Is peanut butter and jelly good for you?

Peanut butter on SpoonPeanut butter and jelly sandwiches are an easy go-to classic that might even make you feel nostalgic for the brown bag lunches of elementary school. But are they good for you? With the right choices, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be a healthful option.

Tips to make nutritious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

Look for brands of peanut butter that don’t have many added ingredients. Peanuts have their own oil and don’t need any additional oils. Salt covers up the flavor of the peanuts, so look for a brand with little or no added salt.  Sugar isn’t really needed, especially if you’re eating it with jelly.

Jelly has evolved since the days of plain Concord grape. You can now get superfruit jelly and fruit spread without preservatives. One without sugar added is best, since fruit is sweet on its own. You don’t have to feel limited to jelly; with jam, you’re getting more of the fruit and fiber to help combat the sugar.

Look for bread that is whole grain and without preservatives. Bread can have a lot of mystery additives, so be sure to check out the ingredients list. Look in the frozen section for options, such as sprouted grain, that have no added salt.

Why you shouldn’t skip the PB in the PB&J

Peanut butter is high in calories and has a good deal of fat. That’s no reason to avoid it, just be sure to eat it in moderation. Whether you prefer chunky or creamy, the protein-rich spread is full of vitamins and minerals. Here are some of the nutritional highlights of peanut butter:

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, turns fat into energy, decreases cholesterol levels, and aids in controlling blood sugar levels.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect lung cells and white blood cells. You can get around 14 percent of your daily value from a 2-tablespoon serving.

Manganese helps keep bones strong and peanut butter has over 20 percent of the recommended daily value in just 2 tablespoons. It also controls blood sugar and helps protect skin against sun damage.

Good fats keep you energized. Peanut butter has more unsaturated fats than saturated. The ratio of unsaturated fats to saturated fats is close to olive oil’s ratio, and they have similar heart benefits.

Fiber is important to help you feel full and keep your body’s elimination processes working. In a 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter, you’re getting about 8 percent of your daily fiber recommendation.

So go ahead and enjoy a delicious PB&J. You probably already have all the ingredients at home. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even add a sprinkle of granola to your sandwich or find another healthy way to eat your delicious PB&J.

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