Even if you are a regular ol’ Rachel Ray or a Venkatesh Bhat in the the kitchen and slaying it with your culinary capabilities, there are days when you have just about enough energy to make a PB&J sandwich.
Say, you build a standard PB& J sandwich. You spread the standard serving size of 2 Tbsp of Peanut butter (200 calories) and 2 Tbsp of jam (100 calories) on 2 slices of bread (200 calories). Total calories for just 1 sandwich = 500 calories.
That’s a lot of calories for a meager sandwich. You could whittle the proportion of PB&J by half, but you are spreading the PB rather thin and the bread seems to taste bland without the flavors permeating the layers.
The sandwich also feels dry and your throat feels parched (nenja adekarthu..as you say in tamil) as you swallow it. Unless you dip it in some milk to make it softer, you feel thirsty after eating the sandwich.
So, obviously… we have to upgrade a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich!!
Why is Peanut Butter so caloric?
Peanut butter is just peanuts roasted and ground up until you get a thick paste. This is bottled and sold in jars. So, a visual example is – a large handful of peanuts on one hand = tablespoon of peanut butter on the other. It is a condensed food source, also touted as a great protein source, a great workout snack, etc – all true…but it is also a high calorie snack.
Now, think of Peanut butter versus our Indian peanut chutney or thogayal, which is ground with water and made into a paste nonetheless. Now, this paste is a suspension of water, protein and fat rather than just protein and fat.
But peanut butter manufacturers cannot add water to their product or else it will spoil. Once you buy it, you can’t add water to the jar either or you will have to use it up like a refrigerated thogayal in 3-4 days. So, why not add water right before use?
What about the Jelly?
It seems wet already, right…so, it should be ok? Unfortunately, no. While jams have high moisture content, the moisture is bound to the sugar in the jam, thereby making it unavailable for microbial growth. So, the high sugar is a requisite for the jam. So, while the product requires high sugar to survive, high consumption can cause spikes to your insulin levels. You could buy low-sugar jams, but they usually have other issues like preservatives, strange after taste, etc.
Add 1 Tbsp of Peanut butter and 1 Tbsp of jam to a small blender and add 3 tsp of water to it. Blend it, and you have yourself a thick paste.
This is easy to spread and doesn’t feel dry when going down your mouth. It is a mighty tasty, finger-licking sauce that you could dip the bread in and feel more satiated.
Using water, we have now stretched out the concentrated forms of Peanut Butter and Jam to more saucy consistency. Since we are adding the water right before eating, we are not worried about food spoilage.
This is such a simple trick, but an effective one. If you can save 100 calories from 1 tbsp of PB and 50 calories from 1 tbsp of jelly without feeling deprived, that’s a win in my book. 150 calories is roughly the equivalent of a 30 minutes brisk walk, so why not use it wisely?
This, obviously, is not applicable, if you are travelling with PB&J sandwich. The whole point of travelling with food is to ensure it does not spoil. You also don’t want to end up with soggy bread at your destination.
The other caveat, is that, a peanut butter sandwich does not make a complete, satisfying meal, unless you are a child. Even 3 tsp of water is not going to do the trick. You are missing fiber, vegetables and fruits in the meal. You may be super tired, but having a side salad, soup or even a bowl of fruits along with the sandwich will fill you up better.
Being prepared with a healthy side meal before you sit down with your PB&J sandwich can ensure that you stay healthy even on no-cooking days.
What do you think? What are your tips and tricks to shave calories in your everyday life? Share your thoughts in the comments section or with the community in the blog’s Facebook Page. I eagerly look forward to hearing them!!!