I couldn’t believe my ears. And yet, here was my son informing his friend that added vegetables were the way to go.
“It tastes better with lettuce in it — you really should have lettuce in it,” my son advised his sleepover buddy as I prepared their lunches for camp the next day.
“OK, I’ll have lettuce in mine,” the boy said reluctantly.
“Really, it’s sooo good that way,” my son said about the tortilla wraps I was rolling.
Smiling inwardly, I didn’t say a word, wary of changing their minds by being the adult “voice of (un)reason” they hate to agree with.
My 8-year-old son has never been a salad person. He likes certain vegetables — carrots, beets, snow peas — but not in any sort of composed form. For my son, arugula and herbs are best eaten straight out of the ground or pot, not in a bowl. So the fact that he was eating lettuce by choice warmed my heart.
Through this revelation, I have found that the best way to add greens and other veggies to sack-lunch fare is with wraps and rolls.
Flat and Fit for Filling
Though a relatively new food phenomenon in the United States, using a flatbread as an edible meal-holder is a culinary tradition that goes back many centuries. Think of tortillas in Mexico, lavash in the Middle East and rice paper rounds in Vietnam and Thailand.
Less filing and more pliable than traditional sandwich breads, flatbreads are the blank canvas to your palette of vegetables, proteins and grains. And because flatbreads aren’t bulky, you can amp up the portions of healthy fillings without the danger of it toppling over.
Available in a rainbow of colors, many flatbreads feature whole grains, pureed vegetables (green tortilla, anyone?) and delicious flavors. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried an “everything” lavash wrapped around roasted red pepper hummus and arugula.
Eating a Rainbow
The most appealing feature of flatbread sandwiches to kids is the colorful center display that appears when you slice the roll-up in half. Depending on the ingredients and rolling technique, you can create a perfect spiral, a splash of orange sunshine (shredded carrots) or bright purple polka dots (diced roasted beets).
Fillings can range from the much-loved turkey cobb to cultural favorites like carnitas or satay with peanut sauce. Add crunch with shredded or diced vegetables and counterpoint with salsa, mustard or spiced mayo.
If your child is old enough to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she can make a wrap (a peanut butter, honey and banana wrap is a delicious after-school snack). Be sure to stock your fridge with a variety of wraps and cut-up vegetables for easy assembly.
Following are five delicious wrap recipes perfect for lunchboxes or afternoon snacks (just slice into smaller portions). You can make them or use them as a springboard to your own tasty combos.
I could go for a breakfast burrito any time of the day, but the high-fat, high-sodium bacon or sausage isn’t such a good idea more than once a week. This version, using store-bought vegetarian breakfast patties, solves that problem without compromising the yummy taste and mouthfeel.
Based on the classic salad, these tasty wraps are a delicious way to eat a salad without silverware.
A perfect high-protein breakfast for an active day. For even more crunch, add a sprinkle of granola into each wrap before rolling up. If your child is allergic to nuts or attends a peanut-free classroom, try Sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds) or almond butter instead.
The beautiful colors of avocado, red cabbage and carrots make this wrap almost too beautiful to eat — but the flavorful aroma and rich taste (full of vegetable protein) guarantees an empty lunchbox at the end of the day.
You can see the rainbow of colors in these crunchy veggie rolls through the transparent rice paper wrappers. Add cooked shredded chicken or tofu strips for added protein. Gluten free.
Do you have a favorite wrap recipe you’d like to share with the ZisBoomBah.com community? We’d love to hear it — please tell us about your wrap creation in the comment section below!