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Posted on Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 9:46 a.m.

Found: A peanut butter and jelly alternative that my kids will eat

By Jen Eyer

Sunbutter Creamy.jpg
My kids are classic picky eaters. They survive on a diet of mac and cheese, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly and bagels. I've had issues with that over the years but have basically made peace with it.

However, it does present a problem for packing school lunches. Mac and cheese and grilled cheese obviously can't be made in the morning and consumed at lunch (not by my kids, anyway), and peanut butter, while not banned, is discouraged at Belle's school out of consideration for students with life-threatening allergies (a group that includes a good friend).

So, Belle has been eating a lot of bagels. A LOT of bagels.

We tried soy butter, but the kids hated it — and I don't blame them. We tried sunflower seed butter, which I think is delicious, but the kids didn't agree.

Then a few weeks ago, a friend of mine shared her sunbutter secret: Mix it with liberal amounts of maple syrup and cinnamon.

The next day, I whipped up some sandwiches, with the sunbutter, syrup and cinnamon concoction on one side, and spiced peach jam on the other. And voila! The kids loved their new SSJ sandwiches.

Since then, I've been alternating SSJ's with bagels, and Belle's been much happier about lunch.

Now, what else can I add syrup and cinnamon to?

Jen Eyer is on the Community Team at She can be reached at 734-623-2577 or, or you can visit her at 301 East Liberty.



Fri, Dec 4, 2009 : 1:06 p.m.

Sunbutter is my favorite! As a peanut-butter loving parent of a peanut/tree-nut allergic child, Sunbutter is in our house at all times. MUCH better than the soy butters I've tried. Thanks for providing this option to parents who don't have to deal with food allergies in their own homes, but are trying to help increase safety for children of those that do.


Thu, Dec 3, 2009 : 3:53 p.m.

Ditto. A spoonful of sugar goes a long way. Starving your kids into eating whatever you put in front of them sometimes works well. I've had a few stand-offs at the dinner table with my kids. But thats not always going to be the best solution, especially when you are up against other dietary obstacles.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 9:32 a.m.

Good grief. I thought the days of giving children extra sugar to encourage eating were over! Educate your child's palate to eat well. No wonder all the junk food and overly processed foods are producing obese children. Sunflower butter is already sweet. Start on the weekends. If children are hungry, they will eat. Tough love: Don't continue to cajole children by providing sweetened or other junk food.

Cindy Lou

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 8:20 a.m.

I have a child who is allergic to all Nuts(Tree and Peanut) and we do use the Sunbutter we like it with Honey. I would have never thought about putting cinnamon and Syrup. Thank you for sharing.


Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 2:12 p.m.

Dan said: A peanut isn't a tree nut. True, but technically it's not a nut, either; it's a legume. To borrow a phrase, When you can't breathe, nothing else matters.


Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 1:50 p.m.

Have you tried cashew butter? We like it better than pb and it generally doesn't have added salt...


Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 12:22 p.m.

A peanut isn't a tree nut.


Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 11:52 a.m.

Does this meet the "No Tree-Nut" guidelines that Lakewood Elementary has in force? Is this product made from sunflower seeds? I have a very picky eater and one of the few things he will ALWAYS eat is PB&J, but at his school it is a NO TREE NUT school and he sometimes chooses to go hungry when he doesn't like what was served for hot lunch (or inexplicably decides he doesn't like what we packed for him).