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Sandwiches Beyond the Deli Meat

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Deli Meat-Free Sandwich Ideas!

As I explained in Part I and Part II of this post, we used to eat a lot of deli meat and processed meats. We slowly phased it out buying it by adding in other things. 

Here are a whole bunch of ideas for building simple sandwiches without deli meat. There are six examples after the graphic. You could even add deli meat to a lot of them if eating less deli meat isn’t your thing.

*If you want to download this sandwich guide so you can stick it on your fridge or look at it later, I’ll email it to you! Just enter your email below.* 

A grid of sandwich ideas

Special note about “eliminating” things from the diet

Whenever I reduce or remove something from the diet, I think about what I was getting from that food. In the case of deli meat, we were getting protein and fat. Perhaps some iron, depending on the type of deli meat. So, I need alternatives that will taste good and will have protein, fat, and maybe some iron.

These sandwich combos enable you to combine protein and fat. They also allow you to mix iron-rich plant foods (like spinach or peanut butter) with vitamin C sources like fruits and veggies. That gives you the biggest bang for your buck in the iron department.

And if you have a little one under 2 who can’t manage a sandwich yet, serve it deconstructed! These are completely balanced meals whether or not you can keep your sandwich together.

Sandwich Combos Kid-Approved

Here are 6 sandwiches that my kids love.

Blueberries and Granola Butter

Granola butter is the newest nut-free option on the market. Tastes like ah-mazing granola, but is a spread. My kids absolutely love it. It’s very allergy friendly, nut-free school-friendly, and you can get it here (affiliate link)!

Cheese and Veggies

Layer it up! My kids have accepted all sorts of veggies on a sandwich (assuming they are in the right mood. ha!)

Peanut Butter and Banana

Another classic. I mix the banana with a bit of lemon or lime juice to keep it from turning brown. Or mix it up with some cinnamon. Yum.

Blackberries and Cream Cheese

Amazing in the summer when you can find your own stash of black berries and pick them at the peak of ripeness. So delicious. Plus they are purple. You can capitalize on that, if you have a child who loves the color purple.

Avocado and Hummus

That’s really two spreads in one. This can be really nice for kids under 2 who are always losing their sandwich contents out the bottom.

Raspberries and Almond Butter

Hint on this one. Raspberries and be really juicy and make bread soggy fast. So, cut the raspberries in half and lay the juicy side facing the almond butter. No more soggy sandwiches!

What sandwich will you be making first?

Jennifer Anderson

Jennifer Anderson is a registered dietitian with a masters of science in public health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is the founder and CEO of Kids Eat In Color - the world’s leading resource for helping get kids on the path to eating better without the mealtime battles.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Samantha

    Amazing! You never disappoint!!! Thank you for your constant support and thoughtful inspiration!

  2. Jaylene

    Just ordered the granola butter and added the other ingredients to my list! We will will be having some taste tests this week! Thanks for the ideas!

  3. Jaylene

    Do you have some suggestions of good/healthy kid-friendly bread brands?

  4. Kyndal

    I would love a copy!

  5. Fernanda

    I would very much like to receive your sandwich guide by email.
    Thanks ,
    Fernanda Bhuyan

  6. Carly

    I don’t see a spot for entering my email???

  7. Interesting stuff! I’ll probably share this with some of my friends. Thanks again for posting it.

  8. Brian

    Excellent value driven article here. Tons of information. Appreciate it.


    Love this as a mom and a feeding therapist! A kid friendly version with pictures for choices would be so great!! …hint hint 😉

  10. Gina

    I thought my kids were totally strange for eating cream cheese and honey or jam sandwiches, who knew it was a thing!

  11. Thomas Kosis

    My wife always sends me off with two pb&j sandwiches for my long days, along with some other healthy, thoughtful snacks that I can eat on the go.
    We bought this program to bring less stress and more variety into our little kitchen and into our tiny tots tummy, too! But looking at that Blackberries & Cream Cheese is worth the price of admission right there! Not to omit the other fine choices, as they’ll be making their way into a cycle, for sure!

    This is going to be great!

    1. Germain Jilly

      Perhaps putting my surname down wasn’t too anonymous. Sorry, my darling Kate <3

  12. Paola

    I love these ideas! We learned how to make carrot spread and beet spread at my daughter’s school, and both my kids love the carrot one (the beet one is delicious for me!). It’s very easy, just steamed carrots, garlic, a little olive oil and salt in the food processor until smooth. Same with the beet spread. I find that my 2-year-old has a very hard time chewing raw veggies and fruit, and will spit it out, so even though it’s more labor-intensive for me, I’ll start making more dips for him (just read that in another one of your posts and realized I still have to steam food for him!). A favorite lately has been carrot top hummus with lots of lemon and garlic!

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