I'll admit it...I love peanut butter and jelly. However, there is no way I'd eat the same PB&J that I did back before I knew better. Nowadays, everything that goes in my mouth needs to contribute significant nutritional value or there is no reason to eat it in the first place.
Old School-white bread, processed pb, store bought jelly
New School-toasted Ezekial or sprouted grain bread, organic pb with reduced sugar and salt, chia seed jam
The chia seed jam is my newest love and so easy to make. All you need us is a bag of chia seeds, berries of your choice, and a little water. I put stevia in the picture, but honestly, the berries were sweet enough that I ended up not using it. If you need something a little sweeter, then a sprinkle of stevia should do the trick.
Use 1 tbsp of the chia seeds per person and a handful of berries. Finely chop up your berries and mix them in a bowl with the seeds. The chia seeds soak up the juice from the berries and naturally thicken the mixture (thats why no pectin is required). You may have to put a few drops of water or a splash of o.j. if the mixture gets too thick. Let this sit about twenty minutes. After that, spread it on peanut butter toast, top off your yogurt with it, or eat it by itself. It is so good. I mixed it in my oatmeal this morning and loved it.
Now for a nutritional comparison for 1tbsp of each:
H-E-B More Fruit Raspberry Spread (this is what I used to use)
Vitamin C 6%
0% calcium, 0% fiber, 0% iron, 0% protein
Overall, just a non-food with processed sugar
Chia Seed Jam (chia seeds plus 10 raspberries)
Vitamin C 8%
Fiber 7g!- (1 serving of Metemucil only has 3) this is equal to about 25% of your recommended intake of fiber
Chia seeds are quite the little powerhouse. Yes, there are more calories and fat in the seed version, but those come from healthy omega 3s that your body needs. Plus, there is less sodium and sugar and more vitamins and minerals. Did you notice the fiber?! I'd much rather eat the seeds than drink fiber powder or FiberOne bars (those things are lethal).
Here are even more benefits of chia seeds:
1. Aid in weight loss- the outside that absorbs liquid forms a gel like coating increasing its size and weight. It will help you feel full faster and stay full longer.
2. Balance blood sugar-chia seeds help slow the process of starches turning into sugar and helps your food provide a steady stream of energy rather than spiking.
3. Helps with digestion- the insoluble fiber of the chia seed aids in keeping the digestion process smooth (if you know what I mean) while the soluble fiber maintains hydration in the colon
4. Bake with less fat- baking with chia gel (just seeds mixed with water) allows you to cut the amount of oil or butter in half and replace it with gel. Plus, the antioxidants will help keep your baked goodies fresher for longer
5. Used as a natural thickener- chia seeds take on the flavor of whatever you mix it in. You can add them to soup, to sauce, etc. All the benefits without any flour or cornstarch.
I found my bag of seeds in the grain aisle of our local grocery store, but they are available online from Amazon and other retailers.
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