Not Your Mom’s PB&J: Gourmet Sack Lunches

With school back in full swing in almost every district across the country, parents everywhere are looking for healthy lunch ideas to send with their kids. They’re also looking for a way to fit lunch prep into their daily schedule. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been a childhood favorite for generations but some schools have had to ban peanut butter because of severe allergies. It leaves a parent looking for other good lunch options that don’t have to be refrigerated, offer good nutrition, and are appealing to kids. Here are a few sandwich ideas that are new versions of the old PB&J you grew up with. They’ll hit the spot with kids and parents alike.


1. Monkey Butter Sandwich

Monkey Butter is a fabulous standalone spread for lunchbox sandwiches. In fact, you might find your kids wanting another sandwich when they get home, and for a treat after dinner, and before bed, and…you get the idea.

Monkey Butter


  • 5 ripe bananas (no spots)
  • 20 oz crushed pineapple – do not drain
  • 1/4 cup flake coconut (unsweetened)
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice.


  • Peel and slice banana into a large saucepan.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  • Spoon into sterilized pint jars and top with sterilized lids.

This recipe can be processed for long term storage or just stored in the fridge for fresh use. For long term storage, process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes for pint jars and 10 minutes for half-pint jars.


Monkey Butter – Tropical Spread That’s Irresistible!. Image from


2. Sunflower Seed Butter and Strawberry Waffle Sandwiches

A great way to dress up the traditional PB&J is to trade bread for waffles and jam for fresh fruit. For this sandwich you’ll need:

  • Sunflower Butter (this is much like peanut butter)
  • Fresh Strawberries, sliced
  • Leftover waffles

Just make your sandwich the way you normally would using waffles instead of bread.


Almond Butter and Strawberry Banana Waffle Sandwich. Image from


3. Dilly Bagel Cheese Sandwich

This is a family favorite of ours. It’s simple, delicious, and is completely nut free.

You’ll need:

  • Bagels (we like Everything or Onion bagels)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Garlic flavored pickles but longways

Method: Split your bagels, toasting optional, spread with cream cheese, and top with a pickle slice. It’s super simple and absolutely delicious.


Bagel sandwich with vegetable cream cheese and pickle. Image from


4. Banana Split Sandwich

There are a couple options for this recipe. One calls for Nutella and let me tell you, you really want to try the Nutella version, and one that uses sunflower butter instead. Nutella is allowed in some schools, but if your school is totally nut free go for the sunflower option.


  • Nutella/Sunflower Butter
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Fresh Strawberry slices
  • Pineapple Jam

Toasting the bread or even warming it in a skillet (think grilled cheese) makes this sandwich into a dessert, but it’s fabulous even without the warmth. Spread your nut butter, add a small swirl of chocolate, and top with strawberries. Spread pineapple jam on your other slice of bread and combine both halves for a delectable delight.


Grilled version of this yummy sandwich. Image from

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