Let’s give peanut butter and bologna a break. Peas and peppers make great bread mates as well, and carry a bunch of energy-rich vitamins essential for a kid’s healthy development. Here are five kid-friendly veggie sandwiches that pack well for lunch.

When it comes to good nutrition, a sandwich without veggies is full of baloney.

Sure, cold cuts and PB&J are great go-to’s for lunch in a pinch, but have you tried a full veggie sandwich? Vegetables pack nutrients that are essential to child development, including iron, protein, calcium and vitamins. Put a few pieces of veg between two slices of bread, and your kids have a lunch that should keep them alert and sated until school lets out.

We know not all kids are veggie friendly. This is largely because veggies taste stronger to kids than they do to adults, because kids have three times as many taste buds. However, if you pair the veggies with cheeses, lemon juice and/or all-natural dips, kids can learn to accept the taste of vegetables in time. Eventually, they could even like them.

So let’s not put off for tomorrow what can be accomplished this afternoon. Following are five veggie sandwich recipes that are easy to make and pack.

Confetti Rolls (makes two)

 This healthy rollup is big on versatility. You can use pretty much any finely chopped veggie – we use 2/3 a cup of zucchini, purple cabbage and red, orange and yellow bell peppers. Start with four tablespoons of hummus or two ounces of room-temperature Neufchatel cheese. Mix with a tablespoon of Creamy Ranch Vegy Vida and a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese (optional). Divide the mixture and spread on two wheat tortillas. Sprinkle with the veggies. Roll tight and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for an hour or up to a day. Before serving (or packing) cut into one-inch slices.

Mighty Spinach-and-Cream Cheese Bagel Bites

You can call these Mighty Bites for short. Spinach, kale and many other leafy greens are rich in iron, which helps muscles store and use oxygen. For this sandwich, we suggest using fresh greens. Mix them in with softened cream cheese (chop the leaves first if needed). Spread the mixture on the bottom half of a bagel. Add a squirt of honey or agave syrup for sweetness (optional), or top with Savory Bacon Vegy Vida (it’s oink-free!). Place the second half of the bagel on top and cut into four to six pieces. Serve with toothpicks.

Peas and Carrot Tops

Rich in vitamins A, B, C and K as well as fiber, this p-easy sandwich can include a slice of turkey breast or cheese for protein. Blend one cup of room-temperature peas in a food processor with two tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and a squirt of lemon (optional). Spread the pea-like pesto on slices of wheat bread. Sprinkle with shredded carrots and top off with a second slice. Cut into four triangles, or carrot tops. Thanks for the inspiration, SuperHealthyKids!

Roasted Veggie “Burgers”

What makes this veggie sandwich like a burger is the bun (we like onion). It can include pretty much any veggie you like roasted – peppers, yellow squash and zucchini slices, portobello mushroom or eggplant rounds. Add a slice of your kid’s favorite cheese while the veggies are hot so it gets melty. Or, before packing, top with Vegy Vida Cheesy Cheddar or Cool Buffalo. Wrap in foil to keep warm in the lunch box.

Martha’s Chicken-and-Broccoli Pockets

Broccoli is a star among veggies. It is high in vitamins A and B as well as iron and magnesium (good for energy and digestion). This sandwich combines coarsely chopped cooked broccoli and chicken breast with cheddar and Jarlsberg cheeses, but you can substitute some of the cheese with Cheesy Cheddar Vegy Vida. Tightly wrap the mixture in flour tortillas and bake about 12 minutes. Cut in half or quarters and pack them up. Thanks for the idea, Martha Stewart!

Lastly, if you have time, dress the sandwiches up with decorative toothpicks or include a little story about the veggies. Explain that the carrots will help her see the teacher better, or that the broccoli will make him stronger in gym class.

And ask for feedback. Kids like not only to be heard, but also to be taken seriously. Not all sandwiches will work, but together you can find a starting point.

Good luck! For more Vegy Vida recipes, visit us here.

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