I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich almost every single school day from first grade until I graduated from high school. I hated the school lunches, and I didn’t like tuna or lunchmeat, so my mom packed the classic PB&J for me year after year. What I didn’t realize is that I was being environmentally friendly all those years.

I also didn’t realize back then that there was a National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (perhaps it hadn’t been christened as such back in the day), but there is. April 2 is officially National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day.

In honor of this yummy holiday, The PB&J Campaign sent me some facts about eating a plant-based lunch and how that's good for the environment.

Compared to the average American lunch, plant-based lunches save:

  • 2.5 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions
  • 130 gallons of water
  • and 24 square feet of land that otherwise might be deforested
Look at that. For 12 straight years when I was a kid, I was saving the environment, and I didn’t even know it. Actually, I still rarely eat meat before dinner time (although I will eat dairy) specifically to lessen my environmental impact.

I wonder if I negate the good I’m doing when I eat a PB&J if I wash down the sandwich with a glass of organic milk?

The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I eat now look a little different than those of my youth. I use whole grain bread instead of white bread, natural peanut butter instead of Skippy, and fruit juice-sweetened grape spread instead of jelly with added refined sugars or high fructose corn syrup. I do still, from time to time, shove a few salty potato chips inside the sandwich on those rare occasions when we have chips in the house.

A while back, MNN's family blogger told us how to make homemade peanut butter. It’s really easy. It might not be something you want to do every day, but in honor of National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, you could take a few minutes to whip up your own natural peanut butter. 

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