What is it with kids and not liking the crusts on their sandwiches?
My daughter Allison lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for awhile. And then somehow she got introduced to the Smucker’s Uncrustables, and pretty much refused to eat anything BUT those for awhile.
I’ll admit though, they’re pretty good. And convenient to just take out of the freezer and stick in a lunchbox. But are Uncrustables healthy?
The short answer: Uncrustables can definitely be part of a healthy diet. As with anything, moderation is key.
I’m a nerd (as well as a Nutrition Coach), so I found out all I could about the ingredient list and how you can fit Uncrustables into your lifestyle. Here’s what I found:
What are Uncrustables made of?
First off, there are a few different flavors of Uncrustables now:
- Peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich
- Peanut butter and sttrawberry jam sandwich
- Reduced sugar peanut butter and grape spread sandwich on wheat
- Reduced sugar peanut butter and strawberry spread sandwich on wheat
- Peanut butter and honey spread sandwich
- Chocolate flavored hazelnut spread sandwich
Who knew there was so much variety?
Here is the ingredients list for the one with grape jelly:
BREAD: ENRICHED UNBLEACHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, UNBLEACHED WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, SUGAR, YEAST, SOYBEAN OIL, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: SALT, DOUGH CONDITIONER (ENZYMES, ASCORBIC ACID, CALCIUM PEROXIDE, CONTAINS ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, DATEM, SALT).
Peanut Butter: Peanuts, Sugar, Contains 2% or Less of: Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed and Soybean), Mono and Diglycerides, Salt.
Grape Jelly: Sugar, Grape Juice, Contains 2% or Less of: Pectin, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).
It seems overwhelming until you realize that a lot of these are simply added vitamins, especially in the bread.
- Niacin: Vitamin B3
- Ferrous Sulfate: Iron
- Thiamin Mononitrate: Vitamin B1
- Riboflavin: Vitamin B2
The one ingredient people may get concerned over is the “hydrogenated vegetable oils”, which is a type of trans fat. Trans fat has been shown to cause various health issues.
So, are they healthy?
The word “healthy” is a very subjective term, because all of us are different and have different nutritional needs. What I’ll do below is list some facts and let you come to your own decision based on your needs.
I’m getting this information from the Smucker’s website, and I’m comparing the regular Uncrustables with grape jelly, and the reduced sugar Uncrustables with grape jelly and wheat bread.
Type of bread
Uncrustables now come in both white bread and whole wheat bread options.
The white bread is made from refined flour, which strips a lot of the nutrients and fiber. This means you’ll likely get a quick burst of energy instead of steady energy like you would with added fiber.
The whole wheat bread is made from whole grains, which keeps its nutrients and fiber. The extra fiber means energy will be released more slowly in your body, keeping you full and energized longer.
To be honest though, there’s not a huge difference between the two. The whole wheat version still has white flour in it too, and it only has one extra gram of fiber.
Amount of calories
The regular grape Uncrustables has 210 calories, while the reduced-sugar and whole wheat version has fewer calories, 190. That’s not a huge difference. And either way, I’d recommend eating something else with it because that’s not typically enough for a full meal.
Calorie needs vary, but a standard meal is anywhere between 400 and 600 calories.
Amount of added sugars
The regular sandwich has 8 grams of added sugar, while the reduced sugar version has 5 grams of sugar.
It’s a small difference. The reduced sugar version also has more fiber though, so you may be less likely to get a huge sugar spike from eating that one.
Smuckers also says that their sandwiches have no high fructose corn syrup.
Amount of protein
Both types have 6 grams of protein, which is a fair amount. Protein is important for muscle health and keeping you full longer. The recommended daily intake is anywhere between 50 grams and 100 grams, so you might need to add more protein to hit your goal. String cheese would be a good option!
Are Uncrustables vegan?
According to the website, these are not vegan. Dairy products are used in some of them, like skim milk. And they’re made in a facility that contains animal products. So if you follow a vegan diet, you may want to try making your own Uncrustables sandwiches, as shown below!
Are these good for weight loss?
As with any food, moderation is key. I’ve heard of people eating these as a healthy snack, either before or after a workout. The protein and carbs help them recover.
In general, eating less food can help you lose weight. And if eating the Uncrustables products keeps you satisfied so you don’t eat more, then keep doing so!
Can you make your own Uncrustables?
You can absolutely make your own Uncrustables! They’re definitely cheaper, and you can choose what kind of peanut butter and jelly go into it.
You can even find a sandwich cutter on Amazon. I have one and used it quite often when my daughter was obsessed with Uncrustables. I even made a video to show how to do it and what the sandwiches look like.
When I made my own, here’s what I used:
- Whole wheat bread (But a soft version, because Allison liked soft bread)
- Natural peanut butter, which lowers the sugar content
- Preserves, which has less sugar and more fruit
The one thing I struggled with was figuring out what to do with the crusts. But you can easily turn them into a French toast casserole!
All in all, these crustless sandwiches can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Yes, there are always healthier alternatives. But if you understand how these affect your hunger levels, you can totally eat them when you get the craving.
Always use your best judgment, because only you know what’s best for you!