Just because you’re all grown up now doesn’t mean you’ve outgrown craving this childhood classic.

By Beth Lipton
September 30, 2015
Travis Rathbone

Did you love peanut butter and jelly as a kid? Just because you’re all grown up now doesn’t mean you’ve outgrown craving this childhood classic. It’s still as delicious (and easy to put together) as ever. That said, we don't blame you for wanting a more, ahem, sophisticated sandwich. For tips on making a grown-up PB&J, read on.

Jam on it

Though they contain some of the goodness of whole fruits, jams and jellies can be sugar bombs. Here are some alternative ways to get the flavor without all the excess sweet stuff.

Use fruit

A la the recipe pictured above, another idea is to skip the jelly altogether and just use whole fruit. Sliced apples, strawberries or bananas work great, or you can fold a few whole raspberries into nut butter before spreading.

Make your own

Sugar is actually a very important ingredient in making a fruit preserve; it acts as a gel that holds the jam or jelly together. However, you can make a far healthier version that’s lower in sugar with a secret weapon: chia seeds. With the nutrient-packed seeds as a binding agent, you only need to add sweetener for flavor (so taste the fruit before adding), and it can be a less refined sweetener, like raw honey or maple syrup. Here are easy instructions for making chia jam.

Spread on an alternative nut butter

The easiest thing to do to punch-up your PB&J is replace the peanut butter with something even more delicious. Almond butter is an obvious choice because it too is protein- and fiber-rich, and a great source of healthy fats, vitamin E, and magnesium. Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter ($11 for 10 oz, amazon.com) is the smoothest kind we’ve tried, with luscious almond flavor.

Looking for something sweeter? Look to a chocolate-hazelnut butter. This is a sometimes treat because it is higher in sugar than other nut butters, but that's why we like Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter ($10.20 for 10 1.15-oz. squeeze packs, amazon.com). Compared to most chocolate hazelnut spreads, which have a whopping 21 grams of sugar per serving, Justin's only has 8 grams.

Lastly, the coconut craze comes for your PB&J! Raw coconut butter gets you all the goodness of coconut in a super-convenient spread. Fantastic on sandwiches (especially with raspberry jam), or licked right off a spoon. Not that we'd ever do that. Try Artisana 100% Organic Raw Coconut Butter ($16.80 for 16 oz., amazon.com).

Think beyond sandwich

When we say “PB&J,” no doubt the first thing you think is “sandwich.” But bread slices aren’t the only way to get your fix. Try these options instead:


Enjoy your nut butter and fruit for breakfast with a Cherry-Almond Smoothie, Peanut Butter, Banana and Flax Smoothie, or a Banana-Nut Smoothie Bowl


This idea is just crazy enough to work! Blogger Sarah Schaap of A Whisk and Two Wands dreamt up a way to make a PBJ quesadilla.

Overnight oats

Combine trendy overnight oats with classic PB&J, and you’ll be flying out of bed to enjoy this bowlful from Fit Foodie Finds.