by Grace Dickinson, Temple University Student
April 2nd marks National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, a holiday dedicated to the classic childhood favorite
Creamy, rich peanut butter smacked together with sweet, ooey-gooey jelly— It’s a one-of-a-kind combination that’s certainly become an everlasting hit in America. According to the National Peanut Board, the average child will consume 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time he/she graduates from high school. Now that’s a lot of PB&J’s. Unless you suffer from Arachibutyrophobia (the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth) or have a peanut allergy, more than likely you’ve eaten at least one PB&J in your life.
This Saturday, April 2nd, marks National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, an entire day in celebration of the tasty, timeless lunchbox classic. So no matter what age you may be, it’s time to break out the PB jar and savor one more PB&J.
Not only is the sweet and slightly salty combination rather irresistible, it’s one of the easiest recipes you can make—An unquestionable perk for those of all ages. PB&J provides the perfect recipe for those little ones just beginning to test out their cooking skills. It’s also great for all the busy moms and dads out there needing a sandwich that can be made in a jif, no pun intended. And for those teens and college students (and everyone else on a budget), PB&J provides not just an easy sandwich solution, but an exceptionally cheap one too.
The classic sandwich combo. doesn’t fair too badly in terms of nutrition either. When made with the right ingredients, PB&J provides a notably nutritious meal. Peanuts themselves contain more protein, niacin, folate and phytosterols than any other nut. What exactly does this mean? Niacin is an important B vitamin that helps to convert food to energy, while folate is needed for cell division and proper growth structure. Phytosterols are plant sterols that have proved to contain cholesterol-lowering properties. Despite all of these healthful characteristics, one glance at the peanut butter jar might have you asking, what about all of the fat? Peanut butter typically contains 14 grams of fat per serving. However, the majority of this fat is mono-unsaturated, the heart-healthy kind of fat. According to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fats have shown to help reduce poor blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
When choosing peanut butter, it’s best to stick with all-natural—meaning an ingredient list that contains simply peanuts and salt—to avoid any unnecessary added sugars and or fats. The best bet in terms of jelly is that made with real fruit and whose jar is labeled with “100% fruit.”
If one too many PB&J’s went into your stomach as a kid and you’re sitting here thinking, “why would I ever want to eat another PB&J?,” consider switching up this classic combo. a bit. There are tons of fun and delicious ways to vary a PB&J!
For starters, you could vary the nut. Try almond butter, or sunflower seed butter, or everyone’s favorite, chocolate hazelnut Nutella (not the ultimate health-conscious choice, but certainly a tasty option). Maybe you swap out the jelly for marmalade, bananas, or thinly sliced apples. Or you could swap out the bread, and use rice cakes for a light snack. Or try crackers, or one of my favorites, whole grain waffles. There are tons of ways to spruce up the classic PB&J, so take your pick this Saturday and join the National Peanut Butter and Jelly celebration.