Image adapted from gamene, Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0

Packing your kids’ lunchesas they go back to school? Put a little pep in their sandwiches by adding seasonal ingredients that provide both flavor and sustenance. Here are five healthy and seasonal add-ons to slide between the bread. You’ll get pairing recommendations for each ingredient so you can stack your kids’ sammies to their preference.

Figs

Using fresh figs on a sandwich is like the ultimate fruity jam flavor. Sliced figs will transform any regular sandwich into an ultimate autumn treat. They’re especially good paired with salty meats, soft cheeses, spicy greens, and other fruits.

  • Meats: Ham; prosciutto
  • Cheeses: Mozzarella; soft goat cheese
  • Greens: Bold greens like arugula or spinach
  • Miscellaneous: Any fall fruit jam (try fig!); spicy or Dijon mustard; cream cheese

Apples

Apples on a sandwich delivers a sweet and completely kid-friendly crunch. They’re an easy pairing with the most common sandwich ingredients, and they add a special touch without being too intimidating.

  • Meats: Turkey; bacon; chicken
  • Cheeses: Cheddar; gouda; any smoked cheeses
  • Greens: Any soft lettuces
  • Miscellaneous: Mayonnaise; sliced cucumbers; peanut or nut butter

Pears

Just like apples, pears are simple to slide into any sandwich. They’re particularly good with light meats, salty cheeses, and bold or aromatic herbs.

  • Meats: Turkey; ham or prosciutto
  • Cheeses: Provolone; blue; brie; Swiss; Gruyere
  • Greens: Any soft lettuces; spinach; arugula
  • Miscellaneous: Onions; fresh rosemary

Avocado

Avocados aren’t just for guacamole! Of course they’re an add-on for club sandwiches like BLTs, but these buttery fruits are really tasty on almost any other sandwich. They’re also a perfect boost for meatless sandwiched that needs a bit more bulk or heft.

  • Meats: Any; fish fillets
  • Cheeses: Sharp cheddar; mozzarella; provolone; Swiss
  • Greens: Any
  • Miscellaneous: Onions; egg (or chicken, tuna, or salmon) salad; tomatoes;  fresh basil

Cabbage

Shredded cabbage is a colorful alternative to the usual lettuce greens on any sandwich. The trick is to shred them finely so they’re not too crunchy, and toss them gently in a dressing or vinaigrette to soften them even more for the kids. Shredded cabbage (or slaw, if you like) will perk up sandwiches with bold and saucy flavors, and will great with bright herbs and fruity flavors.

  • Meats: Pulled pork or chicken; sloppy Joes; roasted chicken; fish fillets
  • Cheeses: Sharp cheddar; mozzarella; provolone; Swiss
  • Greens: Any
  • Miscellaneous: BBQ sauce; fresh cilantro; mayonnaise; fresh or dried fruits  

Image adapted from gamene, Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0