Lunch Box: PB&J Makeover Article -
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Lunch Box: PB&J Makeover

Give new life to a lunch box classic with this peanut butter and apple sandwich.

What's for Lunch

This scrumptious midday meal is packed with fresh flavors, crunchy textures, and eye-pleasing color. Don't tell the kids, but it's also full of fiber and antioxidants!

Lunch Box Logic

  • Unsightly science. Cut apples start to turn brown from oxidation as soon as they hit the air. Keep a small spray bottle in the fridge filled with a mixture of water and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Mist sliced or grated apples to keep them crisp and pretty until lunch time.
  • Make ahead. Make sandwiches the night before and store them, wrapped, in the fridge. The carrot salad will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but you might want to lift it out with a fork to drain the juices a bit before portioning into small containers for lunches. Muffins can be baked ahead of time and either stored, wrapped, in the fridge or frozen (defrost in the fridge overnight).
  • Make it easy. Use your food processor to shred apples and carrots quickly.
  • Make it different. Sandwich: substitute bananas for apples. Try almond or cashew butter instead of peanut butter, or chunky peanut butter instead of smooth. Wrap sandwich ingredients in whole wheat tortillas instead of using bread.
    Salad: add raisins or dried cranberries. Omit nuts if you wish.
    Muffins: exercise portion control by making mini muffins.
  • Make it safe. Freeze a small carton of milk or bottle of water to keep lunches nicely chilled until ready to eat.

    Sep. 3, 2009 10:53 am
    Another great lunch idea. Freeze the little containers of apple sauce and put them into your kids lunch frozen. They will keep the lunch cold and instead of just regular apple sauce it is a apple sauce slushy. My daughter loves it!!
    Oct. 26, 2009 9:01 pm
    our school just has a peanut table
    Jan. 30, 2011 9:26 pm
    I have recently started mixing tofu into my peanut butter. Adding the tofu cuts down on the calories/fat if you use the same serving portion and it gives the peanut butter a fluffy texture. Very interesting!
    Mar. 4, 2011 9:20 pm
    My kids love the apple slushies! We do the same thing with their drinks. We use the single serve packets of crystal light lemonade or whatever their flavor choice is, freeze it the night before and not only do they have a slushy with lunch, it also keeps their fruits cold!
    Mar. 17, 2011 4:16 pm
    Omg! Ill try the apple slushy idea 4 my lil sis. I think shell love it!!!
    Mar. 19, 2011 7:39 am
    I love the applesauce idea. I freeze yogurts for my kids to keep their lunch cold never even thought of the applesauce. Thank you for the idea!
    Aug. 6, 2011 7:49 pm
    we freeze juice and small water bottles to keep the lunch cold, but I like the applesauce idea too!
    Aug. 11, 2011 2:34 pm
    I hope I remember these tricks when I have kids
    Pop's Kitchen 
    Oct. 11, 2011 1:58 pm
    what i do is have a water bottle and ask your kids what color they like out of the 4 food coloring colors and they tell me and i put in thier water bottle and freeze it so that its colorful and fun and still water but slushyish water.
    Mar. 21, 2012 11:51 am
    Here's an idea............ STOP SENDING PEANUT BUTTER TO SCHOOL!!!!
    Apr. 29, 2012 4:54 pm
    spraying apples with lemon juice makes the apples a bit bitter for me. I dip them in milk. Keeps them fresh looking for a week in the fridge.
    barb r. 
    Aug. 9, 2012 12:36 pm
    to thenuttytruth- Why should we stop sending pb to school. You must have a child with allergies. My son is also allergic to pb. Its not only pb that people are allergic to their are other foods also. Should we stop sending those also. Chill out!
    Aug. 11, 2012 1:21 am
    Since I live in a very humid area, I've found freezing cookies and animal crackers / gold fish crackers for my daughters' snacks, helps to keep these fresh and crunchy. Good for buying basic treats in bulk.
    Sep. 4, 2012 8:15 pm
    Kudos barb r
    Sep. 5, 2012 7:33 am
    I wish it was that easy to send Peanut Butter and Jam sandwiches to school - but there is a total peanut free ban everywhere up in Canada so this is not an option for me.... I'm surprised it's allowed in any school with peanut allergies being so bad. Honestlysending that to school is an accident waiting to happen.
    Sep. 5, 2012 9:15 am
    Instead of jelly, often times I substitute applesauce. It makes a great sandwich.
    Sep. 6, 2012 7:02 am
    I live in Alberta (Canada) & my daughter was allowed to bring PB to school grades 1 - 4. There was a separate table for children with allergies. Now in grade 5 she's in a new school & not allowed. We are vegetarian & she is picky & it's the only sandwich other than the occasional burrito she will eat. I know I'll figure it out but it's quite a challenge right now.
    Sep. 6, 2012 10:45 pm
    My daughter loves honey on her peanut butter sandwich. I love the apple sauce idea, I must try. I was just thinking that you could freeze the fruit cups also.
    Sep. 8, 2012 6:03 am
    Why not just let the kids with allergies sit at a table by themselves with other kids who have allergies? That would make more sense than punishing a kid that took peanut butter to school. The children with the allergies have to learn that they can not have peanuts. Why punish all?
    Sep. 12, 2012 6:19 am
    Our school board has a total peanut ban so a table with kids with allergies is not an option as kids can touch a door knob with peanut butter and there you have it. I know in the big bad world you are on your own, but here, it is not allowed,either in a granola bar, cookie, spread or any nut laced product. Safety first I guess. I wish I could give him a pb&j sandwich. Would make life a lot easier!
    Sep. 13, 2012 4:13 pm
    I saw in a few store ads that there is a peanut butter alternative that tastes like the real thing without the peanuts. I personally will always send peanut butter to my kids school. Guess the teachers will have to keep the kids away from mine.
    Sep. 21, 2012 7:44 pm
    There is a tasty alternative to pb...and tastes very much like the real thing. It can be found in the organic section of most grocery stores nowadays
    Sep. 25, 2012 5:53 pm
    Another great idea that I use instead of peanut butter and jelly is nuttella! (I don't think I spelled it right though!) it is very good and we love them!
    Sep. 19, 2013 12:40 pm
    my son loved peanut butter and ham sandwiches.
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