheat flatbreads: peanut butter and banana, peanut butter and apple, and peanut butter and plum. I presented the sandwiches to the kids on a platter, then cut each one in half for tasting. I added carrot sticks and cucumber spears and lunch was served.

Lila liked the apple sandwich, but then asked for plain pb. Deacon shocked me by eating half of each sandwich – the biggest lunch I can remember him eating in a while!

Peanut butter and jelly is a common sandwich choice, but the fruit in jellies and jams has been cooked down with added sugar. Using fresh fruit decreases the sugar in the sandwich (while keeping the natural sweetness of the fruit) and gives the sandwich a little fiber boost.

Peanut butter is a great source of protein. Be careful of varieties with added sugar and hydrogenated oils (which add trans fat). Because peanuts are one of the most common food allergies, I am careful to only serve it at home. It's also a choking hazard for kids under 4 -- I spread a thin layer on sandwiches, crackers, apples, or toast to reduce this risk.

Try some of these other fruity sandwich ideas, too:
  • Grilled cheese with apples or plums
  • Turkey with apples
  • Ham with peaches or plums
  • Chicken salad with grapes or raisins mixed in
  • A sweet sandwich treat of Nutella and strawberries or bananas
Have other ideas? Please comment to let me know!

Today's tip: Add nutrition and surprise to sandwiches with fruit.

1 comment:

  1. When my daughter was little I used to mix peanut butter with some applesauce to cut down on the choking hazard of straight peanut butter. It made a much more moist sandwich which is easier for little ones to chew and swallow. I also used natural applesauce as a "sweetner" for lots of things- instead of jelly/jam and instead of maple syrup on pancakes and waffles. My daughter loved it when she was little.