Pair a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich with these foods for a spectacular meal that your kids will truly enjoy.
PB&J is one of the most popular food items in kids’ lunchboxes. It’s super yummy, nutritious, and affordable.
These sandwiches are so easy to make, too. Who can blame moms and dads for packing PB&J for their kids?
But you can’t really call a PB&J sandwich a complete meal. It needs a few sides to make it more filling and nutritious.
Plus, it’s those additional accompaniments that add excitement to the meal. No kid wants to open their lunchbox and see just one sad sandwich!
There are a ton of fantastic foods that go well with PB&J, and I’m here to share them with you.
So without further ado, here are 17 side dishes that go fantastically well with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!
Soup and sandwich will always be a classic combination. And with tomato soup, nothing pairs better than a grilled cheese sandwich.
But if you want to switch things up a little, how about a PB&J? Sure, it won’t be as epic a partnership, but the flavor contrasts are still great.
Plus, tomato soup is nutritious, so you know it’s great for kids!
Comfort food plus another comfort food? Yes, please! This pairing is definitely something your kids will gobble up!
Did you know that chili and peanut butter sandwiches are an iconic pair in Indiana and Ohio?
It may come as a surprise if you’re not from those states, but the flavors actually work!
Why not take that pairing to another level by adding jelly into the picture? Together, PB&J will create a beautiful harmony of savory, sweet, and tart flavors.
3. Apple Slices
Apple slices add an extra dose of nutrition… and a crunchy contrast, too!
You can eat them on the side or dip them in peanut butter. Yum!
But as good as apples are, no one wants to eat browned, unattractive slices. They’re just not as appetizing!
Don’t worry, there’s a simple way to keep peeled apples from slicing: just drizzle them with lemon, orange, or lime juice. They’ll be all set!
Fun fact: Elvis Presley loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches. If it was good enough for the king of rock ‘n roll, it’s good enough for us.
Whether you serve a banana on the side or add slices as another layer to the sandwich, your kids will still have a delicious and healthy lunch.
This PB&J addition is also Elvis-approved!
Bacon is one of those foods that go well with everything. Not only that: it also makes dishes taste even better!
And such is also the case for PB&J. Creamy peanut butter, sweet and tart jelly, and crisp and smoky bacon? Tens across the board!
Do you like combining sweet and savory things? Well, this one’s for you. If you find PB&J too sweet, why not balance it out with a thin slice of Brie or cream cheese?
The tangy flavor of the cheese will do a fine job at contrasting all that sweetness. Plus, it adds elegance to the sandwich, to boot!
Chandler Bing of Friends once said, “Grapes, because who could fit a watermelon in their mouth?” And he was right!
Grapes are sweet, juicy, and bite-sized fruits that you can munch on anytime. It’s the perfect lunchbox item!
Just be sure to use a non-grape flavored jelly in your kid’s sandwich so that their lunch won’t be one dimensional.
Fresh strawberries, peanut butter, and jelly? Now, that’s my jam!
The tartness of these scarlet berries is the perfect flavor contrast to the sweet sandwich!
What I also love about pairing fresh fruit with PB&J is that it adds an organic contrast to the processed sandwich.
There’s a reason PB&J flavored popcorn is a thing. It’s because these two elements work so well together!
Popcorn adds crunch to this soft sandwich. The textural contrast is just absolutely delightful!
Apart from strawberries, blueberries also make a great side snack to PB&J. Oh, how I love that burst of flavor as I bite into these little guys!
Blueberries are also loaded with vitamins. In fact, they’re a better source of vitamins A and C than strawberries!
This one’s another lunch box favorite! Cheese and crackers with PB&J are such a nostalgic meal for me.
As a kid, PB&J, Ritz crackers, and cheddar cheese was one of the most common combos I had for lunch!
Tangent: do you still remember what design your lunchbox had? Mine was Hello Kitty!
12. Potato Chips
Salty chips plus PB&J, now that’s exciting.
Crisp and salty chips have their very own way of making PB&J even more special. No matter the brand or flavor, chips will always be perfect with the sandwich.
13. Trail Mix
If you want to give PB&J a healthy textural contrast, give your kids trail mix!
Dried fruits, nuts, and granola will also add crunch to the sandwich, but are a lot more nourishing than chips.
14. Baby Carrots
PB&J and carrots make a colorful and nutritious meal for the kids.
Aside from counterbalancing the soft texture of the sandwich, carrots will also give your kids that much needed energy boost in the afternoon.
Make sure to pack a separate container of peanut butter. Carrot sticks taste a lot better when dipped in the creamy spread.
You may be curious: why baby carrots, and not regular-sized ones? There’s no need to slice these guys, so they’re a lot easier to prep!
Pretzels add a crunchy and salty contrast to PB&J.
This pairing is a personal favorite of mine. I just love munching on crisp pretzels after biting into a PB&J!
Sometimes, I even put a few pieces of pretzels inside my sandwich! Does anyone else do this, too? Let me know in the comments!
PB&J may have hit it out of the park with the flavor. But the texture? Not so much. Unless you’re using toasted bread, the elements in the sandwich are all soft.
To contrast that one-noted sandwich, add seeds and ground nuts to the filling! Aside from providing crunch, they’ll also add nutrition to the meal.
Whether it’s chia or flax seeds, you can’t go wrong.
As for the nuts, don’t limit yourself to just peanuts! There are lots of nuts out there, so feel free to experiment.
Almonds and cashews both sound like a great idea!
17. Cold Glass of Milk
Last but not least, I have PB&J’s quintessential drink pairing. Can you think of a beverage that’s better with PB&J than milk? I’ll wait.
There is nothing like chugging down a cold glass of milk to wash down that sticky peanut butter.
The creaminess of the milk plus the sweetness of the sandwich is a match made in heaven!
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