I hate packing my lunch. It’s usually around 5:40 am and the last thing I want to think about is chopping lettuce or dealing with deli meat. And I’m a morning person.
I’ve gone through phases with my lunch routine. Last school year I was in a big not-eat-a-formal-lunch lunch mode. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever skipped a meal in my entire life, no exaggeration. My parents love to tell stories of me starting to shake with excitement when they would feed me as an infant. [some things never change] Eating is just something I can’t comprehend forgetting to do.
However, with my #TeacherLife (#lovemyjob), I have gotten in the habit of grazing throughout the day whenever I don’t have kiddos in my room. Last year my not-a-lunch-lunch routine went as follows: greek yogurt (class) apple &peanuts (class) carrots. While I never went hungry, I never felt super satisfied.
This was more exaggerated this year when I began doing lunch duty. Oh lunch duty. Do you remember your 6th grade cafeteria? It still smells exactly the same way. Here’s the problem: when you enter that cafeteria with a belly full of baby carrots the hot lunch actually starts making my mouth water. I knew something desperately needed to change. I don’t even like chicken patties.
Recently I’ve taken notes from my ‘bringers’ and thrown my lunch back to a classic. Peanut Butter and Jelly. If there was a school lunch hall of fame- PB&J deserves a star there. But how does PB&J stack up from a grown up perspective?
I make my sandwich on hearty whole wheat bread. This not only gives me some stay-full-fiber, but also complex carbohydrates which help provide steady energy. Bread gets a bad rap because of it’s processed counterparts, but there really is no reason to fear a well made whole grain slice.
We then layer on the peanut butter (because what kind of animal does jelly first?). I choose a natural peanut butter. Would almond butter be a little better? Sure. Would it taste like my childhood? Nope. Peanut butter it is. Besides, no one has ever heard of an ABJ. I digress.
Peanuts are a fabulous source of protein which helps fight off hunger. They also provide a healthy dose of fats, which is essential for keeping you feeling satisfied and has been shown to help fight belly fat.
Lastly we have the jelly. If this was my momma’s style, it’d be Welch’s Concord Grape Jam (NOT jelly. It’s NOT the same). However, right now I am utterly obsessed with the homemade strawberry jam my future mother-in-law gave us. It’s the star of this sandwich at the moment. Although jellies and jams are high in sugar, fruits offer nutrients that help fight disease. The small dose of simple sugar in jelly helps give me a pop of energy on the spot, which I need for recess patrol.
In total, my PBJ clocks in under 350 calories and provides far more happiness than my wimpy collection of grazing snacks that used to fill my lunch bag. I’m even giving bonus points because this classic doesn’t require morning refrigeration, either. Not too shabby PBJ, not too shabby at all. Who knew that our moms had it right all along?
…Just don’t forget to pop it in a tupperware container. No one likes seeing their jelly through the soggy bread.