The Hungry Swimmer: Crunchy PB&J

by Jorie Caneta 2

July 09th, 2021 Hungry Swimmer

Are you team smooth or crunchy peanut butter? For all the team crunchy PB lovers, I have a feeling that this Crunchy Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich is going to be a little controversial, but adding a layer of granola elevates the classic PB&J sandwich experience. I love a good PB&J, but sometimes the combination of peanut butter and jelly squished between two pieces of bread is just too soft and gooey for my taste. The extra layer of granola adds the perfect amount of crunch and overall satisfying experience.

I know that crunchy PB would solve the gooey PB&J problem, but I am on team smooth PB (who’s with me?!). Hear me out, I use peanut butter in a lot of recipes and sometimes I’d prefer to not have peanut chunks when I’m trying to make a smooth and creamy sauce. Not to forget, crunchy PB is just hard to spread out on toast. That’s why I love smooth PB, it looks more appealing and easier to work with.

Not only do we need to consider crunchy vs smooth textures when choosing peanut butters, it is also important to look at the ingredients in the peanut butters. Traditional peanut butter typically contains peanuts, added sugar, salt, and hydrogenated vegetable oils, which makes the texture smoother and prevents the oils from separating out. However, traditional PB has more saturated fats than natural peanut butter, which only contains two ingredients: peanuts and salt. When comparing nutrition labels, natural peanut butter has more protein and less saturated fats (just by one gram) compared to the traditional PBs. It is normal to see a layer of oil on the surface of natural PB in a brand new jar, but give it a good stir and you should be good to go!

Whether you are on team crunchy or team smooth, this crunchy PB&J gives you the best of both worlds! Here’s how to make it:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pieces of whole grain bread
  • Smooth, natural peanut butter
  • Strawberry preserves
  • Granola (my favorite granola right now is Safe & Fair-Strawberry Cheesecake)

How to make:

  1. Take two pieces of whole grain bread and spread smooth, natural peanut butter on both pieces of bread.
  2. Next, add a layer of strawberry preserves atop the peanut butter on one of the two pieces of bread.
  3. On the other piece of bread, add enough granola so that there are no visible empty spaces of peanut butter.
  4.  Put the two pieces of bread together and enjoy! ✨chef’s kiss✨

The PB&J is a classic, but it is a blank canvas. There are a lot of fun and nutritious ways to power up your PB&J:

  • Fresh fruit: add in apple, strawberry or banana slices for extra fiber and vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to form collagen which supports healthy tendon and ligaments.
  • Honey: swap the fruit jelly for a drizzle of honey for a floral taste. Honey also contains flavonoids and phenolic acids which act like antioxidants.
  • Looking for more savory options?
    • Try swapping out granola for crushed pretzels
    • Ditch the jelly for pickles: spread PB on both pieces of bread and add dill pickles slices or chips which as salt and potassium (great for preventing dehydration)
  • Seeds: Sprinkle a bit of chia seeds or ground flaxseeds for additional protein, healthy omega-3 fats, fiber and vitamins/minerals.
  • Portable PB&J options: Try substituting fresh blueberries or pomegranate seeds instead of jelly! These won’t add moisture until popped so it will prevent the bread from becoming sticky and soggy which is great if your sando has to travel.

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11 months ago

I would substitute the bread with whole grain waffles! This was my 4am breakfast before practice and it never failed to disappoint.

Reply to  OhMiggy
11 months ago

okay why have I never done that before!? That sounds so good!

About Jorie Caneta

Jorie Caneta is a Registered Dietitian, professional snacker and wanna-be baker. She holds a Bachelors in Nutrition Science and Masters in Business from Texas A&M University, where she was a proud member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Swim team from 2016-2019. Over the 18 years as a swimmer, Jorie developed …

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