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"Scaffold" Your Way to a Healthier PB & J

10 November 2011

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a childhood staple and they can be a healthy lunch combining both protein and fiber.

Here are some ways that you can make a progressively healthier PB and J!

Scaffold Your Bread from White to 100% Whole Wheat

If your child will only eat white bread, you'll want to start by introducing a bread that contains whole grain but still looks and tastes like white bread.  Sara Lee has a "White Whole Wheat," that you may want to try.

Next you can try familiarizing your kids with bread that has a little more color, but still has the consistency of white bread- usually these options are called "wheat bread." Most of these still have quite a bit of white flour but look a bit closer to white bread.

Then try Sara Lee 100% soft whole wheat. I like this bread because it has a soft texture, all whole wheat flour, and as an added bonus- no high fructose corn syrup!

My current bread of choice is Fiber One, Honey Whole Wheat. 100% whole wheat, no high fructose corn syrup, plus it has 8 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.  It's not quite as soft as Sara Lee, but it is fairly soft and not "grainy."

A few things to keep in mind: 1. Not all "wheat bread" is whole wheat. If it says, "Cotains 100% whole wheat," this is not the same as "100% whole wheat." Check the ingredients to be sure.  2. Some whole wheat bread is very grainy and is unlikely to be a good a choice for your child unless they are already accustomed to whole wheat bread. 3. Also be aware of "multi-grain" bread. Many of these still also contain mostly white flour.

Here are some ways to make your bread more fun during the transition:

 Cut fun shapes out of your bread using a cookie cutter.
 Use the  cookie cutter to make bread that mixes the white and wheat.

Make sandwich balls and then have fun with them...
Want to know how to make this Amazing "Banana Split??" Check out Bent on Better Lunches.

Try Pepperidge Farm's Goldfish Bread.  You can start with white, then try honey whole wheat and finally 100% whole wheat.

Scaffold Your Peanut Butter

Many peanut butters have a lot of added sugar.

Start by trying the "natural" version of the brand you usually buy.

Next try an option with no added sugar that still has a creamy texture. The best option I have found is Crazy Richard's Creamy Peanut Butter. I've found it in my grocery store, but if you can't find it, they have it on Amazon.

After that you can try natural or homemade peanut or nut butters. One word of caution. These usually have quite a bit of oil on top. Don't pour it out, as I did the first time! Instead mix it in. Otherwise, it will be very dry and hard to spread.

Scaffold Your Jelly

Most jelly is mostly sugar- even those labeled organic.  I buy "all-fruit" jelly and it is just as sweet as the sugary kinds. I don't actually think that this switch will require scaffolding. Chances are that you child would not notice this switch!

*Please keep in mind that each child is different. You may be able to progress through the steps quickly, or even skip some steps.  You may have to stay at one step for weeks or months before your child is ready for another change.

If you decide to scaffold your PB& please stop by and let me know how it goes, and share any tips that you discovered along the way!


  1. I love the goldfish bread for my toddler's lunch. He seems to like it too and an added having to cut off the crust!

  2. Whoever came up with the idea at Pepperidge Farm should definitely get a bonus! :)


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