Packing a child's lunchbox gets to be a really old routine, really fast. Day after day of PB&J with a side of pretzels inspires kids to trade lunches away.
Still, sandwiches are an easy lunch for parents to make and a healthy choice to feed our children. This year, switch things up with lunch prep by creating some fun sandwiches and refreshing snacks that your child will never want to share.
Sandwich Kabobs. This is a great way to turn a boring sandwich into the talk of the school lunch table. Your children can help you prepare these sandwiches the night before. Put out some deli meats, veggies, and cheeses along with some kabobs (sharp end cut off) and let your children build their own sandwich kabob. Super fun and super easy.
Peanut Butter and Fruit. This is a favorite in our family. Take the routine out of your child's PB&J by substituting real fruit for the jelly. Some popular choices are banana and thinly sliced apple, but your kids may also enjoy adding blueberries or strawberries to their peanut butter sandwich.
Turkey With Apple and Cheddar. Let's face it. Turkey sandwiches can be boring to a child, especially after the 20th one this month. Take the lettuce and tomato away and instead add some thinly sliced apples and cheddar cheese. It's refreshing, it's tangy, and it's the perfect switch-up to your child's normal lunch.
Veggie Sandwich. For the veggie lover, add protein to their diets in other ways. A simple veggie and hummus sandwich can provide 18 grams of protein and help keep your child full and awake throughout the rest of the school day. Try using refreshing cucumbers and crispy carrot shreds to liven it up.
Sushi Sandwich. The hottest trend in lunchbox sandwiches is the sushi sandwich (which doesn't involve any actual sushi). Cut the crust off the bread, flatten the bread, fill it up with your child's favorite sandwich meat, cheese, veggies, and condiments, and roll. Slice it into smaller rolls that will be easier for your child to pick up. It's a perfect way to jazz up the lunchbox.
Apples With Peanut Butter. Your child may prefer sliced apples, but when you slice one up, it turns brown before lunchtime and he won't eat it. You'd buy those prepackaged sliced apples, but they are so expensive. Instead, each Sunday, slice up a few apples and soak them for five minutes in one of these three solutions from The Yummy Life:
- Slightly salted water
- A bowl of cold lemon water
- A bowl of lemon-lime carbonated soda
Put them in zip lock bags and toss them in the fridge so they are ready to go when you pack your child's lunch. This works well with pears too. Include a single serving side of peanut butter for dipping.
Grapes. Purchase a bunch of organic grapes, and when you get home, immediately wash them, put them in plastic baggies, and freeze them. Then you'll have a healthy, refreshing lunchtime snack on hand to toss into your child's lunch. Grapes taste great frozen or defrosted.
Carrots With Hummus. Carrots are a crunchy snack kids love. Slice some up and place into plastic baggies for the week ahead. You can also make some hummus (we love Bob Harper's no-oil recipe) to put in single serve containers ready to toss into the lunchbox for dipping.
Crackers. Crackers are a fun alternative to chips and cookies. Instead of buying single-serve bags of your child's favorite cracker, buy the big box and divide some up into baggies. It will save you cash and make preparing lunch easier.
These ideas don't need to be reserved for your children. You can turn your workplace lunch or at-home lunch into a fun and healthy treat. Be creative, have fun, and include your children in the lunch planning and prepping process.