eBrandAid’s Powerhouse PB&J Sandwich

Posted in Powerhouse Meals

You might call it “Old Reliable” or maybe just “quick and easy” or simply PB&J. It’s peanut butter and jelly – and it’s a lunchtime staple for millions of kids and adults alike.

When it comes to popular foods, this creamy-chewy combo of peanut butter and jelly is literally the next best thing since sliced bread!

Peanuts are healthy… so too are the fruits that get whirled into jelly. And you can’t go wrong with whole-grain breads. But before you get too comfortable with this ultimate convenience food, please check out the ingredients labels of your favorite brands of peanut butter, jelly and bread.

Following a full-on dissection of popular PB&J sandwich ingredients, our food sleuths are here to spread the word…

Jif Creamy Peanut Butter


Calories 190, fat 16g, 150mg sodium, 2g fiber, 3g sugar, 8g protein

INGREDIENTS: Made From Roasted Peanuts and Sugar, Contains 2 Percent or Less of: Molasses, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Soybean), Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed & Soybean), Mono-and Diglycerides and salt.

Smucker’s Concord Grape Jelly


Calories 50, 12g sugar

INGREDIENTS: Concord Grape Juice, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate.

Pepperidge Farm Hearty Slices Bread 7 Grain


INGREDIENTS: Unbromated Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Reduced Iron, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Wheat Bran, Yeast, Potato Flour, Contains 2 Percent or Less of: Soybean Oil, Wheat Gluten, Unbromated Stone Ground 100% Whole Wheat Flour, Rye Meal, Raisin Juice Concentrated, Honey, Salt, Ground Millet, Crushed Wheat, Flaxseed, Barley, Whole Wheat Flakes, Vegetable Mono and Diglycerides, Nonfat Milk (Adds a Trivial Amount of Cholesterol), Sugar, Wheat Protein Isolate, Yellow Corn Grits, Oat Bran, Oat Flour, Yellow Corn Flour, Oats, Wheat Germ, Rice Bran, Calcium Propionate (to Retard Spoilage), Soy Lecithin, Amaranth Bran Flour and Enzymes.

Decoding the Fine Print

It’s sad to say, but we’re a bit uncomfortable with our beloved comfort food.

The food sleuths found far more than just nuts, fruits and grains. The leading brands contained lots of junk ingredients too!

  • The Jif peanut butter contains added sugar, added fats and even trans fats (eek)!
  • The Smucker’s jelly has two added sugars!
  • And, the Pepperidge Farm “Hearty 7 Grain” sliced bread is actually made up of mostly refined grains that have little nutritional value!

When made with these mega-popular brands, your Old Reliable is little more than a highly processed, sugar-laden meal with most of the nutrition being replaced with cheap additives to boost flavor. Okay, so now what?

Savvy shoppers need convenience and good health; your food sleuths deliver both!

Good News: We have created the eBrandAid PB&J Guidelines and whipped up a BestBrands version that will turn this comfort food into a powerhouse meal that packs a nutty nutritional punch!

eBrandAid PB&J Guidelines:

  • Buy only 100% whole-grain bread: Whole grains are a good source of B vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and fiber, as well as other valuable antioxidants.
  • Buy all-natural peanut butter: Studies show that eating peanut butter can lower cholesterol and decrease your risk for heart disease. It’s rich in vitamins, high in fiber, and a good source of protein. And it makes you feel fuller longer, which is a great tool for weight control.
  • Buy jelly made from fruit with no added sugar. Jelly is no superfood on its own. Choosing brands without added sugars is definitely the way to go. And to really up the ante in the powerhouse meal department, replace the jelly with either sliced bananas or apples!


Finding the brands that use all-natural ingredients can be challenging. We managed to uncover the best of the best that can be found in most grocery stores nationwide. So, you can stop searching and start shopping for these handpicked favorites!

Peanut Butter:
Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter Creamy
Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter Crunchy
Smart Balance Omega Peanut Butter Creamy
Smart Balance Omega Peanut Butter Crunchy

Note: Smucker’s Natural peanut butter is our favorite because it contains only peanuts and salt; but it does have oil on top that creates a different consistency. If you or your family members are picky eaters go with Smart Balance — it has the same consistency as Jif minus the junk ingredients.

Polaner All Fruit Spreadable – All Flavors
Smucker’s Simply 100% Fruit Spread – All Flavors

We love these brands because they’re easy to find, they taste great, and won’t break the bank!

Pepperidge Farm 100% Natural, 100% Whole Wheat
Arnold Natural 100% Whole Wheat
Sara Lee Hearty and Delicious 100% Whole Wheat

These breads are made with whole grains without refined sugars, artificial sweeteners or preservatives.

Now that you’ve got your natural peanut butter, jelly with no added sugars, and 100% whole-grain bread, you can put together a sandwich that is a comfort food and that’s super healthy too!

Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.

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In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.

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