April 8th, 2011
08:36 AM ET

How to build a healthy PB&J

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Question asked by Stephanie of Roswell, Georgia

My daughters ask for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast several times a week, instead of the whole-grain cereal we offer them. This seems awfully sugary to me. Is this nutritionally OK?

Expert answer

This is a great question as I would hate to see parents avoiding peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (made the right way), as they potentially have a great deal to offer from a nutrition standpoint.

I would consider them a good substitute for whole grain cereal if that is what your children prefer. Your concern about your children's sugar intake is valid, as most of us consume far too many added sugars in our diets.

Here are my suggestions for building a healthy peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast or any time of day (they make healthy after-school snacks too).

1. Start with whole grain bread (if your kids will eat it) - make sure that the first ingredient on the ingredient list is "whole grain."Try to avoid breads with added sugar (bread should not really have any) to keep sugar intake down.

If your kids refuse to eat whole wheat bread, try the new variety of whole wheat white bread that is a step up from the white bread that many kids prefer. It is also important to keep trying whole wheat bread with your kids, as foods often require repeat exposure for acceptance.

2. Go natural with nut butter - peanut butter (or any nut butter) is a healthy source of plant-based protein and fiber. Just try to choose natural varieties that don't have trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils).

Even though most regular brands contain only a small amount, you don't need any in your diet, and many of the major brands now have natural varieties that have no hydrogenated oils.

In addition, choose low-sodium varieties when you can and limit added sugar. I picked up a major brand label natural creamy peanut butter today that had only 80 mg of sodium per serving and 3 grams of sugar; and it tastes terrific!

3. Stick with spreads - I recommend choosing spreads or jams over jellies as they generally have less sugar and actually contain real fruit, not just fruit juice. Try to find products with fruit as the first ingredient. I could not find a product without added sugar (except sugar-free options, which I don't recommend for kids), so just compare labels and try to choose the lowest sugar possible.

I found a major brand that had 8 grams of sugar for 1 tablespoon. It is impossible just looking at the label to know how much of this sugar is added sugar, but you can probably assume that at least half is naturally occurring fruit sugar, so you are probably consuming only 4 grams of added sugar.

So the final stats for the sandwich are probably around 7 grams of added sugar (which is less than most major kids', and adults', cereals) and 4-5 grams of naturally occurring fiber (which is more than most kids' cereals and rivals many adult cereals).

In addition, you get 7 grams of plant-based protein (assuming 2 tablespoons) and healthy mono-unsaturated fat from the nuts. Add a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk and you have a very balanced and healthy breakfast option.

If you want to make sure your kids get fruit in the morning, try topping the sandwich with sliced bananas instead of jam or serve with an orange or a small glass of orange juice for an even more complete breakfast.

soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. JbbnEncox

    are there different strengths of cialis langzeitnebenwirkungen cialis qual Г© o melhor cialis levitra ou viagra

    February 11, 2021 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. mRaOLS

    288409 445883Merely wanna state that this really is really beneficial , Thanks for taking your time to write this. 247210

    February 11, 2021 at 22:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Kbbfseelt

    what\'s works better viagra or cialis? viagra online buy viagra in south africa

    February 14, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. FqbbEncox

    scotia momentum cash advance cash loans oakville money loan center utah

    February 15, 2021 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. JbnvCrulk

    uob cash advance singapore cashback loans santa ana ca cash advance front royal va

    February 15, 2021 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. LabxEncox

    cialis sobredosis cialis and surgery diferencias cialis y levitra

    February 15, 2021 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. AhbzEncox

    cash loan in lapu-lapu city payday loans northern colorado loan money without bank

    February 15, 2021 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. FbsgZisse

    free samples for cialis cialis vs viagra germany where can i get cialis overnite

    February 16, 2021 at 02:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. KvaxMile

    mogo payday loans edmonton payday loans woodstock va payday loans los angeles locations

    February 16, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. NbnhZisse

    viagra online pharmacies http://vigedon.com/ viagra usa online

    February 17, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. hydroxyquine

    hydroxychloroquinine hydroxychloroquine covid hcq drug

    February 18, 2021 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ClarkTauts

    cyuru 3iqf9 feha

    February 28, 2021 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. KndnMile

    how long does viagra take to work gas station viagra teva viagra

    March 2, 2021 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. FjjuZisse

    viagra woman http://viagraonlinejc.com/ does viagra work on women

    March 2, 2021 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. NbmoZisse

    buy voucher for cialis daily online cialis with dapoxetine viagra cialis levitra sample pack

    March 4, 2021 at 00:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. JvqqEncox

    https://dissertationahelp.com/ – examples of dissertation proposals writing a dissertation proposal dissertation writing coach uk dissertation writing services

    March 23, 2021 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. aquastar watch

    480880 872401You produced some decent points there. I looked on-line towards the problem and discovered most individuals will go along with along along with your internet website. 5493

    March 25, 2021 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. LmoppEncox

    http://essaywriteris.com/ – best website for essays professional grad school essay writers do my essay cheap cheap custom essay

    March 26, 2021 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. GrvCrulk

    https://kloviagrli.com/ – vietnamese viagra https://vigedon.com/ – viagra jelly https://llecialisjaw.com/ – over the counter cialis https://jwcialislrt.com/ – free trial cialis https://jecialisbn.com/ – purchase cialis

    March 29, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. BrfgMile

    https://ljcialishe.com/ – generic cialis reviews https://cialisvja.com/ – cialis coupon https://viagraonlinejc.com/ – viagra for pulmonary hypertension https://viagratx.com/ – what are the side effect of viagra https://buycialisxz.com/ – does cialis lose effectiveness over time

    March 30, 2021 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – how to write thesis proposal thesis editing service thesis guidelines thesis consulting

    April 3, 2021 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. AbgcEncox

    [url=https://thesiswritingtob.com/]thesis phd[/url] thesis help services help me write a thesis help writing thesis statement

    April 3, 2021 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. liverpool đấu với chelsea

    Success in football betting requires lots of skills that a bettor must learn to understand.|The bet on Football is not only associated with the boys alone. Finally, no football bedroom would be complete without real footballs. This will show how much you aid the team that you love.|Now, a person are play football anytime, any place. There are many web-sites over the web where yow will discover the football live aspects. If ever the scarf heading to show that, then go for they.|Avoid using appreciate the control you've got when you are shopping for that tops e-commerce.


    April 5, 2021 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. หวย

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for
    your further write ups thanks once again.

    April 7, 2021 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.