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:
- English muffins
- Whole-wheat tortilla shells
- Taco shells
- Mini bagels
- Pita pockets
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.