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The Healthy Gourmand: A New Twist on a Favorite Lunchtime Standby

By Sandy Barnes
Berthoud Recorder

Whether at home or school, most youngsters and their mothers often rely on a simple favorite: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s quick, simple and fairly nutritious.

However, delicious and even healthier alternatives exist in the form of other butters like sunflower and almond. And you don’t have to go to a special organic grocery store to find them. Most local grocery stores carry alternative butters, usually located near the extensive peanut butter section.

I especially like sunflower butter because of its mild flavor and relatively reasonable price. Paired with a fruit spread instead of sugar-laden jelly on whole-grain bread, a sunflower butter sandwich is makes for a downright sunny lunch with a minimum of carbohydrates. A piece of fresh fruit and a container of yogurt add nutrition to a lunchtime meal. (Even though yogurt is cultured, it would be best to place it in an insulated container if taken to school.)

Almond butter is wonderful too, if a bit pricier than the sunflower variety. And it has a healthy type of oil and a decent amount of protein.

For older children, a creative alternative would be a three- to four-ounce serving of almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds, perhaps with whole wheat crackers, fruit and yogurt.

While most seeds, including sunflower and pumpkin, are considered healthy, some varieties of nuts have undesirable types of oils and lower levels of protein than others. The aforementioned almonds and walnuts with omega-three oils are the best options, from this standpoint.

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<p>The makings of a good and simple lunch, whether for home or school: sunflower butter, organic blackberry fruit spread, fresh fruit and yogurt.</p>

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