The Simple Way To Upgrade Your PB&J

As a lunchbox staple, the humble PB&J is the stuff of nostalgia. Sweet and salty, it's the perfect balance of flavor without all the fuss of a complex recipe. Maybe that's why the typical American child will eat around 1,500 of the sandwiches before they turn 18, according to Thrillist. But the shared love of peanut butter and jelly doesn't end at adulthood — if anything, it only grows stronger!

PB&Js are affordable treats praised by kids and adults alike thanks to their tastiness along with their protein-rich ingredients. In fact, the National Peanut Board explains that a 2 tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein, which can give us fuel in our daily lives. However, to maximize the health benefits of the beloved PB&J, Healthline suggests sticking to wholegrain bread, 100% natural peanut butter, and jellies or jams without added sugars.

Constructing the sandwich is easy. Simply slather a layer of peanut butter on one slice of bread and a layer of jelly on another slice, and sandwich the two together — crust cutting is optional. But, if you want to add a bit of decadence and style to your PB&J, you might want to pull out your frying pan.

Give it a grill

Although you may believe that nothing could make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich any better than it already is, it's time to think again!

For an easy (and more importantly, delicious) upgrade, Land O'Lakes recommends grilling your PB&J. Simply make your sandwich as usual and then spread butter onto the outer sides of the bread before placing it on a preheated skillet. After toasting both sides for a few minutes, your bread will be golden brown with a bit of crisp on the outside, while the peanut butter will be warm and melted on the inside. And yes, it's truly mouth-watering.

If you're looking to turn it up yet another notch, why not substitute the peanut butter with another nut butter like walnut, almond, or pecan? The same goes for the fruit portion of your sandwich. Ditch the grape jelly and experiment with different types of jam. Whether it's peach preserves or strawberry and habanero jelly, you might be pleasantly surprised by the result.

Playing with texture and flavor can be quite fun. The Kitchn suggests layering in all sorts of ingredients from cream cheese to sliced brie, pomegranates, or marshmallow for a twist. To get a crunchier effect, they also recommend trying potato chips or even a few strips of crispy bacon. Whatever you create, make sure that the final step involves a quick trip to the frying pan for the ultimate PB&J upgrade!