Brown-bag lunch alternatives

This post can also be seen in the forums at

PB&J again, mom? Maybe you need to change it up...

Is your kid tired of the same old PB&J for lunch? Perhaps the lunch meat has worn out its welcome. Try out these interesting alternatives I found that will make your child think twice before trading for cookies.

Apple Cheese Sandwich with Honey and Walnuts (from
4 slices of your favorite bread
1 thinly-sliced Granny Smith apple
6-8 thin slices of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup walnuts
Lay bread slices out side by side on a cutting board. Top each slice of bread with a few apple slices and cheese slices.
Drizzle sandwiches with honey. Top with walnuts. Makes 2 open-faced sandwich servings.

Hummus Wrap (from
Use whole wheat flat bread or pocketless pita. Spread the hummus down the center of the bread and add any or all of the following: grated carrot, thinly sliced onion, grated cheese, shredded cabbage, chopped tomato, flax seeds, toasted almonds. Roll, cut & wrap.

Nori Wrap (the flat seaweed you use for sushi)
My kids really love these. Line the Nori with lettuce leaves (it keeps the Nori from softening too much). Add any filling you want – turkey, cheese, chicken salad, tuna, etc.

Make your own sushi
Sushi is actually really easy to make, and you don’t even have to use raw fish in the process. The only essentials you will need are a Bamboo Sushi Mat (available at many different shops selling cookware, including G&G – and they cost barely anything), short-grained rice, rice vinegar (with sugar and salt), ingredients you want to include, and a very sharp knife. Place the Nori sheet on the mat. Heat ¼ cup vinegar with ¼ cup sugar and 2T salt. Mix with cooked rice. Spread cooled rice over Nori sheet. Line ingredients in the middle of the rice on the Nori sheet. Roll Bamboo mat away from you, rolling the sushi tightly as you go. Once rolled, slice roll to desired width.
Possible kid-friendly ingredients: avocado, teriyaki chicken, turkey, egg, banana, cucumbers, carrots, imitation crab…possibilities are endless.
See for finer details on making your own sushi
See Family for more kid-friendly sushi fillings.

A few tips for moms with picky lunchers:

Change the bread, or don’t use bread at all. Instead of bread, you can use crackers, english muffins, tortillas, lettuce leaves, or even Nori sheets. You can even skip a main course altogether and just create what we call a “Wine Country Lunch” – cheese, grapes, salami, crackers, and a handful of nuts.

Need some ideas for snacks? Here are a couple gems that will make all your child’s schoolmates itching for a trade:

Create Your Own Snack Mix (from
Use a selection of small flavorful crackers, cereal, dried fruit or pretzels. Just about anything goes. For an occasional kid lunch box treat toss in a few M & Ms or yogurt or chocolate covered raisins. Experiment with different mixes and pre-package in individual zip lock bags.

Powerball Recipe (from
1. Mix 1 cup peanut butter and 1 cup honey until smooth
2. Add 3 cups old-fashioned oats and 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
3. Add 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup nuts and dried fruit (any combintion of peanuts, sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans, raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dates, etc)
4. Roll into ping-pong sized balls and store in fridge or freezer
Makes about 40 snack balls, and leftovers can be kept in the fridge or frozen with wax paper separating the layers.

 Local Bento Blog
And, of course, who doesn’t love the cuteness and creativity of the Bento Box?  One of our local moms here in Sonoma County has her own blog, Sonoma Bento.  It’s dedicated to all things Bento, and is full of inspirations for your own Bento adventures.  I love how she promotes eating local, including many items from the farms here in Sonoma County.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Start a Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: