In recent news, a former royal chef has shared the Queen’s go-to-snack is simply jam on white bread – not what you’d expect, right? But there’s a good reason behind her adoration for the snack. Plus, read on for our nutritional breakdown and a low-sugar rendition of the classic sandwiches.
This decades-long passion for jam sandwiches stems from the Queen’s childhood experience with the snack – recent reports have revealed that the young monarch was served these sandwiches, also known as jam pennies, in the nursery when she was a toddler.
Other favourite treats of hers include scones and chocolate cakes, along with a variety of sandwiches – but the jam sandwiches are the stand-out which she’s enjoyed for over 90 years.
How healthy are jam sandwiches?
Now let’s deep-dive into the nutritional profile of the Queen’s favourite snack – come on, did you expect any less from us? Health-wise, jam sandwiches are comparatively better than chocolates or ice cream, but it’s still brimming with fast-release energy, which can lead to afternoon slumps and unstable blood sugars. A slice of white toast with jam has four teaspoons of sugar – and considering the limit is 6 for women and 9 for men, that’s a lot of our intake spent on a small snack. Not to mention the effects high-sugar foods have on our bodies, including blood sugar spikes. Take a look at some of the signs:
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Blurry vision
- Brain fog
- Tingling and numbness
Complex-carbs, on the other hand, stabilise blood sugars and keep you fuller for longer. You’ll find these in whole fruits and veggies, along with wholegrain breads, quinoa, buckwheat and oats. These are a few of the benefits of complex carbs:
- Higher in nutrients
- Keeps blood sugar levels stable
- Supports gut health with their prebiotic content
- Curbs sugar cravings
Recreating “jam pennies” – low-sugar style
While there’s no reason you can’t enjoy these on occasion, if you’re struggling with cravings or keen to enjoy this snack more frequently, this rendition is for you. Here’s our take on the Queen’s favourite snack for those who want to eat like a royal – without the sugar crash.
The bread: Swap out the white bread for wholegrain breads, such as the following:
- Wholemeal bread
- Multigrain bread
- Rye bread
- Sourdough bread
The jam: Jam is a sugar-laden condiment, especially the premade jars you’ll find instore. The issue is the lack of fibre, which is the nutrient that helps our bodies break down sugar and slow down our absorption of it. This means our liver is under less strain and at less risk of developing visceral fat – this is the dangerous kind which wraps around our abdominal organs and leads to obesity, liver disease and heart disease. Without fibre, fruit packs a scary dose of fructose. If you’re set on keeping the jam in your sandwich, make it yourself and try not to completely boil down the berries. While it will have less fibre than whole fruit, it’ll still provide more than juice, along with retaining more nutrients. Some low-sugar alternatives include nut butters and Vegemite.
The butter: You can keep this in since it’s low in sugar and additives – just be sure to check the ingredients for any sneaky surprises. Ghee will also work for this – and it’ll give you a bigger omega 3 boost. Studies show these omegas reduce inflammation and improve gut health. Ghee also contains other healthy fats, including linoleic acid, which researchers say helps with fat loss and curbing hunger.
If you’re looking for a low-sugar jam recipe, look no further! Taken from our Kids Cookbook, this will please children and adults alike.
Kids Berry Jam
- 1 cup blueberries or strawberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds or arrowroot flour
- Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Pour into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble.
- Reduce heat and whisk constantly until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Store in hot, sterilised jars and let it cool.
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I Quit Sugar
August 26, 2022
Hi Alanna, thanks for your comment! Barley syrup or stevia syrup can make for good alternatives, though the taste might vary slightly. If you can’t find these, maple syrup will do in a pinch. Rice malt syrup is also known as rice syrup or brown rice syrup, so you may find it listed under these names. Good luck and happy cooking!