Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sandwich Ideas for Kids

We all know the pressure on parents to get 3 good meals into our kids everyday, and, if you are like me, I only use "kid food" (hot dogs, mac n cheese, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, pizza) as a last resort when I am unprepared and/or pmsing! (always organic versions!) So what can we feed our kids that is quick and easy, exposes them to a variety of tastes and colors, and is healthy too? I have gotten pretty creative with the sandwich and thought I would share some of our favorites. We seemed to have fallen into a cereal rut for breakfast, though I do try to sneak in healthy, homemade pancakes, homemade oatmeal, or eggs occasionally (and almost always a green smoothie!) But I really try to mix it up for lunch and dinner. Plus, sandwiches are easy to pack for picnics and school and can be a really creative way to sneak in all sorts of nutrients.

I always start with Rudy's organic honey wheat bread. Even though we eat meat occasionally, I have always been leery of lunch meat, so most of our sandwiches are vegetarian. Jamison is not a picky eater and I'm not quite sure if it is because I got really, really lucky, or because I have always offered him a variety of foods and never cooked him separate "kid food" (I even added herbs and spices to his homemade baby food) Probably just luck but my ego likes to pretend it is all me :) He is used to lots of color in his food and I hope that since that is all he has ever known, he won't change (fingers crossed!!!) So hopefully these ideas will appeal to even the pickiest of eaters!

Cucumber Sandwich
2 slices bread (I cut the crusts for this one)
6 thin slices of cucumber
several spinach leaves, minced
organic cream cheese or Two minute veggie dip
sunflower seeds
salt and pepper
optional: avocado slices, sprouts, thinly sliced radishes, tomato slice

Put a good schmear of cream cheese or spread on both sides of the bread. Mix it up with veggie or flavored cream cheeses too, or even just a sprinkle of dill. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on one side of bread and minced spinach on the other and push down a little so they stick to the spread. Add thinly sliced cucumbers and any other veggie slices you want and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I like to smoosh the sandwich down so it is nice and thin and easy to eat. For my toddler, I cut into 4 squares. This is also fabulous on open faced toasted bagels (my staple lunch in college!)

Nut Butter and Fruit Sandwich
2 slices bread
nut butter spread of choice (I alternate between crunchy peanut and almond)
thinly sliced banana or apple

Spread on the nut butter, add sliced fruit, drizzle some honey and sprinkle some cinnamon. For an occasional treat, grill! We do use jelly occasionally and I found an awesome jelly called St. Dalfour that has zero sugar in it and is sweetened with grape juice. Peach flavored is our favorite!

Grilled Cheese with Spinach and Avocado
2 slices bread
sliced organic cheddar
few leaves of spinach, minced
4 thin slices avocado
I add a thin slice of tomato from the garden when they are in season

Put cheese on bread, then add avocado and spinach. Melt a little butter in pan and grill starting with cheese side down. Cover for quicker melting. I press mine flat to make it nice and thin for a toddler's mouth. Add carmelized onions and sauteed mushrooms for the adults...amazing!

Tuna Melts
1 slice bread, toasted
1 small can wild caught tuna
minced veggies (cukes, pickles, spinach and red onion)
couple spoonfuls of mayo
squeeze of mustard
salt, pepper and dill to taste
sliced organic cheese

Mix tuna, veggies, mayo, mustard, and spices. Spread onto toast, cover with cheese and broil until cheese melts. For an on the go version, serve between two slices of soft bread and a slice of provolone. I cut into fingers for easier eating.

2 slices bread, lightly toasted
2 pieces bacon
1/4 avocado mashed
thinly sliced tomato
salt and pepper

Lightly spread mayo on one piece of toast and generously spread mashed avocado on other. Crumble the bacon for easier bites and press into avocado. Layer lettuce and tomato and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Press flat.

Veggie Sandwich:
2 slices bread
sliced tomato
sliced cucumber
sliced avocado
lettuce or spinach
sliced pepperjack cheese
mayo and dijon mustard
salt and pepper
crushed potato chips

Spread mayo and mustard on bread. Layer veggies and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with crushed potato chips and serve with extra on the side. This is our staple sandwich when we our on summer vacation in Michigan!

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