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Ace-ing the Back to School Lunch Box

  • , by Hannah Lee Leidy

There’s an art to packing a good lunch box. It needs enough variety to keep it exciting, include the workhorse staples that ward off hanger strikes, and, of course, there must always be a little treat-yourself goodie.

We’re fans of the good ol’ sandwich, but it’s time to upgrade how we think of the lunch box sammie. Say goodbye to boring ham-and-cheese and sad peanut butter and jellys. Here are a few wild cards to add instant elevation to the usual cast of sandwich characters. 
Roast beef
Beef + arugula + mayo + fig jam + crusty baguette
Tomato sandwich
Tomatoes aren’t at peak season forever. When their luster starts to diminish, dress them up with some flaky dashes of tomato sandwich seasoning, and replace mayonnaise with poblano pimento cheese. Now that’s a sandwich!
Big Spoon Roasters Nut Butters
PBBH (peanut butter, banana, and honey)
Maple cinnamon nut butter + hickory-smoked honey + banana + seeded bread 
Let’s be honest, the B is the real reason people love this sandwich. Make it count with hefty strips of high-quality bacon.
The humble PB&J can be so much more than it often is. Twists on the usual ingredients, though, are where it gets the chance to shine. Try it with chai-spiced peanut butter and blueberry-cardamom jam, or pecan butter with vanilla-peach preserves.
Back to school lunch: dessert

Make sure the lunch box includes plenty of snacks to quench the mid-morning or late-afternoon stomach grumbles. Items like cheese straws, aside from being classically Southern, are easy to pack and won’t make a mess. Depending on your child's preferences, seasoned and flavored pretzels easily slide across the sweet-salty scale, depending on your child’s taste preferences. And for those with a sweet tooth, a little bite of afternoon chocolate never hurt anyone.

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