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Recipe Makeover: Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

February 29, 2012
Peanut butter and jelly bars can still have all the flavor while using healthier ingredients. (Photo by: alanagkelly)

Considering it’s National Peanut Butter Day (yes, there is such a day!), Framed Cooks’ Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars seemed like the perfect recipe for this week’s makeover.  I’ve swapped in better-for-you ingredients that boost nutrients while leaving out harmful pesticides, GMOs, carcinogens and other toxins. The result? A healthier yet still indulgent bar made with kid-friendly comfort foods.

Better butter:  Replace conventional butter with butter made from the raw milk of grass-fed cows.  (If you’re allergic to dairy, substitute organic extra-virgin coconut oil for the butter.)

Organic, lower-glycemic sweetener:  Replace processed white sugar with organic coconut palm sugar, a more nutritive option that can help stave off sugar-induced energy crashes.

Organic, free-range eggs: Boost flavor and nutrients with organic free-range eggs from pasture-raised hens; hormone- and antibiotic-free eggs from cage-free hens are also a good choice. (Hens raised in crowded battery cages have a greater chance of producing eggs with salmonella, offer few nutrients and often have a bland, fishy taste.)

Organic peanut butter:  Skip the hydrogenated oils (trans fats) found in conventional peanut butter and opt for this healthier choice.  Better yet, look for freshly ground organic peanut butter at your local farmer’s market or health food store.

Spelt flour: Increase nutrients by using spelt flour in lieu of all-purpose flour.  Unlike other grains, even conventionally grown spelt is not commonly sprayed with pesticides or other synthetic chemicals.

Preserves:  Commercial jams and jellies are often made with processed cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup.  Your healthiest and most flavorful bet is to make your own organic fruit preserves, but if time is of the essence, opt for 100% all-fruit organic preserves from a producer at your local farmer’s market — or choose a brand like Crofter’s Organic Fruit Spread.

Organic peanuts:  Swap in organic peanuts for conventionally grown peanuts, which are covered in pesticides with known cancer-causing carcinogens and other harmful toxins.

Cooking spray:  Replace cooking sprays made from genetically modified vegetable oils (canola, soybean and corn oils) with organic extra-virgin coconut oil.


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