The Best Natural Peanut Butter {with Marriage and Menu Monday linky}

Today, I am not bringing you a recipe.  Mostly, because I forgot to take pictures of all the things I cooked this week.  Haha  But, I do want to mention an easy way to add healthier options into your family’s diet, without breaking the bank.

I don’t buy all organic, all the time.  Right now, it just doesn’t fit into out budget, but I do buy what I can.  When I can.  And that is all any of us can ask for, right?  To do our best.

So, I am going to start with my very favorite, never gets old and I could eat it at every meal, food- PEANUT BUTTER!  haha

Note: My kids probably have peanut butter once a day, in some shape or form.  Lexie doesn’t eat eggs (not matter how I disguise them… it’s a texture thing.  no squishy foods allowed).  So often times I smear peanut butter on her toast, sourdough pancakes, or whole wheat waffles. This adds protein and good fats to what would otherwise be just complex carbs.

My favorite peanut butter is Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter.

Best Natural Penut Butter- no additives, sugar, or dangerous chemicals

Why, you ask?   The ingredients: peanuts, less than 1% salt.  That is why.

It is absolutely the best peanut butter I have ever tried.  I can’t eat regular Jiff or Peter Pan anymore- all I can taste is overly sweetened chemicals and unhealthy oils with no real flavor or texture.  *blah*

Smucker’s Natural has no unhealthy vegetable oils, no refined sugar, and no chemical additives.  It is just peanuts and a little salt.  And man, is it good.

The best part is, you don’t have to go to a specialty grocery store to get it!  I find mine at our local Walmart, it is usually on the very top shelf of the peanut butter section.  You do however, need to stir the peanut butter, and then keep it in the fridge.

This is something, that although it isn’t organic, I can feel good feeding it to my family, especially my young children who don’t need any more refined sugars in their little systems than necessary.

If you aren’t quite as ready to make the leap to just peanuts and salt for your favorite spread, you can try Skippy’s Naturals.  This peanut butter contains: peanuts, palm oil, and salt.  Again, no sugar, and no bad vegetable oils.  Palm oil is a relatively healthy oil, and many people use it in place of coconut and olive oil in recipes.  This is the brand my husband prefers, so I buy it just for him, and sometimes the kids have it.

Buying a natural peanut butter is a small, healthy change that isn’t going to break the bank!  I didn’t link to these products on amazon because right now they are outrageously expensive.  But at you local grocery store they should run between $4-$5 for a big jar.

Try it, and let me know what you think.  I bet your family will like it!


Traveling: On the Road with Healthy Menu Options {and M&M link-up}

We just came back from a wonderful family road trip- the husband and I loaded up the 3 year old and 16 month old, and hit the road for the beautiful mountains of Colorado.

I’ve not ever been skiing, or to CO. My husband has been a few times. It was amazing, and did I mention beautiful? The mountains were breathtaking!

Rocky Mountains

We are so blessed to be able to travel for a little family vacation. And just because we are traveling doesn’t mean we go crazy with junk food. We try very hard to stick within a reasonable budget, and eat healthy snacks. {which exclude fast food!}

We see it as, the more money we save while on the road, the more we can enjoy spending on nice meals and fun for the kids, once we get where we’re going.

So what does our road trip food look like?

It looks like several pre made peanut butter sandwiches, 4-8 oranges, 3-4 apples, a container of clean grapes, a few bananas, and a bag of nuts or trail mix.

Then we pack a small cooler with Lexie’s rice milk and Mister’s coconut milk, along with lots of bottled water. In that cooler we usually add lunch meat, and anything else that needs to be kept cool or cold. The cooler goes in the very back of the van or suv with our luggage.

When we stop for gas we may grab a few snacks, like more nuts or pretzels.

This trip, we traveled for about 8 hours. Some people think we are crazy to travel for that long with two young children. Maybe we are! One of our friends said that we should fly instead and then get a quote from this relocation company. She said they would pick up our suv and take it to and from Colorado so that we could still drive it whilst we were away. This was tempting, but flying is more expensive and makes it harder to control what you are eating. And hey, the drive is part of the trip for us. We actually managed to rent a car seat for the kids, so that made things easier for us. We spent a lot of time in the car on this vacation so it was important that the kids were safe and comfortable whilst on the road.

At lunch time on our journey, we stopped at a park where I made us sandwiches with spinach, and we had salads with homemade dressing. The kids were able to run around and enjoy themselves, and then we were back on the road in less than an hour.

I also like to pack freezer food for meals once we get to our hotel. We stayed in a condo that had a small kitchen. I grabbed a bag of frozen mexican chicken soup, and some frozen sloppy joes. This way we can eat one or two nice meals out for dinner, and still have healthy, delicious meals in our condo a few nights to save on cash. We are a family that eats out maybe 3 times a month; we don’t really enjoy eating our every single meal while on vacation.

And that is it! It is so easy to pack a small cooler (you will be amazed what you can fit inside!) and a lunch bag with fruits and pre made sandwiches for easy, on the road meals.

Going on vacation doesn’t have to wreck havoc in your wallet, or your health!

Be encouraged, friends! What foods do you pack for road trips?

January 20th ~

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