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Five Ways to Spruce Up PB&J

Written by Ashley Palmer | September 27, 2011

School is back in session, and let’s be honest: By now, you’ve probably resorted to packing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day. Don’t get me wrong—I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They’re the perfect vegetarian food! But packed lunches can become pretty dull. To help you out, here are five easy ways to spruce up the classic PB&J sandwich:

1. Add freshly sliced bananas to your favorite sandwich for an extra layer of flavor and a strong dose of fiber and potassium. Other good options include diced strawberries and halved grapes.

2. Switch up the jelly. If you’re used to using grape jelly, switch to strawberry or raspberry. Or even try your hand at making your own homemade blueberry jam!

3. Try using almond butter in place of peanut butter. Not only is it delicious, it also doesn’t usually contain any added oils or sugar, which are frequently found in peanut butter.

4. Bake your own fresh, homemade bread. Nothing quite compares to the freshness of a well-made loaf of bread. Try your hand at one of the many easy (and accidentally vegan) bread recipes found online.

5. Bust out the cookie cutters. Make your child’s lunch more interesting by cutting up his or her sandwich into fun shapes like hearts, stars, and dinosaurs.

If you’re feeling really bold, why not try all five tips at one time? What are your tricks for keeping variety in your lunches and those of your kids? Share with us in the comments section below.

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  • Solstice says:

    I’m shocked that no one has mentioned grilled pbj! If you make it like a grilled cheese sandwich the nut butter melts and the bread is crisp… its amazing!

  • Bill Rubin says:

    I make double-decker pb&j sandwiches (3 slices of Arnold’s Health Nut bread). Bottom level is peanut butter and bananas. Top level is strawberry preserves and “fruit n’ nut” style trail mix. The only trouble is that the sandwich is usually so large that I have to eat it with a fork and knife. ***Smile***

  • chander kumar soni says:

    nice ways.

  • May says:

    Try Peanut butter with Natella or Peanut butter with chocolate syrup… so good.

  • Nana Jodi says:

    I made the blueberry jam. It was so easy and I don’t know why I never thought of it before! So much less expensive and healthier than a regular jam! And since all it is is all berries, it has the most intense berry flavor! I can’t wait to get my hands on some blackberries and raspberries!

  • Diane says:

    My husband loves fresh ground peanut butter, fruit preserves, fresh banana slices & sunflower seeds. I like plain old pb&j.

  • Hippyveg847 says:

    We also make our own peanut butter (delicious and so easy). But I like to toast the bread, whether I’m eating it now or later, smear on PB and a touch of honey, or agave nectar for the vegans, and layer some thinly sliced apple. Not technically PB&J, but it makes a lovely sandwich.

  • Kate Kenner says:

    I put cream cheese (vegan of course) on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s quite yummy. When my daughter was younger I made a fair amount of pb&j and wanted something extra to put in. I made breakfast to bring in the car as we rushed off to school. It was a simple yet wholesome ( and quick)breakfast once or twice a week and one day I thought of cream cheese to add. Well that’s how we eat our pb& j’s now. She has moved on but still uses cream cheese in her sandwiches if she has it on hand..

  • GP says:

    For our 2 daughters, I make 2 pbj’s using 2 different jellies. Using a round biscuit cutter, I cut a circle out of each and swap them. Each child gets a whole sandwich, cut into shapes (round is a shape, right?) with 2 flavors. Sometimes I use peanut butter for one and almond butter for the other. They rave about it.

  • June Siegel says:

    I make my own nut butter every week using peanuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds, all raw and unsalted. Blend them up in the food processor for a few minutes and it stays in the fridge in a jar for a few weeks. Tastes great too. You’ll never go back to the commercial stuff!

  • vegobsessionchick says:

    I like to put sliced bananas and raisins with my raw almond butter and jelly. YUM!

  • Veggieluver1109 says:

    How about sunbutter (sunflower seed butter ) YUM its so good full of good vitamins including lots of zinc!! Great article I am always lokking for fun vegan lunches for my toddler 🙂