When school mornings get extra crazy, it's practically a given that the kids will be getting PBJ's for lunch. Because what could be easier to prepare than PBJ? Umm.... how about a pre-made PBJ? For extra
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As I mentioned, the kids would eat PBJ's every day -- but I haven't dared test that theory, because they might get sick of PBJ's, and where would I be? So I try to limit PBJ's to once (okay, maybe twice) a week. And I try to vary the sandwich itself to make things more novel and appealing:
* I use medium-sized tortillas to make peanut butter and jelly burritos.
* I spread peanut butter and jelly on lavash bread, roll it up and cut into pinwheels.
* I use cookie cutters (Williams-Sonoma sandwich cutters rock) to cut the sandwiches into cute shapes.
Finally, I do realize that while peanut butter is a great source of protein, the jelly and white bread aren't exactly nutritious foods. So I make healthier substitutions:
* I use whole-wheat bread (or whole-wheat tortillas or bagels or lavash) instead of white.
* I use low-sugar versions of strawberry or grape jelly.
* I sometimes use fruit instead of strawberry or grape jelly. I've used raisins, sliced bananas and smashed-up blueberries, and the kids love all three.
* I sometimes cut out the bread entirely and make Ants On A Log (i.e. spread the peanut butter on celery sticks instead of bread, and put raisins on top instead of jam).
Now and then I do buy a box of white-bread, full sugar Uncrustables, and sometimes I'll even pair the peanut butter with Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread), which pretty much turns a PBJ into dessert. But those occasions are getting rarer and rarer, and I always make sure I pack carrots or tomatoes or pepper strips or fresh fruit along with it, so the overall lunch is a healthy one. I feel good about packing better peanut butter lunches -- they work for my kids and they work for me!
This post was inspired by the Yahoo Motherboard's Topic of the Month for September: Teaching Kids Healthy Eating Habits. I am not compensated for my participation in this group but I get to belong to a group of smart, savvy moms -- which is compensation enough!