5 Fabulous, Healthy Spins on Classic PB&J

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Hands up if PB&J is a lunchtime staple for your family. Mine! If so, you know how simple, quick and delicious the classic PB&J sandwich can be. But sometimes even a classic needs jazzing up a bit, and that’s where these five fabulous spins on PB&J come into play. Lunch is served!

Cinnamon-Raisin Pecan Butter Applewiches

This is a fun PB&J alternative — no bread! These “applewiches” provide a boost of fiber, plus a delicious crunch when paired with pecan butter, plump juicy raisins and a hint of cinnamon.

To make: Combine 2 tablespoons pecan butter with 2 teaspoons raisins and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Carefully remove the core from one apple, allowing the apple to remain intact. Slice off the top and bottom of the apple, then cut the remaining apple into 4 slices. Spread cinnamon raisin pecan butter on two of the apple slices, then top off with the remaining slices.

Per serving (2 Cinnamon-Raisin Pecan Butter Applewiches): Calories 280; Fat 20 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 1 mg; Carbohydrate 23 g; Fiber 5; Sugars 15 g; Protein 4 g

Chocolate Nut Butter and Raspberry Jelly on Whole Wheat

Chocolate and berries are a match made in heaven, so why not pair them together for lunch in this scrumptious chocolate nut butter and raspberry jelly sandwich on whole wheat? Divine!

To make: Spread 2 tablespoons of your favorite chocolate nut butter (such as dark chocolate almond butter) with 1 tablespoon no-added-sugar raspberry jelly on two slices of whole-wheat bread. Cut into 4 triangles to serve.

Per serving (1 Chocolate Nut Butter and Raspberry Jelly on Whole Wheat): Calories 353; Fat 18 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 335 mg; Carbohydrate 40 g; Fiber 7 g; Sugars 19 g; Protein 11 g

Macadamia Nut Butter Mango Coconut Roll-Ups

For a tropical twist on the classic PB&J, spread heart-healthy macadamia nut butter, mango jelly and a sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut on a whole-wheat tortilla to make this easy roll-up.

To make: Spread 2 tablespoons macadamia nut butter on a whole-wheat tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon mango jelly and 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut. Roll up, then cut into fourths to serve.

Per serving (1 Macadamia Nut Butter Mango Coconut Roll-Up): Calories 460; Fat 33 g (Saturated 9 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 278 mg; Carbohydrate 39 g; Fiber 7 g; Sugars 13 g; Protein 7 g

Mini Sunflower Seed Butter and Honey Popcorn Chipwiches

What is it about mini sandwiches that makes them so much fun? There’s nothing not to love about these super-tasty, allergen-friendly “chipwiches.”

To make: Spread 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter and 1 tablespoon honey, divided, onto 8 mini popcorn cakes. Top with the remaining 8 mini popcorn cakes to serve.

Per serving (8 Mini Sunflower Seed Butter and Honey Popcorn Chipwiches): Calories 374; Fat 19 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 311 mg; Carbohydrate 40 g; Fiber 5 g; Sugars 22 g; Protein 9 g

PB&J Smoothie

An out-of-the-box spin on PB&J, this smoothie is a favorite of mine. Rich and creamy, and made with only 3 ingredients, it’s the perfect solution for kids (and adults) who love PB&J but aren’t fans of sandwiches.

To make: Combine 1 cup unsweetened vanilla soymilk (or other dairy or nondairy milk) with 1 cup frozen berries and 2 tablespoons peanut butter in a blender until smooth. Optional, add 1 to 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup if additional sweetness is desired. Store in a vacuum-sealed thermos to keep cold if taking to school or work for lunch.

Per serving (1 PBJ Smoothie): Calories 366; Fat 21 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 170 mg; Carbohydrate 34 g; Fiber 11 g; Sugars 18 g; Protein 17 g

Note: All recipes make one serving. Although you can find all of the different nut butters called for in the recipes in grocery stores or online, a fun (and less expensive) alternative is to make your own nut butters. Feel free to replace any of the nut or seed butters and jellies listed above to make your own favorite “PB&J” combinations.

EA Stewart, MBA, RD is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in wellness and GI nutrition. In addition, EA is the creator of The Spicy RD, which features delicious gluten-free recipes made from healthy, seasonal ingredients.