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HomeHealth & BehaviorHealth & Nutrition

Beyond the sandwich

Most sandwiches get skipped, tossed, or otherwise disrespected. Give them a break with these high-protein alternatives.

By Carol Lloyd

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Sandwiches get dissed

It’s not brain science, figuring out what to feed our kids for lunch. Except that, well, it is. Science tells us that what kids eat affects their brain and, by extension, their learning capacity. Today’s lunch boxes are like war zones — where the goodies kids want and the healthy fare parents want kids to eat battle it out — and the healthy food usually loses: the beloved “power bar” (aka candy bar in fiber drag) squashes the pear while pretzels poke holes in the forlorn sandwich.

“Eat your sandwich first,” you dutifully repeat every morning. But that’s not what happens. How many PB&Js can one child eat, anyway? And pushing that hormone-, antibiotic- and nitrate-rich lunch meat (aka processed meats like salami, bologna, turkey, bacon, or sausage, all of which are associated with diabetes and heart disease) doesn’t fulfill your goal of boosting your child’s brain power. Besides, after being twirled like a discus and tossed in a corner for several unrefrigerated hours, your child's sandwich — far worse for wear — will likely end up in the compost bin.

So whether your child’s staging a noon-time hunger strike or simply trading healthy food for yummy junk, here are high-protein sandwich-alternatives that just might make the cut.

is the executive editor of GreatSchools and mother to two raucous daughters, ages 9 and 13.

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