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Wholesome, naturally delicious meals made easy

A twist on the sandwich, this Peanut Butter and Jelly Parfait is made with grape or strawberry jelly spread, nonfat vanilla yogurt, peanut butter, granola, banana and strawberries. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features) When you’ve got a lot on your plate, it can be hard to put wholesome, great-tasting food on your family’s plates. Planning meals around simple, tasty ingredients can make mealtime a lot easier on you – and a lot better for them.

When grocery shopping, think simple, colorful and natural:

Simple Ingredients – Simple often means delicious.

  • Cheese can be used as a snack, on sandwiches and salads, in main dishes – it’s a versatile, family-friendly ingredient. Take advantage of free samples at the grocery store to try new varieties.
  • Pasta makes meal time super easy. Try tiny orzo in soups, corkscrew pasta in homemade mac and cheese, and spaghetti.
  • A Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich using Welch’s Natural Fruit Spreads, natural peanut butter, and 2 slices of whole wheat bread is less than $1.00 a sandwich. Welch’s Natural Spreads come in Concord Grape, Strawberry or Raspberry, are all natural, with no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial colors or flavors. Add a glass of low-fat milk and a piece of fruit, this is a protein packed and budget-friendly snack. For a twist on this classic meal, try these recipes for Peanut Butter and Jelly Pita, or PB&J Parfaits.

Add Color to the Menu – Incorporating colorful fruits and vegetables not only adds great flavor, but plenty of good nutrition, too.

  • Buy extra red, green, orange and yellow bell peppers when they’re on sale, as well as white onions, then chop up and freeze some for later use.
  • Apples come in yellows, greens and lots of reds. They store for quite a while, so buy plenty for snacking on whole, or enjoying in this recipe for a tasty PB and J Pita.
  • Dark-skinned purple and blue fruits tend to have more natural antioxidant power than their lighter-skinned counterparts. Look for eggplant, plums, raisins, purple potatoes, and fresh grapes. 100% juice made with Concord grapes is another way to add purple fruit to the diet and to liven up your day.

Naturally Healthy – Whole foods bring a lot of nutrition to the table.

  • Get some good protein from nuts and lean meats. When you grill chicken, grill up a few extra pieces to be used in a salad or sandwich the next day. Sprinkle almonds onto your salad or morning oatmeal for an extra energy boost.
  • Whole grains are an easy way to get everyone to eat a little better. “Multi-Grain” isn’t the same as “whole grain,” so make sure the label lists whole grains first in the ingredients list.
  • Herbs are a terrific way to add flavor without adding sodium or calories. Kid-friendly herbs include thyme, oregano, parsley and rosemary. Sprinkle some on oven-baked potatoes for an easy side dish.

You can find more delicious family-friendly recipes for any meal at www.welchs.com/pbjrecipes. For more information about Welch’s new Natural Spreads, visit www.welchs.com/products/natural-spreads.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Parfaits

Makes 4 servings

½  cup Welch’s Natural Grape or Strawberry Spread

1 ¼ cups nonfat vanilla yogurt

½ cup natural chunky or creamy peanut butter

1 cup crunchy granola cereal

1 medium banana, sliced

1 cup sliced strawberries

Microwave jelly, in a microwave-safe bowl, at high 30 seconds or until melted. Drizzle 1 tablespoon down sides of each parfait glass; set aside.

Combine yogurt with peanut butter in medium bowl. Spoon ½ of peanut butter mixture into each parfait glass. Top each with 2 tablespoons cereal, then ½ of the fruit; repeat. Drizzle with remaining jelly. Garnish, if desired, with mint leaves.

PB and J Pita

Makes 1 serving

3 tablespoons Welch’s Natural Concord Grape or Strawberry Jelly

3 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter

1 8-inch whole wheat pita bread, toasted if desired

½  cup chopped apple, sliced banana and/or raisins

Evenly spread peanut butter and jelly on pita bread. Top with apple and raisins. (Source: Welch’s Foods, Inc.)

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