Staying creative as you pack a lunch for you or your kids isn’t always easy. If you’ve settled on a routine sandwich, try these out instead.


Whether it’s for work or for your kids, packing a simple ham and cheese sandwich for lunch is not uncommon. And while there’s no such thing as labeling food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it is important to stay mindful of potential health implications around some popular deli favorites and other processed meats.

The World Health Organization recently classified processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage, ham, and some deli meats, as carcinogens. What this means is that excessive consumption has been linked with cancer diagnoses. While deli sandwiches are an easy go-to, there are so many other simple alternatives. Here are a few to try:

1. Canned Tuna or Salmon

There’s nothing like a good tuna sandwich. Mix your tuna with avocado, try a little Greek yogurt or salad dressing. Pack in more flavor and texture with dijon or honey mustard, relish, and apples or celery pieces. Whether you put it in a pita pocket or toss it on a salad, it’s a simple go-to that can keep you full for hours. Tuna and salmon are both great sources of protein and Omega-3s.

2. Grilled Chicken Breast

If you have time on the weekends, batch cook chicken and keep it on hand for both lunch or dinner during different days of the week. Try using your prepared chicken to mix up your lunch with a spread or sauce, such as pesto or a tomato-based pasta sauce. Plain chicken with spinach and mustard can also be equally delicious.

3. Peanut Butter and Fresh Berries

Peanut butter and jelly tastes good, but fresh berries are an even tastier way to go. The natural sweetness and flavor of the fresh fruit can enhance your sandwich more than most jams or jellies. Try peanut butter with strawberries, blueberries, or even sliced peaches on an English muffin or sliced bread.

4. Hummus and Veggie Wrap

If you have any leftover roasted veggies, it’s a perfect time to make a wrap. Combine whatever veggies you have on hand with hummus, greens, and some mustard for a simple and delicious lunch.

5. Black Bean Wraps

Black beans are a great source of both protein and fiber. Mix it up with cumin or taco-flavored spices, a whole grain such as quinoa or brown rice, peppers, onions, spinach, roasted veggies, and even some hummus.

Get creative, and make lunch fun again!

Adapted from the original article.

Jenna Gorham, RD is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Bozeman, Montana focused on helping 20-somethings improve their health by making healthy eating easy. By emphasizing nutrition is more than the latest fad diet and trend, Jenna bridges a better understanding of the body’s needs with simple, long-lasting lifestyle habits that help others achieve the best health.

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