It’s amazing how many parents write to us asking for sandwich alternatives when it comes to packing kids’ lunches. We’re not sure if it’s that your kids are getting bored with the same old-same old — or that parents are getting bored with packing them!
Either way, we’ve always liked recommending tasty, wholesome carbs that stand in for bread, and we can think of no more amazing brand that fits that bill than our newest sponsor — a brand that happens to have major fans around here — Way Better Snacks.
If you haven’t tried them yet? Whoa, we think you’re in for a treat.
– Extra cool : Don’t miss a huge giveaway just for Cool Mom Eats readers, below!
As in, you won’t have to buy snacks again for a very long time. –
The Way Better Snacks Tortilla Chips are absolutely delicious. But beyond that, they’re made with nothing but simple, premium ingredients that we feel good about, like whole grains of all kinds, sprouted flax, chia and ancient grains.
(But hey, you don’t have to mention those details to your kids. We get it.)
And because they’re more flavorful than your typical chips, there are so many ways to serve them, which helps get more whole grains and healthy stuff into your kids’ diets.
So we hope you enjoy our ideas for sandwich alternatives that help keep school lunches interesting for kids. Feel free to make them for yourself too!
Sandwich alternative #1: Tortilla Chips and Healthy Dips
We all know everything tastes better to a kid when you can dunk it, so think of all the healthy tortilla chip and dip combos you can offer your kids in their school lunch.
Hummus (above) is a favorite of ours. If you need a solid recipe, we are in love with the Zahav hummus recipe, courtesy of award-winning chef Michel Solomonov. It’s easy to make, and you can leave out spices like cumin if your kids like things simple. But honestly, there are also a lot of terrific, store-bought hummus brands available now in your grocer, should you want to save time.
But there’s more to life than hummus! Check out our post on 9 healthy dips for school lunches, where you’ll find creative, easy ideas like Greek-Style Yogurt Dips, Edamame Tofu Dip, 5-Minute Black Bean Dip, Carrot Ginger Miso Dip and more.
We’re also intrigued by this Honey Goat Cheese Spread spotted among the Way Better Snacks recipe collection. Goat cheese is a clever way to get protein into the kids’ lunches in lieu of meats and nut butters, and what doesn’t taste fabulous when it’s got honey in it?
In addition to whole grain chips, when you pack spreads and dips be sure to include whatever crunchy veggies your kids will go for — carrot sticks and celery, cukes, zucchini, broccoli, sweet pepper strips, cauliflower. The more variety, the more it keeps things interesting, and the more your kids are likely to devour all of it.
Sandwich alternative #2: Deconstructed Tacos
How brilliant is this idea for deconstructed tacos? Especially since kids love anything that has a “Make Your Own…” in front of it.
For this one, definitely start with a decent Bento system (we’re all fans of Planet Box if you’re willing to invest, as well as Yumbox, shown here), then arrange all the kids’ favorite taco ingredients in the individual sections.
Consider shredded chicken or beef, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, shredded cheddar cheese, black beans, and of course, a bunch of tortilla chips. Way Better Snacks Multi-Grain Tortilla Chips are always a solid bet, but Black Bean and Nacho Cheese are fun ideas for more flavor; or if you have more adventurous kids, try Spicy Sriracha. Just be sure they know what they’re getting into first!
You can also include small containers of sour cream or salsa on the side because, more dipping.
Kids will have a good time trying to stack all the ingredients together on single chips, or mixing and matching, as kids will do. But be sure to pack plenty of napkins! This one can get a little messy, though that’s part of the fun.
Sandwich alternative #3: Tortilla Chips and Fruit Salsa
Fruit salsa is so fun and easy that you hardly even need a recipe. Plus, it’s so easy to prep in advance and save time on busy school mornings.
Just combine any diced fruit your kids love, like granny smith apples (they stay particularly crisp), melon, kiwi, strawberries, and raspberries. Add a good squeeze of lemon and mix it all together.
Some recipes call for fruit preserves or sugar, but we say skip it — fresh, ripe fruit tends to be sweet enough.
For something more tropical, try this Mango salsa recipe (above) from Way Better Snacks. Skip the “green stuff” and jalapeno if you have pickier kids, or make it even more tropical with fresh papaya and pineapple. It’s easy to experiment and kind of hard to mess it up.
Now we will say that if you search for fruit salsa recipes, lots of folks recommend serving with some kind of cinnamon chip. But we also know lots of parents want to cut back on sugar in school lunches. The truth is, fruit salsa is terrific on savory tortilla chips. Multi-Grain and Blue Corn are safe bets, but our faves from Way Better Snacks include Ginger Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato, and Sweet Chili. Plus, it’s a great way to get more fiber, whole grains and other healthy stuff into your kids’ lunches.
More about our sponsor
Way Better Snacks are made with simple, premium ingredients like sprouted flax, chia and ancient grains. Plus, they sprout their own great grains and seeds to unlock all the goodness inside those premium ingredients for your body to use. And it’s reassuring that all Way Better Snacks tortilla chips are Non-GMO Project Verified, Gluten Free, and 100% Whole Grain, containing nothing artificial whatsoever!
Try flavors that kids love like Nacho Cheese, Sweet Potato, Multi-Grain, Black Bean, and Blue Corn, or go more adventurous with Sweet Chili, Spicy Sriracha, and Ginger Sweet Potato.
Sandwich alternative #4: Tortilla Salad
Since we know our kids are more likely to eat salads when it’s topped with something crunchy, a bunch of crushed tortilla chips can be a healthier and more flavorful alternative to croutons. So easy and totally yummy.
Stash them in a separate container or bento compartment from the salad so they don’t get soggy. And make sure you don’t skimp on them! More toppings, as we’ve learned, means more salad gets eaten.
Sandwich alternative #5: Hot Soup with Tortilla “Croutons”
For a toasty school lunch sandwich alternative, don’t forget soup! It’s ridiculously easy to pack if you have a Thermos or similar insulated container, and soup is even more fun to eat when you provide some gently crushed tortilla chips on the side for kids to garnish each cupful.
Try combos like Tomato Soup and Blue Corn Chips; Chicken Soup and Sweet Potato Chips; or your favorite chili recipe with any kind of chip at all. In fact Way Better Snacks has their own Beef Chili recipe and they suggest pairing it with Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips (yum).
It’s a perfect idea for those cool fall afternoons at school, which will be here before we know it. Are you ready?
Thanks so much to our fantastic sponsor Way Better Snacks for making wholesome, delicious snacks and chips that help us get more good stuff into our kids’ diets.
EXTRA-COOL: WIN IT: Way Better Snacks is generously offering up a 3-month supply of their tortilla chips to one lucky winner. Whoo! You’ll have the chance to receive 6 full-size packs of chips every month for three months. That’s a lot of chips! To enter, just leave a comment here telling us your favorite Way Better Snacks Tortilla Chip flavor — or the one you’d most like to try. (Hint, visit gowaybetter.com to see all the flavors.)
Leave your comment by Friday, August 19, 2016 at midnight PT. One entry per person please, US residents only, must be 18+ and void where prohibited. One winner will be drawn at random. Good luck!