Healthier All American Meal

I've been on a journey to provide my family with natural, healthy food for a few years now.  It started when I realized how negatively Caleb, my oldest, was affected by sugar. And then I developed a severe thyroid problem.

One of the first foods that I changed, was our peanut butter (btw, out of the peanut butters I searched for, Jif was the only one that offered their complete list of ingredients).  I always thought that peanut butter was healthy  but when I started trying to cut out sugar from our diet...lo and behold...the second ingredient in peanut butter was...drum roll...SUGAR! In our house, we paired peanut butter with jelly, and since jelly is mostly sugar...I was basically feeding my kids a sugar sandwich.

And then I started learning about oils...fully and partially hydrogenated oils and mono and di-glycerides (all of which are ingredients in most peanut make them more spreadable). Yuck! (For more information on these go here, and here.)

So I had a problem...I don't know about your house, but at ours peanut butter and jelly was a staple.

So I set out trying to find a replacement.

The store I shop at has peanut and almond grinders for customers to make their own peanut/almond butter.  I did that for a while and mixed the peanut butter with honey.  This received negative reviews from my family.  Michael, whose super power is his stomach of steel, disliked it so much that he would skip a meal if this was served.

So I moved onto the ready made "natural" peanut butters. I tried Laura Scudder's and MaraNatha,  and while the taste was good, it was hard to spread and the oils that gathered at the top were rather bothersome, in that they would sometimes spill over while I was attempting to mix it back in. Since I've tried these, MaraNatha has developed "no stir" nut butters...I've tried the "no stir" almond butter and it was fantastic!

After a couple of years of searching, I finally discovered Smart Balance peanut butter.  I love it because all the ingredients are natural. It's sweetened with molasses and contains flax seed oil.  My kids absolutely love it!

Since the peanut butter already contains a sweetener, I really don't want them consuming even more in jelly.  I've done a lot of experimenting and we've come up with an alternate that my kids love even more!

1/2 cup Peanut Butter
3-4 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/2 of a ripe banana

Mix it all together.  We spread this in between whole grain bread for lunch or on celery for a snack. Either way, it's much healthier than sugar sandwiches!

Click here for more kitchen tips.

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