sandwiches

Time to start thinking creatively now that the kiddos soon will be home for the summer, and moms, stay-at-home dads, grandparents or babysitters will be faced with the task of keeping lunch interesting.

There’s no reason to fall into the temptation of slacking on nutrition just because it’s summer vacation.

It won’t be easy to keep those kids fueled on the right stuff if they’re eating fast food and sugary treats all day. Let’s keep the nutrition and good food choices going. It will be so much easier to get the kids to bed in the evening, and to settle back into the routine of school and studying once the summer is over if nutrition comes first.

So, where do we start? Thank God for “google,” a go-to place to find almost anything.

Luckily there is a great blog from Wholeliving.com devoted to super sandwich combos. With a little imagination and some dollars in the old pocketbook, we can do this!

With fiber-rich bread, brain-boosting protein and heart-healthy crunch, lunch can be transformed into something wonderful. Here are a few of our favorites:

Brie, Pear, and Mustard Grilled Cheese

This is a fairly sophisticated sandwich with an ounce of Brie cheese, whole grain mustard, and sliced sweet pears, grilled to perfection with just a splash of olive oil.

Peperonata Sandwiches

Cut crusty French bread and top with sautéed red, green and yellow bell peppers and grilled onions on goat-cheese spread.

Tuna and Quinoa Wrap

Ingredients
• 1/2 cup 2 percent Greek yogurt
• 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
• 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 6-inch whole-wheat wrap
• 1/4 cup tuna in olive oil, drained
• 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
• 1 tsp capers
• Zest of 1/2 lemon

Directions
1. Mix yogurt, herbs, and garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 2 Tbsp of yogurt mixture on wrap. Top with tuna, quinoa, capers, and lemon zest. Fold wrap to seal.
Turkey and Swiss with Grapes Sandwich
Place cheese, escarole, sliced turkey and green grapes (halved) between whole-wheat bread spread with a film of mayo or Vegenaise.

Grilled Chicken with Mango, Bell Pepper, and Avocado

Ingredients
• 1/4 avocado
• Coarse salt
• 2 slices multigrain bread
• 3 ounces grilled, skinless chicken breasts
• ¼ mango, sliced
• ¼ small red onion, sliced
• ¼ red bell pepper, sliced
• 4 to 5 dandelion greens

Directions
Mash avocado and season with salt. Spread on bread. Top with rest of ingredients.

Grilled Tofu Sandwiches

Marinate tofu cake in Sriracha for a hint of sweet chile. Pickled carrots add acidity and crunch. Perfect for the vegan family!

Ingredients
• 12 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced into 1/2-inch slabs
• 2 tablespoons fish sauce
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1/2 small shallot, thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon Sriracha
• 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
• 1 large carrot, thinly julienned
• Coarse salt
• Vegetable oil, for pan
• Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
• 2 6-inch baguette pieces, split
• 1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
• 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Directions
1. Press tofu.
2. Whisk together fish sauce, 1/4 cup vinegar, sugar, shallot, Sriracha, and ginger. Transfer tofu to a baking dish and top with marinade. Marinate at room temperature, 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, toss carrots with remaining vinegar. Season with salt and refrigerate.
4. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Coat with vegetable oil and add tofu (reserve marinade). Grill, turning, until crisp and charred in spots, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
5. Generously brush cut sides of baguette with olive oil. Grill until toasted and golden, about 1 minute. Top bread with grilled tofu, carrots, herbs, and a drizzle of reserved marinade.

Crisp Prosciutto, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

Reinvent the BLT sandwich on seven-grain bread with avocado, and prosciutto.

Cheddar and Avocado Sandwich

Pack this mashed avocado, tomato and cheddar sandwich for a healthy picnic lunch.

Ingredients
• 1/4 avocado
• 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 lemon wedge
• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 slices multigrain bread
• 1 oz extra-sharp cheddar cheese
• 3 to 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup sprouts

Directions
1. Mash avocado with oil and juice of lemon wedge. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Spread mashed avocado on one slice of bread. Top with cheddar, tomatoes, red onion, and sprouts. Top with the second slice.

This should get the old creative juices swirling for some interesting homemade sustenance that should please the palates of everyone in the family, or at least introduce them to the new and different.

And if the kids think these sandwiches are just too weird to try, then make them for friends, pair them with gazpacho or cold cucumber soup and invite the adults over for a luscious and light summer repast. Here’s to making summer great again!

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