The sandwich is so 2013. Get your kids excited about lunch all over again with these nine high-flavor, low-stress options.
BAKED CRACKER-CRUSTED CHICKEN FINGERS
No kid can resist a good chicken finger. This CHOW recipe (pictured above) delivers flavor and is healthy to boot, using whole-wheat crackers for the crust and baking instead of deep-frying. Photo: Chris Rochelle
MINI TURKEY BURGERS
Who says burgers are just for barbecues? Martha Stewart riffs on the classic burger with ground turkey and cheddar, and makes them the perfect mini size for little ones’ lunch boxes. Photo: essexgirlcookshealthy.com
Imagine if a cinnamon roll and a pizza had a baby, and you’ll get pizza buns. Rebecca from Simple As That makes them like cinnamon rolls, but with pizza ingredients. They’re super portable, perfect for a lunch box! Photo: Simple As That
THE ELVIS BURRITO
This Bon Appétit recipe pairs peanut butter with bacon, honey, and banana in a whole-wheat tortilla (just think of bacon as the new jelly). Photo: Kimberley Hasselbrink for Bon Appétit
THE GREEK PB&J?
Chef Cat Cora wows her kids by spreading hummus and black-olive mayo on pita bread, then adding a few veggies like cucumber, lettuce, and tomato and serving it sandwich style. Photo: Chris Rochelle
SESAME NOODLE SALAD
Lauren from the blog Lauren’s Latest packs a ton of veggies into this noodle salad, and makes even the pickiest eater want to scarf it down thanks to a tasty dressing flavored with sesame oil. Photo: Lauren’s Latest
MINI SHEPHERD’S PIE
Who says sheperd’s pie is only for dinner? Tracy from The Lucky Lunchbox uses jumbo muffin cups to make a mini version for lunches. Bonus: They can be frozen and reheated individually! Photo: The Lucky Lunchbox
SAY YES TO NOT’CHOS!
Blogger Keeley McGuire likes to pack up leftover taco meat with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and tomatoes, turning lunch into a kids’ make-your-own affair. Mild salsa and guacamole would be other good additions to the nacho bar. Photo: Keeley McGuire Blog
CORN AND ZUCCHINI FRITTERS
For a veggie-centric kid lunch beyond the basic sandwich, make easy fritters by mixing whole-wheat pancake batter with corn and shredded zucchini. Pack with Greek yogurt for dipping. Photo: Kimberley Hasselbrink for Bon Appétit
Leena Trivedi-Grenier is a Bay Area food writer and cooking teacher with an undying love for pot stickers. She earned her master's in gastronomy from Le Cordon Bleu. Her writing appears on her blog Leena Eats and in various food-based encyclopedias.