11 Peanut Butter and Jam Healthy School Lunch Alternatives

Peanut Allergy

Because many children cannot eat peanuts or peanut butter, parents and other responsible adults have had to come up with peanut butter and jam alternatives. Although we've come a long way (thankfully!) from the days when white bread, bologna, and processed cheese was the staple lunch sandwich, we still treasure good ol' PB&J.

That's why we have come up with some peanut butter and jam alternatives that avoid the peanuts but still provide the protein and some of the textures and flavors reminiscent of what makes PB&J so delightful.

Read about the case against peanuts

What makes a sandwich?

Although we are focusing on avoiding peanuts because of allergies, we also want to address a more common issue: gluten. Therefore, be aware that any of the following peanut butter and jam alternatives can be made with gluten-free bread, tortillas, rolls, buns, or bagels.

We also want to mention the many nut butters that can replace peanut butter. You have a choice between the following nutty (and seedy) choices:

  • Almond butter
  • Brazil nut butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Hazelnut butter
  • Macadamia butter
  • Pecan butter
  • Pistachio butter
  • Pumpkin seed butter
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Soy nut butter
  • Walnut butter

Peanut butter and jam alternatives

The following combinations are suggestions. You may choose to switch to another nut or seed butter for any of these sandwich ideas. Ask your kids to get in on the action and let them create their own nutty or seedy sandwich alternatives!

Read about not just for kids: nut butters are protein-rich and heart-healthy

Cashew butter: Now Foods makes some unusual infused cashew butters with ginger wasabi, mango chili, and salted caramel. You might consider these alternatives:

  • Cashew butter with ginger wasabi and sliced fresh pineapple
  • Cashew butter with mango chili and dried coconut
  • Cashew butter with salted caramel and apple slices

Almond butter: Available as raw, roasted, creamy or chunky. Try:

  • Roasted almond butter with sliced bananas and strawberries
  • Almond butter wraps: combine ½ cup almond butter, ¾ cup finely chopped apple, 1/3 cup shredded carrot, and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed. Spread on your favorite tortilla and roll-up.

Peanut Butter Alternatives

Other nut and seed butter ideas:

  • Hazelnut butter and sliced fresh pears
  • Walnut butter and pureed pumpkin
  • Macadamia butter and mashed fresh figs
  • Pistachio butter and finely chopped chicken
  • Pecan butter and sliced fresh peaches
  • Pumpkin seed butter, sliced turkey, and tomato slices
  • Sunflower butter and mashed roasted carrots
  • Soy nut butter and dark chocolate chips
  • Brazil nut butter, a drizzle of raw honey, and red pepper flakes

Bottom line

These peanut butter and jam alternatives can make it easy to say goodbye to the traditional PB&J. Try a variety of bread, rolls, tortillas, bagels, and other bready items to make these sandwiches a real treat.

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Read this next: 6 Back-To-School Tips For Healthier Kids


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Deborah is a freelance health writer who is passionate about animals and the environment. She has authored, co-authored, and written more than 50 books and thousands of articles on a wide range of topics. Currently, she lives in Tucson, Arizona.