Upgrade your PB & J

As I stand at the kitchen counter reminding myself to breathe, my one year old daughter is alternating between throwing tiny pieces of toast onto the floor, and spreading avocado in her hair.  Feeding children isn't easy.  

It's no wonder peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a go-to dinner for many busy families.  And you know what, that's okay.  Especially if you upgrade your ingredients.

Peanut Butter - Choose an unsweetened peanut butter with little or no salt added.  I use the 365 organic brand from Whole Foods but you can also grind your own at most Whole Foods stores.   Look for one with less than five ingredients and make sure you can pronounce all of them.  

Almond Butter - Almond butter is another excellent option.  The Whole Foods 365 brand has an unsweetened almond butter with only one ingredient - dry roasted almonds.  Here's an article from Livestrong about some of the benefits of Almond Butter.  

Jelly - Look for a jelly or jam with no sugar added that contains only a handful of ingredients.  Personally, I find it difficult to find jelly that lives up to my standards so I usually slice strawberries or bananas into thin pieces or blend my own by tossing some fruit into a blender with just a little bit of water.   

Bread - Use a whole wheat bread from the bakery section of your supermarket.  Ask them about the ingredients they use and look for ones with whole wheat flour, water, yeast, and not much else.  Beware that some bakeries add honey to their whole wheat products.  If you're cooking for children, honey is not recommended for those under 12 months of age due to the possibility of infant botulism, a rare but serious condition that you can read more about here.  

Pair your PB & J with some carrot sticks or your veggie of choice and you have yourself a meal.