"My kid only eats PB&J!" You’re not alone in your frustration and concern, but you don’t need to worry too much. First of all, chances are this is just a phase. (We don’t know of a single adult who still refuses to eat anything other than PB&J.) But in the meantime, it is better for your child to consume a variety of foods in order to ensure that she gets an array of nutrients. Our step-by-step plan gradually prepares her to try new things:
Introduce new ingredients to the familiar. Add banana or apple slices to the sandwich. Instead of jam or jelly, use honey butter, fresh fruit, or dried fruit. We love almond butter with fresh raspberries and peanut butter with golden raisins.
Substitute one ingredient. Try another nut butter, such as sunflower, almond, or soy nut. Every nut contributes a different set of nutrients. You might consider almond butter with apricot jam, for instance, or cashew butter with blackberry jam.
Deconstruct the sandwich. Give her peanut butter in a small cup with carrot sticks, celery, and other cut-up veggies she likes. Add grapes and explain that jelly is made from them.
Do a taste twist on the old standby. Make a peanut butter pizza: Spread an English muffin, pita, or sandwich thin with peanut butter; sprinkle with shredded carrots. For a sweet variation, pair peanut butter spread on a large round tortilla or a pre-baked pizza crust with jam or thin slices of fruit. Then cut it into wedges.
Use the key ingredient in a whole new way. Combine peanut butter with a splash of soy sauce and rice vinegar; add water until the sauce is the texture of heavy cream. Toss the peanut sauce with leftover whole-grain pasta and some vegetables.
Photo Credit: Tara Donne