The “Adult” PB&J

Sugar and fat smeared between two slices of bread: Whoever invented the PB&J was a genius. They’re also to thank for my current go-to climbing snack. Here’s how I’ve upgraded a childhood classic into a not-so-unhealthy, cheap, delicious, “adult” cragging snack:


  • Peanut Butter – The kind with just peanuts and optional salt, not the partially-hydrogenated, sugar-infused Skippy you ate as a kid.
  • Whole Grain Bread – 100 percent whole grains in any form, though sprouted grains are arguably the most healthful option for those without a gluten intolerance.
  • Preserves – Or another fruit spread with real fruit as the first ingredient. Better yet: Have fruit and fruit juice be the only ingredients. Best Yet: You can sweeten your PB&”J” with real fruit, such as strawberry and/or banana slices.

See wikiHow if you’re unsure of the best method for combining the above ingredients.

Why I’ve Taken to Eating PB&Js Every Time I Climb Outside:

I’ve never felt bad after eating a PB&J. In fact, I always feel better, happier, and less hungry. They also pack wonderfully, don’t spoil in the sun, and taste just fine when slightly squished. I’d recommend cutting them in half for snack-sized portions to avoid feeling overly full or heavy for sending.

I’m incredibly cheap. Even with wholesome ingredients my PB&Js cost significantly less than most discount meal replacement bars, and they have significantly easier to pronounce ingredient lists.

Adult PB&Js aren’t unhealthy. They provide a solid carb, fat, and protein balance for both quick and sustained energy. You quickly burn off the sugars in the jelly but are left with sustained carbohydrate energy from the slower-to-digest, low-glycemic whole grain bread. The fat and fiber in the peanut butter help keep you full (by slowing your digestion), and together the whole grains and peanut butter give you all 9 essential amino acids (otherwise known as a complete protein).

They taste good, meaning, unlike meal replacement bars, I’ll actually eat them. I need consistent fuel on long outdoor days, and not eating because I didn’t pack tasty snacks will only sabotage sending.

But what if you get tired of “plain old” PB&Js because it’s summer and you’re climbing outside a ton? First of all: You really can’t complain; you’re climbing outside a ton. Second of all: I’ve got you covered with some fun variations on the PB&J theme.

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