Giving the brown bag “sandwich” school lunch a makeover.

A lot of children who were away on a mid-term break resumed school today. There will be a spring break soon for many and as I type others are getting ready for their end of year break.

After any break getting up at five in the morning and preparing lunch boxes that are healthy, wholesome and have a variety can be quite a challenge. Especially when all that your little one wants is a sandwich because it is easy to hold and munch and leaves her with enough time to play. But let’s admit, even if you keep altering the fillings it can get boring for them and you after a while.

New and healthy snack options that will ensure the lunch box will come back empty and the little ones hungry for more??? Not sure?

We tried some new “Sandwiches” and my little chefling loved them all!

Croissantwich1b

A Croissantwich

Often we are left with one-day-old croissants from the weekend and filling them up with a moist salad not only gives it a new life but is a welcome change from the sliced bread sandwich. Vary the fillings over the weeks; boiled egg with salad leaves, ham and cheese are some of our favorites.

Bagelwich3b

A bagelwich

Unlike the croissantwich where you need a stale one, the trick here is to use a fresh one so it is still pillowy soft for your child to bite into. Making the potato patty by grating it not only saves you from the trouble of boiling a potato early morning but also reduces cooking time. The crusty texture of the patty against the chewy bagel is another win.

Muffinwich2b

And finally a muffinwich for a treat for the last day of the week!

Two halves of a muffin sandwiched with healthy sweet ingredients make for a delicious end of the week “treat” snack for the little ones. Keep changing the muffin and the fruit inside for variation. Try a nut butter with sliced apple or pear. You can even grill the bananas on a hot griddle if you like.

All these options are super healthy and packed with nutrients which is every parent’s mission for the school year and since these are still “sandwiches” I assure you there will be no resistance to this “new” lunch. Plus this is something that the children can easily prepare themselves and since they will be making it all on their own I assure you they will proudly eat it too. Add a chapathiwich and a tortillawich stuffed with veggies and meat for the other two days of the school week and you’re entire week is sorted.

And some tips: Sandwiching it RIGHT

Season and timing: When packing a protein keep in mind the season and also at what time the child will be consuming it. When using any kind of protein I like to pack it with an ice pack just to ensure that the protein doesn’t get spoilt.

Packing it: A sandwich bag or a Ziploc bag is what is used commonly. However reusable parchment paper is a great option when you to wrap it tight. Do give a cloth napkin a go that can double up a table mat and is easy on the environment.

Preventing sogginess: Adding a few salad leaves between the bread and the filling not only helps prevent sogginess but also adds another layer of texture to the sandwich. Use options like crusty rolls and bagels, etc. to prevent sogginess instead of regular bread or try toasting the bread.

Croissantwich

Often we are left with one day old croissants from the weekend and filling them up with a moist salad not only gives it a new life but is a welcome change from the sliced bread sandwich. Vary the fillings over the weeks; boiled egg with salad leaves, ham and cheese are some of our favorites.

Ingredients

  • 1 wholemeal mini croissant
  • 50 grams of smoked salmon, torn into bits
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onions
  • 4 tbsp thick yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1 tsp chopped dill or any herb of your choice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 5-6 slices of cucumber
  • A handful of nuts (if your school is nutfree; dates are another option)
  • A pear

Instructions

  1. Halve the croissant, lengthwise taking care not to completely cut it else it will be difficult for little hands to hold.
  2. In a bowl combine the smoked salmon, chopped spring onions, yoghurt, mustard if using, dill and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently.
  3. Fill the croissant with the salmon sandwich filling. Add cucumber slices on top.
  4. Pack the croissantwich with a handful of mixed nuts and a pear.

Bagelwich

Unlike the croissantwich where you need a stale one, the trick here is to use a fresh one so it is still pillowy soft for your child to bite into. Making the potato patty by grating it not only saves you from the trouble of boiling a potato early morning but also reduces cooking time. The crusty texture of the patty against the chewy bagel is another win.

Ingredients:

  • 1 multigrain bagel
  • 1 small potato
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • ½ tsp oil
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 boiled egg
  • A handful of blueberries

Instructions:

  1. Split the bagel into half.
  2. Peel and grate the potato and squeeze out the all water.
  3. In a bowl, combine the grated potato, cumin powder, salt and paprika to taste. Shape it into flat round disc.
  4. In a nonstick pan, heat the oil and cook the potato disc till it gets golden and a nice crust. I like to then cutout a small hole into the centre of the potato patty so it resembles the bagel but that is not necessary.
  5. Spread the mayonnaise on both the sides of the bagel.
  6. Place the potato patty on to the bagel and close the sandwich.
  7. Pack the bagelwich with a boiled egg and a handful of blueberries.

Muffinwich

Two halves of a muffin sandwiched with healthy sweet ingredients make for delicious end of week “treat” snack for the little ones. Keep changing the muffin and the fruit inside for variation. Try a nut butter with sliced apple or pear. You can even grill the bananas on a hot griddle if you like.

Ingredients

  • 1 large muffin
  • 2 tbsp of cream cheese
  • A pinch of cinnamon powder
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Half a banana
  • Cheese of your choice cut into bite sized pieces
  • Cucumber and carrot batons

Instructions:

  1. Slice the muffin into half.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, cinnamon powder, vanilla extract and maple syrup until smooth.
  3. Spread the vanilla spiced cream cheese on both the sides of the muffin.
  4. Slice the banana and arrange them on one side of the sliced muffin.
  5. Drizzle some maple syrup on top. Put the other half of the muffin on the banana half to make a “sandwich”.
  6. Pack the muffinwich with cucumber and carrot batons and cubes of cheese.

Happy Sandwiching and don’t forget to include a lunch box note. My little girl loves finding a joke or a riddle in her lunch. I have been doing for over four years now and believe me her entire class can’t wait for her to open her lunch box for the riddle/joke of the day!

Images: All recipes and photographs originally created exclusively for FoodeMag and updated later.

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