Special thanks to Nature’s Harvest® for sponsoring today’s post.
Last week I shared my idea for Sandwich Art to make healthy eating fun for your kids.
This week I’m sharing another healthy eating tip for your family. One thing my kids complain about at lunch time is that we always have the same thing. It’s easy to fall into the rut of alternating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with turkey and cheese sandwiches, but it’s also pretty boring!
I decided to experiment with some new sandwich varieties to see if some new varieties would inspire them to think outside the lunch box and explore some new choices. My main goal was to make sure the sandwiches were healthy choices so that they would also see that food can be healthy AND delicious. I needed to come up with sandwich varieties for the whole family.
I started with Nature’s Harvest whole grain breads. Each of them has at least 8 grams of whole grain in every serving, no high fructose corn syrup, and no artificial flavors or colors, so no matter which one I chose, I knew I was making a choice that was good for my family. Plus, with so many different choices, it was the perfect line of sandwich bread for my quest to introduce variety to my family’s lunch options.
To emphasize variety, I chose three different kinds: Butter Top Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain White, and Honey Wheat (on rollback exclusively at Walmart for $1.97 right now nationwide).
I wanted to come up with 3 dramatically different sandwiches to open up my family’s imagination.
First, I started with my husband’s all-time favorite sandwich — Egg Salad. I knew this was going to be a tough sell on the rest of the family, but I thought if I used minimal mayo and mustard and added a little sweetness, I might be able to win them over.
Here is the recipe I used:
- 6 hard-boiled eggs
- 2 T mayonnaise
- 1 T dijon mustard
- 1 T sweet pickle relish
- 1/2 tsp salt
Peel eggs and chop finely.
Place chopped eggs in small bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to overnight.
Spread on whole grain wheat bread.
The recipe is for 4 sandwiches, but since my husband and I both like a LOT of egg salad in our sandwiches, I only get 3 well-loaded sandwiches out of it.
Next, I decided to change up our standard PB&J and instead made peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwiches. I know this isn’t wildly original (since these are my 3 favorite smoothie ingredients), but for some reason we don’t ever think to make these sandwiches when we’re preparing our lunches. I made these on the Honey Wheat bread to get an extra dose of that sweet honey flavor.
Finally, I tackled our ordinary turkey and cheese sandwich. Instead of our usual sliced turkey, American cheese, and lettuce, I used:
- Whole Grain White Bread
- Sliced Turkey
- Provolone Cheese
- Jellied Whole Cranberry Sauce
- Sliced Avocado
I grilled them on our griddle to melt the cheese and give them a nice toasted crispness.
After all the sandwiches were made, I invited my family to try them and share their thoughts.
Bad news first, my tamed-down egg salad sandwich still didn’t win anyone over except my husband (who already loves egg salad). He declared it his favorite from among all of the choices. I also really liked it, especially on the whole wheat bread since it has just enough density and texture without overwhelming the egg.
Unsurprisingly, the kids were BIG fans of the peanut butter, honey, banana sandwiches. The boys picked it as their hands-down favorite, giving it a big “thumbs-up.”
All the females in my family chose the grilled turkey sandwich as our favorite. Of course my vegetarian teen daughter’s sandwich actually didn’t have turkey on it. I substituted extra cheese for her turkey. But the combination of all the different flavors and textures from the cranberry, watercress, avocado, provolone, and grilled bread came together in perfect harmony. The boys also liked this sandwich but preferred the peanut butter one. Overall, this was the one sandwich that everyone in my family liked. When I make it again (and I will definitely be making it again), I think I will choose a denser bread to hold up to all of the ingredients that are crammed inside. I think it would be even better on either the Stone Ground Whole Wheat or the Multigrain bread.
In the end, my sandwich variety experiment worked out well. Surprised at how much better peanut butter tasted with honey and bananas, all of the kids started brainstorming more options for reworking their peanut butter sandwiches. So far they’ve mentioned adding raisins, apple slices, and bacon.
Further, stunned that we would put turkey, cranberry, AND avocado on the same sandwich and more amazingly, that we all liked the result, they’ve started spending more time evaluating what’s available in our refrigerator and pantry when making their lunches. My youngest daughter will sometimes substitute cream cheese for mayonnaise on her ham sandwiches. My husband has tried raspberry jelly with turkey and ham (delicious, by the way). Sliced black olives get added to a lot of the sandwiches now and even cucumbers have found a home (sliced cucumbers, cream cheese, watercress, and a thinly spread layer of Ranch dressing). Added bonus, everyone in my family is eating more watercress since they realized it doesn’t have a strong taste and I keep touting it as a super food.
Do you make an effort to incorporate whole grains into your family’s diet? Nature’s Harvest is interested in your opinion. You can take their 10-minute shopper research survey and the first 100 people to fully complete it will receive $5 Walmart gift cards (U.S. citizens only, must be 18 years or older to participate).