The School Lunch Box: How to Build a Sandwich

Updated: May 1, 2020

Bec Talia is a Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist & Mum Extraordinaire. Today she is sharing some helpful hints to getting the most out of the humble sandwich from her 'School Lunchbox Ebook'.

Sandwiches are often a staple of school lunchboxes. They are quick to make, versatile and easy for little fingers to grab and eat.

There are ways to optimise the nutrition of a sandwich and to incorporate the main macronutrients of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and also fibre.

The Base

To make the base of a sandwich, and to provide a source of carbohydrates and fibre, bread is often used but there are a number of alternatives that can be swapped in. Wraps, tortillas, crispbreads or crackers can be used - opt for your brown or multigrain varieties to improve nutritional value. If you are avoiding bread for any reason, consider nori sheets, lettuce leaves (they make great wraps and are crunchy too!) or even cabbage leaves. These will all hold nutritious fillings and are easy to assemble and eat. If you have time, making zucchini or pumpkin bread is also another way to sneak in extra nutrition and can be given as a stand-alone or with a spread. Variety is the spice of life! If you can, swap around types of bread, wraps and crispbreads (quinoa ones are a favourite at home!). Look for bread made with flours that are not wheat to add to the mix and enjoy.

The Filling

The middle of the sandwich is often where you can really be creative! I like to ensure there is a spread of some description to help to lubricate a sandwich and make sure it is not too dry to eat. Using dips as a spread is a good way to add flavour - these are good sources of healthy fats and proteins and are pretty tasty as well. Not only can they also be used for snacks but can incorporate well into a sandwich. Hummus and guacamole are great for those looking for vegetable sources, where tzatziki can be useful if you want to include dairy. Whole egg mayonnaise is another option which can add some protein and healthy fats to the sandwich. Make sure you look for one that is processed as little as possible and is low in sugar (or make your own!) Tahini is a spread made from sesame seeds that can be used instead of butter. It is also a source of protein. It can have a bit of strong flavour - so start off with a small amount and work your way up. Sandwich fillings are a great way to boost the protein in your child's diet. Add foods like tuna, ham, chicken, eggs or cheese. If your child is not keen to eat these foods, there are a couple of other ways to get protein into your child's lunchbox. Falafel is made from chickpeas – a good plant source of protein and can be used as a filling in a sandwich. Seeds are also good sources of protein and are easily incorporated into the lunch box by using a seeded bread. It’s also another way of increasing healthy fats in the sandwich.

Adding a couple of these options can really help increase protein levels and keep tummies fuller for longer. The filling is also where we can increase vegetables and sometimes fruit (grated apple and carrot make a great combination!) to increase vitamin and mineral sources and fibre. Try for a mixture of a couple of types of vegetables. Grating the vegetables can add some texture and taste – carrot and beetroot work well here. When including vegetables opt for a couple of different colours. We often say to eat a rainbow and this is a great opportunity to get a couple of colours in.

I don’t want to have a different sandwich!

So, your child knows what they like and don’t want to have anything different? Adding different spreads can increase nutrition without fights. Always start with a small amount if you are worried about your child noticing the flavour. Things you can try: Avocado – goes great under Vegemite by the way! Tahini – a bit of a strong flavour so start small! Great source of calcium. Pesto – you can make your own with added greens such as spinach or kale. Just make sure it is nut-free. Sunflower seed butter – again start small with this one as the taste may be an issue, to begin with.

***This article is an approved excerpt out of Bec Talia's 'School Lunchbox Ebook'. Bec is offering 50% off for my readers just use THIS link and the code: Ashleigh123 at the checkout.

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