Two slices of Wonder Bread, a dollop of chunky Jif peanut butter, and globs of Smucker’s grape jelly meld together to create one of the most delicious and iconic meals in American history: The PB&J.
However, the Air Force Medical Service challenged this timeless recipe, in an effort to encourage better nutrition, with a set of ingredients that would have any kid in the cafeteria wanting desperately to swap his sack lunch. In place of bread, they’ve substituted sweet potato toast.
It’s exactly as weird as it sounds. Instead of tasty bread, you slice a sweet potato, broil it, and slather it with peanut-only peanut butter and throw some fresh fruit on top.
It seems the service intends to Fly-Fight-Win against the real enemy: flavor.
And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier, sometimes you have to ask, “At what cost?” This recipe doesn’t have many of the qualities that make for a PB&J sandwich. Frankly, it sounds more like a fruit salad with peanut dressing.
Destroying classic foods, and perhaps the average airman’s will to eat, is part of a new campaign to instruct airmen about healthy food alternatives. The video series, called “Nutrition Kitchen,” utilizes a graphics theme reminiscent of Super Mario Brothers, features ways to “level up,” and illustrates the Air Force Medical Service’s desire to seem like a cool mom, not a regular mom.
The clips feature Senior Airman Quion Lowe as the enthusiastic host and guinea pig trying these less-than inspired dishes prepared by chef Tech. Sgt. Opal Poullard, an instructor at the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Virginia. In subsequent episodes, he then breaks down the nutrition with Sahra Pak, a registered dietician at Travis Air Force Base, California.
While an erstwhile attempt to capture the zeitgeist in an era where health food videos on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok reign supreme, this series has certainly not attracted a high volume of viewers. Each of the seven clips released so far has under 300 views.
It’s unclear how long the branch will continue to butcher beloved recipes in the name of cutting calories. So far, other victims include cereal and pancakes. Perhaps they’ll attack such American mainstays as the hot dog or apple pie next.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digital Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.