Sandwiches have come a long way. Social media and print magazines are bursting with ideas to turn lunches – especially kids’ lunches – into works of art. From recreations of cartoon characters to sculptured sandwiches, moms and dads across the nation are putting a lot of TLC into those BLT sandwiches!
So what’s a parent to do when they want to bring a little pizzazz to humdrum sandwiches without spending hours of time creating works of art? A lot!
From the Outside, In
Everyone, especially kids, likes a pretty package. So expand your horizons and experiment with more than basic sliced bread when making a sandwich. There are a variety of alternatives that are tasty, healthy, visually interesting and pleasing to the palate:
Whole-wheat tortilla shells
Spread the Love
There’s a world of wonderful, healthy options to use in lieu of butter, margarine or mayonnaise:
Hummus: Delicious and healthy, hummus is made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.
Pesto: Make your own or buy it already prepared. It’s made from basil, olive oil and pine nuts, providing great taste and essential fats.
Guacamole: Traditionally an avocado-based dip, guacamole makes a great sandwich spread. Alternatively, spread plain mashed avocados just like butter.
Mix Up Classic Combinations
Mix-and-match any of the above spreads and breads with your favorite meats and cheeses for a new twist in tomorrow’s lunchbox. Here are a few delicious examples:
Add a new twist to the classic BLT. Use guacamole, bacon strips and either diced or sliced tomatoes.
Top a toasted tortilla wrap with peanut butter and honey, then sprinkle with bacon bits and banana slices. Roll it up and enjoy.
Top egg salad sandwiches with finely chopped fresh basil leaves – and have the kids help prepare them!
Kids also love dried fruits, so have fun mixing them in with sandwich ingredients. For example, try adding dried cranberries to either a grilled cheese or turkey and avocado sandwich.
Granola is another surprise sandwich ingredient. A family favorite in our house is a peanut butter sandwich topped with honey, bananas and granola.
Have breakfast for lunch! Sandwich scrambled eggs and your child’s favorite meat between a bagel. They can eat it cold, or warm it in a microwave.
Add some pop to every sandwich with sliced peppers or cucumbers. Spread bread with a thin layer of hummus and add diced red and green peppers, or top veggie cream cheese with cucumber slices.
Roasted vegetables make great sandwich ingredients. My daughter likes zucchini, eggplant and bell peppers, but explore your favorites. Add some spinach and a goat cheese spread to a hearty roll before topping with the vegetables, and you’re good to go.
Mix jam with cream cheese to create a sweet and savory spread, or use blueberry cream cheese on a bagel and top with sliced strawberries.
Pair apple butter spread with thinly sliced apples.
Use spreadable goat cheese, a slice of lunchmeat and grated carrots to create a satisfying, quick sandwich.
As you can see, you can start thinking about that next sandwich as a blank canvas and have fun experimenting with new ideas. You’re guaranteed to find some new winning surprises along the way.