Life without peanut butter

Because my 10-year-old is allergic to peanuts, I had to give up one of my favorite vegetarian lunches, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I tried soy nut butter, but it has a distinct soy flavor that I found to be somewhat unpleasant. I even tried chocolate soy butter, but it was pretty vile, not too surprising, I guess. Other nut butters (almond, cashew, . . .) are out as Eli is equally allergic to tree nuts. Then a year or two ago, a friend introduced me to Sun Butter, which is made of ground sunflower seeds. It doesn’t really taste like peanut butter, but it has a pleasant flavor in its own right and goes well with strawberry jam. So, now I have a new default lunch, Wasa bread with Sun Butter and strawberry jam.

Anyway, it’s funny that I like peanut butter and jelly so much, since I absolutely hated both peanut butter and jelly as a kid. In fact, throughout elementary school, I had a plain cream cheese sandwich on white bread pretty much every day. I liked plain mayonnaise sandwiches also, but I only got those at home when I made them myself. Every now and then, my mom would throw in a tuna salad or egg salad sandwich, but I really preferred the cream cheese.

Fortunately, I do not have to worry about packing lunches for my kids most days, because our school lunch program is pretty good. The kids have access to a salad bar and fresh fruit everyday, and menu choices such as chicken nuggets and french fries have been removed. Even the pizza is whole wheat. Unfortunately, this is not the norm. Here is a link to an entertaining video on school lunches produced by high school students. It demonstrates pretty clearly what is wrong with school lunch programs today, and also what some districts are doing to improve. I’ll write more about school lunches in my next post.

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