Are you (and your child) tired of PB&J’s? Coming up with creative lunches that are nutritious and delicious is no small task. Never fear! Here are a few fun ideas to jump start your thinking and help you create lunches your preschooler will love!

It’s A Wrap! There is more than one way to make a sandwich! Try some of these ideas to make an ordinary sandwich more fun.

  • Try putting your favorite fillings inside a tortilla or pita bread for a different kind of sandwich and give your old sandwich a look!
  • Fill a tortilla and then slice it to make fun pinwheel rolls. This works well with sticky fillings such as peanut butter and cream cheese.
  • How about switching bread for a hoagie roll, hot dog or hamburger bun? Be sure to cut it into bit sized pieces for little mouths.
  • Waffles or pancakes make fun bread! Fill them with anything you would put between bread slices for a breakfast-inspired take on a sandwich.
  • Try raisin bread or challah bread, and be on the lookout for other fun flavors in your bakery to try for your next sandwich.
  • Lettuce and celery pair nicely with peanut butter. Add some raisins for ants on a log or ants in a blanket!

Healthy Twists Sneak some nutrients into lunch and see how excited your child will be with something different!

  • Instead of the same old PB&J, try pairing peanut butter with some other fruits. PB and apple or banana slices are a hit with little ones. Try other fruits such as raisins, sliced grapes or sliced strawberries and see what your child likes best.
  • If it’s turkey or ham your child loves, how about adding some veggies? Sliced cucumbers, shaved carrots or sliced grape tomatoes might make a delicious combination.
  • A small cup with ranch dressing will help encourage your child to eat his veggies! Everything is more fun with a little dip!
  • Vanilla or fruit flavored yogurt makes a great dip for fruits and crackers.

Protein Power Everyone needs a little protein for lunch, but if you're limited to peanut butter, turkey, ham and cheese, it is sure to get boring quickly. Try these protein packed ideas with a twist.

  • Flavored cream cheese makes a wonderful sandwich filler, especially for toddlers who aren’t able to have peanut butter. Try blueberry, strawberry or honey nut for a tasty sandwich!
  • Cut up meat and cheese into fun shapes or use a cookie cutter to make seasonal shapes (you can also do this with your sandwiches). Throw in a few crackers for fun make your own cracker sandwiches.
  • Nuts of all kinds are a wonderful source of protein. Include a few for extra protein and a fun to munch treat.
  • Yogurt is a great option if you can keep the lunch cool with an ice pack. Or try freezing it overnight for a special frozen yogurt treat.

Love in the Box For some children, preschool will be the first time away from home for an extended day. Send a little love in his lunchbox to remind him how much you miss him when he’s at school. Here are some great ways to provide a little comfort for your little one and let him know you're thinking of him.

  • Include a little note in his lunch. Just a simple “I love you” or “have a great day” will be a special treat!
  • Older siblings, Dad or grandparents can also send special notes from time to time for a nice surprise. Younger siblings can draw a picture and dictate a message for Mom or Dad to write.
  • Candy hugs and kisses can be your own secret message if you talk about it with your child before you pack it in his lunch. One hug and one kiss is enough to bring a smile to his face and be the perfect cure for his sweet tooth.
  • How about sending a picture or note to show something special you will do after school or over the weekend? If he’s feeling sad, this will give him something fun to look forward to at the end of the day.
  • Post a picture of your family inside his lunchbox to remind him of all the people who love him most in the world.

Thinking outside the (lunch)box is the key to providing yummy, fun lunches inside the lunchbox! Making small changes to the regular lunch routine will make lunchtime so much more fun. Mix in some protein, nutrition and a little love and you will have the recipe for a lunch your preschooler will love!