The Ten Best Back To School Sandwiches
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10 Best Back to School Sandwich Recipes

The signs have been around for several weeks now: more traffic on the roads, moms bustling around super stores with their carts full of backpacks and pens, even the slight change in parents' overall demeanor. Back to school has definitely arrived.

I always find this time of year such a mixed bag of emotions for adults and kids alike. The end of summer brings with it some sadness, but there is also the excitement of returning to familiar friends and routines.

On the sad side, those long summer days of not having to so fastidiously plan the next meal are noticeably gone too, and you have to start wrapping your head around planning your kids' school lunch every day. But don't despair! You need not feel doomed to the fate of having to always packing the same ol' thing. Here are a few of my favorite simple sandwich recipes from the past few years that my kids still demand that I put in their lunch boxes.

Egg Pesto Melt and how to make them!

Banana Dog Bites and how to make them!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pancake Sandwich

Banana Cream Cheese Sammie

Bagel Pesto Panini

Elvis Panini

Cucumber Cream Cheese Sammie

PB&J Banana Panini

Pizza Pinwheels and how to make them!

Chicken Caesar Wrap

The World's Greatest PB&J

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  2. Angie

    May 20, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Those banana dog bites look so cute. All the sandwiches look amazing!

  3. mel

    October 25, 2013 at 5:26 am

    it would be really good if you had a google plus page

  4. ambalika Gupta

    September 29, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I am tied of my son’s excuses for not eating n hope u can help me with it.

  5. Laura

    January 5, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I love your blog but would like some lunch ideas that taste good after being packed for a few hours and also nut free choices as my childrens school is a nut fre zone do to allergies,thank you

  6. snehal

    October 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I need good recipes ,some with chicken and vegetables for my toddler baby

  7. Vania

    September 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    my daughter doesn’t like ham and cheese sandwiches or pb&J’s. but she likes cucumbers…I made her the cucumber cream cheese sammie for lunch today…she loved it!

  8. Jane

    September 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    We’re in Canada, and neither my daughter’s preschool or daycare is nut free. Thank God! Also, I’m a teacher, and my school isn’t nut free. If a child has a nut allergy and isn’t comfortable in his classroom at lunch time because of possible nuts around, he could eat in another part of the classroom or in the hall. If it’s an extreme allergy, then just that classroom has to be nut free.

    • Debi

      November 12, 2012 at 1:26 am

      Thats mean to even suggest that a child should be forced to sit alone in the hall because of something beyond their control. We shouldn’t make them feel different, but instead be a little self-sacrificing and go nut free. It’s only for 6 hours. You’ve got nothing to lose and a child’s heart to gain.

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  10. Crazy Kwistin

    August 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I love these!! I just told the hubster I want to be super mom and make my girl cute little sammiches for school. This is perfect. OMG waffles, brilliant. I’m going to make these for me too :) yum!!!

  11. aida mollenkamp

    August 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Such fun ideas! I’ll be testing them on my niece and nephews this fall!

  12. Lisa | With Style and Grace

    August 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    These are GREAT ideas!! Definitely taking note of these for future sandwich eating :)

  13. Kari

    August 29, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I love the idea of the banana tortilla with peanut butter. I think it would hold up great. You can even leave out the banana and just have a peanut butter tortilla wrap. I would eat these all the time when I had the metabolism of a 20 year old. They are especially yummy if you warm them in the microwave.! Maybe raisins instead of bananas.

  14. Brandy

    August 29, 2012 at 1:54 am

    It is time for me to try some of these sandwiches again now that my toddler is more adventurous. I certainly want to try them! There’s no lunch at his nursery school (mornings for just 2 hrs), but we love to pack a lunch & picnic at the park or zoo about once a week. Your site continues to be our favorite go-to recipe finder for the whole family. I’m so grateful for it (& the pre-ordered book!) Many thanks Catherine!

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  16. Jenny

    August 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I love these ideas but my kids won’t eat any of this. I agree they would think the bread is soggy and bananas have to be just right. I don’t blame them i am kind of the same way. Maybe it is my fault. My 9 year old just started eating bread otherwise everything has always be deconstructed. It is hard when a kid won’t eat a sandwich ever! I love your ideas but it would be great maybe for some more basic type of things. Maybe i could deconstruct the sandwhiches. Hmmmm. It is hard my kids eat a lot of great food but plain plain plain. They like no sauces or flavors and lots of protein. I love your blog just wish my kids we less picky about consistency and how food looks.

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  18. Bing

    August 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Love your ideas! Thank you!

  19. Christene

    August 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Wow. Nut free schools? Glad I am in Europe. That would annoy me.

    • Deanna

      August 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      You are very lucky!! Everything is nut free in Canada now – playgroups, schools, camps, everything. It can be annoying but I get it.

      How do your schools, etc handle nut allergies?

      • Christene

        August 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm

        Wow, really? I guess a lot has changed since I was a nanny. I’m an American abroad – been in Austria since 2005 and before that was in England.
        In the schools with younger children, the Tante’s are in charge of knowing who has what allergies. They also really have the kids trained here. Kind of amazing really. I could try to offer a big, fat cookie to a kid with a nut allergy and he/she would not take it unless they drilled me for contents – yes, even the little ones. Children are raised quite differently here though. They get a lot more independence.

        My daughter so far is only in preschool til noon though (she’s 2) so I don’t know how it’s handled in Kindergarden which starts at 3 here. My guess it’s similar to my daughter’s? Really, I have no idea.

        Yes, I just made a big batch of natural nut butters today actually. I don’t give my daughter junk food at all, in fact we live an exceptionally healthy lifestyle and healthy nuts are a staple for us.

        I feel bad for the kids with allergies as I know they can be life-threatening, but it’s too bad other children have to miss out. Being in school sometimes til 3-5pm at night is a big chunk of their nutrition 5 days a week.
        I hope they can come up with a better solution in schools besides leaving something so healthy and important out.

        • Rebekah

          August 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm

          I like the points you make Christine. Very well put. :)

        • Nicole

          August 28, 2012 at 6:41 pm

          I totally agree with you especially since my daughter has pretty much been a vegetarian since she was 2 (7 now). PB was a staple in her diet and when she started at preschool we had a big problem with her lunches. However, she has quite a few friends who have severe peanut or treenut allergies and, while the kids themselves are vigiallant, the other kids who eat these things might not wash their hands appropriately, and that alone can sometimes cause a severe reaction. Unfortunately this is the world we live in.

  20. Cori Dasinger

    August 27, 2012 at 11:16 am

    We use sunflower seed butter as an alternative to peanut butter. It’s allowed at schools and tastes delicious!

  21. 1gbmommy

    August 27, 2012 at 10:51 am


  22. Andrea E Wells

    August 27, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Love some of these ideas and if I could put one of my own in….finely chop some cooked chicken breast mix with sweetcorn and mayo and crispy bacon bits if liked then spread over either bread or cold pancake, cut up how they like it…add a few little cherry tomatoes and seedless grapes to eat with it.
    At home I add lettuce leaves before rolling pancake/crepe but this tends to go soggy so not ideal for p/lunch.

  23. Beth

    August 27, 2012 at 10:24 am

    yep – wondering if you serve those cold as well. how well do they do in a lunch box after a few hours ? also wondering how well that banana dog would hold up or if it would get brown and mushed up in a lunch box. Love the ideas though. Worth trying to see.

  24. Sandy

    August 27, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Love the idea of a panini, but according to my daughter, anything toasted/grilled ends up soggy. I usually let it cool off before I put it in her sandwich container, but even still, it is never as good as ‘hot off the press’. Anyone have any suggestions, or feedback on this?

    • catherine

      August 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

      It is true that paninis will be different in school lunch than right after they’ve been cooked. I let it cool completely before packing and don’t have a problem with it getting soggy! You could try wrapping it in foil to keep it warm, although that might make it more soggy.

    • Sandy

      August 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

      I should clarify the ‘soggy’ … not super wet, but just ‘humid’ and not crisp, if that makes any sense????

  25. Juliette

    August 27, 2012 at 9:48 am

    We used to substitute soy butter for peanut butter and it worked well… until the school banned the substitutes too… apparently allergic kids saw the butter and freaked out and it caused “panic”. Sigh. It was good while it lasted.

    Would like to hear more about the hot sandwiches too!

  26. Abigail M.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Hey, I love the ideas but I was curious, do you serve the hot sandwiches cold or do you pack them in a thermos or other container to keep them warm? I have a hard time believing those sandwiches are good cold.

    • catherine

      August 27, 2012 at 11:22 am

      I let them cool completely before packing in the lunch box, pack an ice pack in lunch, and everything is eaten at room temperature!

  27. Jennifer

    August 27, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Replace the peanut butter with the alternative of your choice!

  28. Alicia hackney

    August 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Great ideas but just wanted to point out that most schools are nut free. Would love to see some more PB alternatives!

    • catherine

      August 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Sunflower butter is a great peanut butter alternative!

  29. Ruth

    August 27, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Today was BBQ pork on a Hawaiian roll. Tomorrow, the always popular pb&j pancake Sammie! Maybe pizza rolls or turkey tacos this week too. School lunch definitely doesn’t have to be boring! Thanks for the great ideas Weelicious!

  30. Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama

    August 27, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I love all these fun ideas!