Today would be Elvis Presley’s 76th birthday so we are going to have one of his favorites- a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich! Granted, it will not be the same as Elvis’ recipe, he died at age 42 and I’m assuming his diet contributed in some part to his death.
His chef used a whole stick of butter and let the white bread soak it up. We aren’t going to do that and will still have a great tasting sandwich.
Healthier PB and B – paying attention to the ingredients can make this MUCH healthier. This is not a low-calorie sandwich so don’t eat too many!
Choose a sugar-free natural peanut butter made with just peanuts and salt–a 2-tbsp. serving only has 90 mg of sodium–or made with just peanuts, if you prefer. Peanut butter is rich in healthy fats, which should equal 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories, according to MayoClinic.com. A serving of peanut butter has 16 g of total fat, of which only 2.5 g are saturated fat; 4.5 g are polyunsaturated fat; and 8 g are monounsaturated fat, which lowers cholesterol and prevents heart disease. Watch the Nu Val scores as peanut butter can vary greatly in nutritional benefits.
Whole Grain Bread
Use whole grain bread to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Whole grain breads are richer in vitamins, minerals and fiber than breads made with refined grains. Breads made with whole grains provide a steady, sustained source of energy because they’re digested more slowly than breads made from refined grains. The refinement process produces bread that is absorbed rapidly during digestion, creating sharp spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels that may lead to type 2 diabetes. When shopping for whole grain bread, look for a whole grain–such as whole wheat or whole rye–listed as the first ingredient. I also like to use the new sandwich thins, only 100 calories each and there is usually one brand on sale.
Bananas go well with peanut butter, and they’re a healthier choice than jam or jelly, which is mostly sugar. Bananas are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and manganese, and a very good source of potassium and vitamin B6. Half of a medium banana has 50 calories, zero fat, 14 g of carbohydrates–of which 7 g are sugar–1.5 g of fiber and 211 mg of potassium. Go ahead and use ripe bananas. I had heard that they have more calories as they ripen but that’s not true. Caloric content of a fruit cannot increase if it is no longer attached to its tree. As a banana ripens, much of the starch converts to sugar, so even with the same calories, the perception is that a sweeter food like a ripe banana will be more “fattening”. Yes, a ripe banana has a bit more sugar, but not enough to cause concern. (and still WAY less sugar than a doughnut!)
Grilled PB & B
Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat, and add a bit of olive or canola oil. Yes, you can also use a dab of butter if you like. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter onto one side of each slice of bread. Place banana slices onto the peanut buttered side of one slice, top with the other slice and press together firmly. Fry the sandwich until golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side.
This can also be made in a panini maker or George Foreman grill. Variations: sprinkle some cinnamon on the bananas, studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.
If you are in a hurry- make some toast. As soon as it pops up, get the peanut butter on it so it melts. Add the bananas. This is a favorite bedtime snack when I have to teach at the Y at 5am.