Brown-bagged lunch-making is really an art. The traditional sandwich only takes a couple of minutes to make, and the possibilities are endless. By adding more flavor and using different ingredients, you don’t have to eat the same lunch twice. If you’re looking to put a little more excitement into your lunch sammie, try these fun ideas to mix things up.
PAIR ROASTED VEGETABLES WITH MOZZARELLA
Think eggplant parmesan, but portable. Or skip the eggplant if that’s not your thing and load up on other veggies. Toss your favorite sliced vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast until they reach your desired texture. Toss them on whole-grain bread with mozzarella cheese, and eat chilled or warm for an easy vegetarian option. For extra protein, add hemp seeds, hummus or sprouts.
ADD A CREAMY TOPPING
You can easily make your classic turkey or ham sandwich stand out by adding a yogurt sauce, guacamole or hummus for additional flavor and micronutrients. Choose a fun hummus flavor, like beet hummus or carrot-white bean. Plus, adding a sauce only takes a few extra seconds to keep lunchtime quick and easy.
PAIR CHICKPEAS WITH AVOCADO
Mashing your chickpeas and pairing them with avocados adds texture, taste, protein and healthy fats to your sandwich and also makes for a fun vegan option. Add a splash of sea salt and lemon juice to bring it all together.
OPT FOR A FRUITY GRILLED CHEESE
You may have had pear on your grilled cheese, but you’ve probably never tried blueberries, peaches or blackberries. Make your childhood favorite a bit more grown up and give it a try. Fruit nicely complements a soft cheese, like Brie or goat cheese, and also adds extra flavor and fiber. You could even add fresh herbs, like basil or thyme, for a refreshing twist.
MAKE A PIZZA SANDWICH
Pizza is the ultimate comfort food, and it can be easily adapted into a healthy homemade sandwich. Toast a whole-wheat wrap or flatbread with arugula, cheese, tomato sauce and your favorite veggies for a plant-based option. Or, add your favorite protein as a topping.
TRY A SALAD SANDWICH
Many classic salads can be transformed into delicious sandwiches using the same ingredients. For example, try a caprese sandwich made with tomato, basil and mozzarella or a cobb sandwich with hard-boiled egg, bacon, chicken, blue cheese and veggies.
EXPLORE ANOTHER CULTURE
Part of the reason we get in ruts with meals is because we’re stuck in our own culture. If you’re feeling adventurous, take your lunches to another part of the world for the week. Try a Nordic-inspired salmon smorgasbord sandwich or a Bahn Mi from Vietnam.
MAKE A PANINI
Upgrade your sandwich flavor with heat and a panini press. There’s something about warm ingredients meshed together in a melty blend that is extra satisfying. For some easy ideas, try a chicken panini with butternut squash or a classic reuben sandwich.
USE A FUN SAUCE
Plain bread won’t make your palate zing, but chipotle aioli or avocado ranch might. Condiments elevate sandwiches by adding an extra layer of flavor that lunch meat or vegetables normally don’t bring. That little extra effort goes a long way in making a fun, tasteful sandwich — just keep portion sizes in check.