Special thanks to Nature’s Harvest® for sponsoring today’s post.
The number one reason my kids cite for not packing their lunches is that they get bored with having the same thing everyday. Since they don’t have a way to reheat food at school, my options of what I can send with them are pretty limited, especially if I want to keep those options healthy. When I heard that Nature’s Harvest® was hosting a Sandwich Art Facebook Contest, it dawned on me that even if I couldn’t vary the main course ingredients a lot, I could be creative in how I presented the same ingredients each day. So, I decided to try my hand at sandwich art.
Regulars here on Wondermom Wannabe know that I am NOT the mom who painstakingly hand stitches Halloween costumes or who creates works of art out of pieces of fruit. In fact, the whole point of this blog is to share my hacks on how to look like the perfect mom/wife/woman without spending 24 hours a day cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc. So, I can quite confidently assure you that sandwich art does not have to take hours to create and it still yields the same “Wow Mom!” response from your kids as other lunch masterpieces that you see on Pinterest but don’t dare attempt.
Hopscotch Board Sandwich Art
My first attempt at sandwich art was a hopscotch board. To make it, all I did was make some of our typical sandwiches: nitrate-free ham, cheddar cheese, and fresh spinach on Nature’s Harvest Whole Grain White bread. I opted for the whole grain white because my teen daughter has been complaining about the whole wheat variety I normally buy. At least this way I know she’s still getting at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving without artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup. (BTW, the Nature’s Harvest Honey Wheat is on rollback at Walmart right now for $1.97 and touts all the same benefits). I cut the crusts off of each sandwich and then cut each sandwich into four squares. Then, I finally got a chance to use the mini number cookie cutters I bought three years ago to cut the numbers 1-10 out of a slice of cheese. I placed the sandwich squares in the hopscotch pattern and put the numbers in their proper places and ended up with this:
See? It looks just like a hopscotch board! The best part is, it only took a couple extra minutes to transform the normal sandwiches into hopscotch. Of course, it takes 2 1/2 sandwiches to make a complete hopscotch board, so if you want to stick with just one sandwich you could make a four square board instead. I had no idea that cutting sandwiches into smaller pieces and throwing something decorative on top (e.g. a number) would so easily distract my children from what was inside. My son who tries at all costs to avoid vegetables, gobbled up three of the squares without giving it a second thought and if you look at them, there’s no missing that spinach! Don’t worry, if you don’t have the numbered cookie cutters, you could always just draw the numbers on the top of the sandwich with ketchup.
Inspired by my success with the hopscotch board, I decided to try one more sandwich art creation. My kids are fascinated by sushi but are put off by the raw fish and seaweed wrappers. So, I created sandwich sushi for them using ingredients I know they like. For transparency purposes, I feel obligated to disclose that this was slightly more labor-intensive than the hopscotch board, but still fell within my limit of acceptable effort (which is truly quite low). First I had to cut off the crusts from a slice of bread and then I used a rolling pin to flatten it out. I then placed a slice of swiss cheese on the bread, followed by a slice of ham, then I made a thin line of shredded carrots and added a slice of avocado. Next, I had to roll the bread as tightly as I could to form a long sandwich “log” which I sliced into four equal sections.
And here’s my wondermom hack. For years I have admired all the adorable bento-style school lunches I see everywhere. However, when I actually priced bento lunch boxes, I always balked at the price. Well, when I was at Walmart picking up my Nature’s Harvest bread to make my sandwich art, I also picked up some disposable food storage containers (4 for just over $2) and some silicone baking cups (8 for under $4). I was ready to bento my whole family for just $6!
I put my sandwich sushi in one cup and filled the other with some other healthy mom-approved lunch choices and in under 10 minutes, I was in the running for mother of the year (or so I proclaimed).
I’m going to continue experimenting and I’ll share my successes with you. I have high hopes for sandwich kabobs and checkerboard sandwiches. Over the next few weeks, I’ll also be sharing other lunch tips and ideas, including my family’s favorite sandwich recipes so be sure to check back!