Easy as it is to stick to the good old Vegemite sandwich, you’ll be doing your littlies a huge favour introducing them to a variety of fillings from an early age. It’s a fun way to cover the five food groups and will prepare your kids for the sandwich-taking years ahead. And before you say “My toddler won’t eat that!” offer new fillings a few times and you just might get a pleasant surprise.
Crack a can
- Tinned salmon, light mayonnaise and shaved Lebanese cucumber (use a potato peeler to make long, shaved strips)
- Tuna, ricotta, corn kernels and grated cheese. (Mix the tuna, ricotta and corn kernels together to make a paste)
- Refried beans, avocado, grated cheese and light sour cream (layer each ingredient for good visual effect).
Traditional with a twist
- Peanut butter and Vegemite (use smooth peanut butter for littlies and swirl the Vegemite in for effect)
- Banana and peanut butter (toast in a sandwich maker to bring out the sweet flavour of the banana)
- Peanut butter, a squeeze of honey and some finely chopped dates
- Egg, lettuce and light mayonnaise (add a small amount of curry powder to give a different flavour. Mash the egg with the light mayonnaise to help keep the sandwich together)
- Baked beans and sliced cheese (this is tasty served hot or cold – mash the baked beans for a smoother texture)
- Cottage cheese, grated carrot, sultanas and light mayonnaise (mix all ingredients to make a paste)
- Creamed cottage cheese and jam (choose a no-added-sugar jam or make your own with fruits in season)
- Cucumber rounds, sliced egg and cherry tomatoes (use light mayonnaise or margarine to moisten the bread. Cut the bread with a cookie cutter to make individual burger-like sandwiches)
- Grated cheese and tinned asparagus (often enjoyed toasted or grilled)
- Sliced cheese, gherkin and thinly sliced salami (look for salami with less fat, and Hungarian salami is a milder salami for kids).
- Shredded chicken, light cream cheese and finely chopped celery (mix the chopped celery and cream cheese together first for easy spreading)
- Turkey, ricotta and grated carrot (turkey slices available in the deli section are low in fat and soft to chew. Add a scrape of cranberry sauce for flavour)
- Turkey, cranberry sauce and creamed cottage cheese (add a few baby spinach leaves for some greens if you like)
- Roast chicken, avocado and light mayonnaise (home-roasted chicken or a supermarket barbecue chook with the skin removed are both great as the meat is moist and tender for little mouths).
- Cream cheese and thinly sliced Granny Smith apple
- Light cream cheese and firm mango slices
- Banana, cream cheese and honey (whip the cream cheese and honey together to form a sweet spread).
- Bolognese or savoury mince blended into a paste with salad (most soups, stews or casseroles will blend up the next day – mix with a small amount of plain yoghurt for a tasty dip or yummy sandwich spread packed with vitamins and minerals)
- Hummus and roasted vegetable (use leftovers or bake vegetables
such as pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot using a little olive oil and a brush of honey)
- Sliced meatballs, shaved cucumber, shaved carrot and tomato sauce (or use any leftover meat such as roast lamb, meatloaf or corned beef).
Have a go!
- Prawn, tomato sauce, light mayonnaise and iceberg lettuce (mix tomato sauce and light mayo together to make a seafood sauce)
- Banana and avocado (sounds like a strange mix but it’s very tasty)
- Grated cheese and hummus mixed together makes a lovely spread.
The healthiest bread is the wholegrain variety, which many children won’t eat because of the “hard bits”. But don’t let that stop you: make a two-tone sandwich with a slice of white bread on the top and wholemeal on the bottom. When he gets used to that, make it one slice of white and one of wholegrain, then progress to one wholemeal and one wholegrain.
For really tough customers, cut the white/wholemeal sandwich into six squares and turn every second square to make a chequerboard pattern.
Ham it up
- Ham, guacamole spread, finely chopped lettuce (make your own guacamole using a quarter of an avocado, cream cheese and lemon juice. Thinly sliced ham is easier for little ones to chew)
- Ham, cheese and creamed corn (or use fresh corn cut from a cob and mixed with light cream cheese for spreading)
- Ham, Roma tomato, a low-sugar and low-salt tomato sauce (or use a small squeeze of barbecue sauce)
- Ham, tinned pineapple, grated cheese and tomato sauce (use pizza sauce mixed with a small amount of cream cheese for a stronger pizza flavour).