Protein-packed lunches that prove there's life after peanut butter
Peanut butter and jelly was my go-to lunch as a kid. I loved how sweet it was. I know my mom was happy too, because it was super easy to make. Nowadays a lot of schools don’t allow peanut butter in their lunchrooms because so many kids suffer from severe peanut allergies.
But there are plenty of other ways to get your kids their protein without peanuts or any of the other tree nuts. Here we have 10 delicious recipe ideas that are great alternatives to PB&J. To be quite honest, I wish I had some of these snacks as a kid. Some of them are other types of sandwiches, but there are other new and interesting snacks your kids are sure to love.
Fresh fruit with coconut butter dip
One of our new favorite proteins is coconut butter, which you can make yourself. Just pour coconut flakes into your food processor, and let it go. Be patient, because it takes up to eight minutes. Stop every few minutes to scrape down the sides.
Once you've got your coconut butter in a little container, you can pack fruit for dipping. Try bananas, berries — even thinly sliced apples would work.
Avocado-sweet potato "toast"
Skip the bread, and plunk a slice of sweet potato right into the toaster. Smash up some avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper, slather it on the "toast," and you have a healthy and delicious packed lunch. Depending on how smooth you make your avocado spread, it’ll have the same consistency as peanut butter (it’ll just taste so much better).
Veggies with hummus dip
Chickpeas are another excellent source of protein, and hummus comes in all kinds of fun flavors. Let your kids pick out their own, plus carrots and whatever other veggies they like. Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, lettuce and green beans all work.
Surprise your child with a breadless sandwich. Take two slices of cheddar or provolone cheese, and place turkey slices and lettuce between them.
Chicken and salsa pinwheel
Grab some rotisserie chicken from the market, and make a pinwheel with whole-wheat tortillas, cheese, chicken and salsa. Your kids will never think about peanut butter again.
The perfect lunches are ones that kids get to create themselves. Send them off to school with crackers, chunks of cheddar cheese, pepperoni and ham, and have them create their own cracker creations. Serve with a few sliced apples (and hopefully they’ll end up eating that too).
The great thing about mini pizzas made from pita bread is that they taste delicious warm or cold. Mix together shredded mozzarella and pepperoni, tomato sauce and veggies, and throw it in the oven for a few minutes, then into your kid's lunchbox.
Cream cheese and honey sandwich
Kids love peanut butter and jelly because it's supersweet, but this recipe will satisfy their sweet cravings without the peanut butter. Try making a sandwich with cream cheese, honey and sliced strawberries. You can serve it with regular bread, or you can toast the bread — either way, this is a killer sandwich.
Rice cakes and edamame
If your kids aren't already hip to the fun of eating steamed edamame — whole soybean pods — then now is a good time to introduce them. Steam or poach the pods, and toss with salt. To eat, scrape the pods with your teeth until the soybeans inside pop out.
Egg salad with honey mustard
Here's an egg salad idea for the more adventurous eaters out there. Stir some honey mustard in with the mayo, and add a few julienne-cut veggies on top. It won’t take long at all to make, and you’ll know your kids are having a super-healthy meal.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below: