Sunday, October 17, 2010

There's Something Fishy in this Peanut Butter

This Jif peanut butter has been on the market for at least a year.  It's your basic peanut butter with fish oil (from anchovies and sardines).  To me, looks the same and tastes the same (on bread) versus the original.  It certainly doesn't taste like anchovies and sardines.  Is it worth the extra money?

I've blogged about fish oil before.  Bottom oil is good and most people don't get enough.  Eating fish is the best way to get your fish oil (salmon and tuna are my favorites).  But eating fish can be a pain in the bass [insert laugh track].   

Luckily, there are about a billion supplements available for you to choose from.  Most of these supplements are big giant capsules, just slightly smaller than your trachea. For those that don't like to take big pills, there are also liquid fish oil supplements....mmmmm....fat on a spoon.  Most expert groups recommend 300-500 mg/day of EPA+DHA (the active components of fish oil associated with the health benefits).

An alternative might be foods fortified with fish oil, such as the peanut butter.  However, the Jif product has 32 mg of EPA+DHA per would need to eat 10 servings of the peanut butter to get even close to the recommendation...1,900 calories worth of peanut butter...not worth it.  So in my humble opinion...if you are an adult (based on age, not maturity), eat fish twice a week or take a supplement...pill or drink, trachea dependent.

How about those kiddos?  Should they be eating fish-flavored Jif?  How big are their tracheas?  

The Institute of Medicine, a non-profit organization of health experts in the US, has established a recommedation of 90 mg/d of EPA+DHA for kids 4-8 yr and 120 mg/day for kids 9-13.  Other countries have much higher recommendations for kids.  For example, one of the European health organizations recommends 250 mg/day of EPA+DHA.  So let's just assume that somewhere between 100 to 250 mg/day of EPA+DHA is a good target for most kids.  

Now the question is, how to achieve that target?  Two servings of fatty fish a week is an easy way to get there....for kids who eat fish.  I can usually get 1 serving a week into my kids (salmon with a brown sugar glaze), but 2 servings consistently is pushing it.  Therefore, I do buy fish oil supplements specifically designed for kids.

As luck would have it, my kids prefer the most expensive EPA+DHA possible...sugary gummy chews.  They are almost $20 for a pack of 30, which means every day I spend $4.50 for my 3 daughters to get their fish oil...130 mg of EPA+DHA per serving.  Sure, it's cheaper than a salmon filet but SHEESH!  That's $30 a week on fish-flavored candy!

I have also tried to get my girls to eat these other supplements, which I like to call "bubbles".  They are tiny capsules containing strawberry-flavored fish oil that can be swallowed or chewed.  This brand has ~200 mg of DHA+EPA for every 4 capsules.  Herein lies the problem...chewing 1 or 2 of them is fine, but 4 is too much...the fishy, oily taste eventually overpowers.  They are cost effective though!  I pay $22 for the bottle and there are 45 servings in there, so about $0.5/serving.  If only my girls would eat them.

I recently tried this other kind of soft chew...Dr. Sears Brainy Kidz.  I really want to like these, but seriously, Dr. Sears must be smoking something...these are the most awful things I've ever tasted!  Somewhere between a wet Starburst chew and a moldy raspberry.  Each chew has 100 mg of DHA (and this is the one you want, at least for kids) and a pack of 30 chews is $10...such a fabulous price!  Too ick for me and my kids.  Good thing Halloween is around the corner...a great excuse to get rid of these things.  

So back to the fishy Jif...I'm into it.  Based on my history with fish oil supplements for kids, the 32 mg per serving in Jif is at least a step in the right direction in getting them towards their recommended intake.  My kids are habitual peanut butter and jelly consumers and thus far, they have not noticed the switch to fishy peanut butter.  If they ever read the label, I'm in trouble (anchovy and sardine oil, tilapia), but until then, it's fish sandwiches for all.  

Anyone have a different fish oil supplement for kids that they can recommend?  

Maybe I should name my band Trachea instead of Soccer Bitch?  Or maybe The Wind Pipe?  

Anyone want to know where I live so you don't come trick' o'treating here?


  1. Please let me know if you find a palatable alternative that is not hugely caloric. I gag at the thought of swallowing pills! I even take adult chewable vitamins. Yes, there is such a thing:) But fish oil capsules - oh - my throat is closing already!! I love peanut butter, but now with added sugar, like Jif, and not long ago I banned it from my house for a while because I was dipping into the jar a bit too often:(

  2. Small trachea Karen? Don't worry, it's okay. Let me ask a friend of mine what fish oil he uses...he has a drinkable kind and says it actually tastes good! He also mixes it in with soups and smoothies. I will see him Friday and find out what brand.

    And I go through phases where I get out both the peanut butter and jelly and a spoon and just go back and forth between the two. I refer to it as "therapy"...makes me feel good all over. :)