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You Ask, I Answer: Jelly

Nutritionally speaking, what is the “best” jelly to pair with my natural peanut butter?

I buy Smucker’s “Simply Fruit” blackberry because it seems to have less sugar and a reasonable amount of calories (40 per Tbsp.).

Are all jellies considered discretionary calories, though?

— Ali (last name unknown)
Via the blog

Great question!

Jellies indeed fall into the discretionary “fats, sugars, and condiments” category.

Scary condiment sidenote — current government guidelines make it perfectly legitimate for a school to claim the ketchup it serves with its fries as the “vegetable of the day”.

Now that we’re all done cringing and looking repulsed, let’s return to Ali’s question.

If you go by MyPyramid, jelly falls in the narrow tip at the top reserved for foods that are nutritionally insignificant.

It makes sense. After all, jelly is basically sugar.

It is not a source of fiber, vitamins, or minerals (unless these are added synthetically), so it does not compare to the members of the “fruit” group.

Additionally, the standard amount of jelly people eat in a day (a tablespoon or two) isn’t enough to contribute much to the diet.

This is not to say all jellies are the same.

Avoid ones with high fructose corn syrup.

Instead, reach for low-sugar varieties.

I’m not a big fan of the Smuckers Simply Fruit line of products because I find their name to be misleading.

One would think a jar of Simply Fruit apricot jelly contains nothing but mashed apricots, for example.

Not so. This line is made from a combination of fruit syrups and lemon juice concentrates.

I would instead recommend their low-sugar varieties that clock in at 25 calories and a mere 5 grams of sugar per tablespoon (that’s roughly as much sugar as a small pack of sugar at a coffeeshop).

Sugar-free jellies are also an option, but there’s something about the thought of fruit and Splenda getting intimate with each other that gives me the willies.

I personally do not like jelly, so from a taste standpoint, I am going on assumptions and not actual experiences.

To make your sandwich even healthier, drop the “J” and add another “B” — tried and true sliced bananas!


One Comment

  1. ali said on January 31st, 2008

    thanks for the insight! :o)

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