Why is it important to serve variations on the same foods we eat frequently?
- It helps prevent picky eating – the more variety our kids see, the more variety they come to expect. Even cutting something a new way helps add variety.
- Different foods have different flavors, textures and nutrition – and changing it up helps develop our taste buds and nourish our bodies in different ways.
- Most importantly, new toppings can taste good! Mixing up the way in which we make PBJ opens us up to new flavors and eating experiences.
I have a confession. I love peanut butter, but I do not like jelly. Or jam. No, It’s not a “health” thing. I just don’t dig them. (I don’t like the taste of honey either. Or donuts, but that’s a whole different post.)
Way before I had kids I started using fruit and other toppings on my “PB&Js” because I enjoyed them so much more, and when I shared these ideas with my adult clients they realized how much they enjoyed the satisfying mouth feel and density of whole fruits on their PB&Js. I even tested smashed raspberries and almond butter sandwiches made with whole grain bread on a bunch of kids about 5 years before I had my first baby. Guess what? They LOVED it. Their parents were shocked. Give it a try! You and your kid may be fans, and you might start changing up how you PB&J!
What about jelly? Is it “bad?” Nope. Jelly is easy, convenient, and (to most people) tasty. It’s just nice to change what we eat from day to day – whether it’s the flavor or brand of jelly – so our kids learn to eat all sorts of foods over time.
Put peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter) on both bread pieces to help prevent bleeding of the fruit into the bread.
If your child is allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, sunflower seed butter or another seed-based butter may be a safe alternative. Also consider using granola butter or cream cheese.
Note: Avoid honey in infancy.