Brown-Bag Sandwich Makeovers

Thursday, August 23rd 2012, 10:00 am
By: News On 6

PB&J: The basics: 2 slices bread; 2 tablespoons nut butter, such as natural peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter

• The upgrade: Berries

Perk up nut butter by adding ¼ cup sliced fresh strawberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries. The fruity flavor mimics a PB&J while giving you a great way to include fresh fruit in your child's lunch.

• The upgrade: Seeds

Crunchy seeds bring great texture—and extra nutrients—to a soft sandwich. Just sprinkle 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, flax seeds, or pepitas.

• The upgrade: Banana

It was Elvis' favorite combination (with bacon) and it's absolutely delicious, not to mention healthy. Simply slice 1/2 banana into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and place over a smear of nut butter for a boost of potassium and fiber. This quick and easy upgrade is so good you'll want to make a second sandwich for yourself.

Turkey Sandwiches: The basics: 2 slices bread, 3 slices turkey

• The upgrade: Herb Mayo

One of the simplest ways to improve a basic turkey sandwich is by spicing up the dressing. Mix 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise with 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, basil, or other fresh herb. Or for an even bigger flavor boost, mix mayo with store-bought pesto. It packs the same herbaceous flavor with the bonus of garlic and parmesan. Try adding a few slices of avocado for extra bulk and flavor!

• The upgrade: Roasted Red Peppers with Pesto

The smoky sweetness of roasted red peppers might almost make the kids forget that they're eating a vegetable. Bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C and a variety of antioxidants, which are essential for growing bodies. You can use purchased jarred peppers or roast them yourself: Add ¼ cup roasted red peppers (whole or chopped) and 2 teaspoons pesto per sandwich.

• The upgrade: Pears and Honey Mustard

Fruit and turkey might seem like a strange duo, but your kids will be surprised by how well the flavors of savory turkey and sweet pear play together. Add ¼ medium pear, thinly sliced along with 2 teaspoons honey mustard, which ties all the flavors together while adding a tang of its own.

• The upgrade: Hummus

Just a 2-tablespoon smear of this spread can take a sandwich from dull to delicious. Made from mineral-rich chickpeas, hummus is a great choice for growing kids. To bulk the sandwich up further, crumble feta cheese over the hummus, or sprinkle on some pine nuts for texture and a little extra Mediterranean flavor.