Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches provide a quick, kid-friendly meal. Simply spread some peanut butter onto a piece of bread, add a smear of jelly and top it with another piece of bread. Simple and easy! But is it healthy? Let's look at the ingredients first.
Peanut butter is high in calories and fat but contains many potentially beneficial properties in it that can contribute to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
4 Beneficial Properties Of Peanut Butter
There are four beneficial properties of peanut better:
It is a “plant-based protein”
It is a “healthy fat”
It is high in fiber
It contains important vitamins and minerals
Peanut butter in its simple form is natural, whole food. It can be made with just ground peanuts, which contain healthy fats, protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals.
Peanut butter is a plant-based protein
Peanuts are an excellent source of plant-based protein and can allow you to effectively meet your protein needs. They are considered an incomplete protein source, or a protein that contains some protein-building amino acids but not all of them. Our body requires 9 additional amino acids from protein sources, but incomplete sources such as peanuts do not contain all 9. This makes it important to focus eating on other different protein sources like meats or eggs in order to eat our protein goals.
Peanut butter is a healthy fat
Peanuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which are one of the healthiest fats you can get from your diet. MUFAs have beneficial effects on your heart when eaten in moderation such as weight loss or reducing risk factors for heart disease. It is better to eat healthy fats such as MUFAs instead of saturated and trans fats as they can lead to increased chances of heart disease or rises in cholesterol levels.
Peanut butter is high in fiber
Peanut butter is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fibers are able to balance blood sugar levels and give you that feeling of fullness. This makes it easier to not overeat and stuff yourself, allowing you to stick to the weight goals you have. Insoluble fibers draw more water to your stomach, allowing for easier digestion of food.
A downside to eating PB&Js is because of jelly, which has the potential to be full of harmful added sugars - most jellies are loaded with sugar! Jelly is made with crushed fruit, with the leftover solids and seeds discarded. The average serving of jelly has 10 to 20 grams of sugar in it. FDA guidelines recommend having no more than 50 grams of added sugars per day, making that10 to 20 grams from one sandwich quite a bit.
You can, however, substitute store-bought jelly with your own homemade fruit jam instead, allowing for a healthier option for your sandwiches.
To make this a healthy PB&J sandwich, you can use whole-wheat bread. Since peanuts are low in many essential amino acids, you can pair them with whole grains instead. Put your peanut butter on some whole grain bread, use fruit-sweetened jam or preserves, and all-natural peanut butter. There you have it, a healthy peanut and butter sandwich!
Also, did you know that April 2nd is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day?!