Healthier sandwiches, wraps and rolls

Looking for ideas to make your lunch options healthier for your school or early learning service? With a little planning sandwiches, rolls and wraps can be highly nutritious and fun to eat. Look at our filling suggestions below for some ideas for your next lunch.

Healthy sandwich fillings

Offer some simple fillings

Limit the menu to a realistic number of sandwich choices to offer each day depending on the equipment and staffing situation. Some larger canteens may be able to offer up to 10 fillings, while smaller canteens may not.

Remember to take note of sales and any student feedback.

Offer some sample fillings for fussy eaters, for example, yeast extract, hummus, avocado, banana wrapped in a slice of bread etc.

Preparation

Here are some simple steps to help you produce nutritious and appealing sandwiches, wraps and rolls:

  • Use fresh bread and prepare sandwich fillings each day to preserve nutrients.
  • Make sandwich fillings before making the sandwiches, to stop the bread from drying out.
  • Once made, place damp clean cloths on top of the stack of sandwiches to keep them fresh.
  • Wrap as soon as possible in clear food wrap, with the filling showing.
  • Use labels or signs to help kids choose what they want to eat.

How to make healthier options

 Bread

  • Choose whole grain or wholemeal types. These contain higher fibre and nutritional values than plain white.
  • Select rolls of different shapes (long, round, seeded, or French stick), rēwena, fa' apāpā, pita breads, tortilla bread, foccacia, panini, rye, bagels, baps.
  • Create sandwiches in different sizes and shapes e.g. triple-decker for older students or four triangles for smaller appetites.

Spreads

  • Spread margarine thinly, allowing about one pottle for every three loaves of bread.
  • Use alternatives to margarine. You could try peanut butter, mashed avocado, or low-fat spreadable cheeses, such as cream cheese, cottage, ricotta or quark.
  • Try small amounts of pickle, chutney, pesto, vegetable-based dips or hummus for extra variety.

Sauces

These can contain hidden amounts of fat, salt and sugar. 

  • Look for low-salt sauce and low-sugar, low-salt tomato sauce.
  • Use ready-made sauces in small amounts.
  • Vegetable-based sauces (e.g. tomato) are usually healthier choices than creamy sauces (e.g tartare sauce).

Healther filling combination ideas

Here are some ideas for healthy but filling sandwiches, wraps and rolls. Don't forget to check the fat, salt and fibre content of the sandwiches you offer.

Cheese (cottage, cheese slices, grated edam) and:

  • Crushed pineapple and spring onion
  • Tomato
  • Shredded lettuce and tomato
  • Pickle

Chicken (skin removed) and:

  • Lettuce, low-fat mayonnaise, finely chopped parsley and bean sprouts
  • Lettuce, tomato, and sliced peppers
  • Seeded mustard, lettuce and cucumber.

Lean meat and:

  • Thinly sliced beef, horseradish sauce, lettuce and tomato
  • Roast beef, seeded mustard and coleslaw.

Egg (mash hard-boiled with a little low-fat milk to combine pepper; add a little curry powder or finely chopped parsley for variation) and:

  • Lettuce, red pepper and spring onion
  • Tomato, lettuce and gherkin
  • Avocado, cucumber and tomato.

Fish (drained canned tuna) and:

  • Cottage cheese, spring onion and a dash of vinegar
  • Grated carrot and chopped chives (or try this one with salmon - mix in a little lemon juice)
  • Lettuce, low-fat mayonnaise and cucumber
  • Pineapple and lettuce.

Nuts, beans and lentils:

  • Crunchy peanut butter, grated carrot and chopped raisins
  • Baked beans, spring onion and chopped celery
  • Hummus, tomato and cucumber
  • Falafel (sliced), tomato, lettuce and chutney.

Vegetables:

  • Roasted vegetables and sliced edam
  • Asparagus, grated carrot and low-fat mayonnaise
  • Hummus, tomato, lettuce and cucumber.

Pita pockets:

  • Falafel, couscous, lettuce, chutney and grated carrot
  • Spiced beef, lettuce, raita, chopped tomato and chutney
  • Homemade baked beans with added veges
  • Tabouleh and cucumber.

Panini:

  • Roasted vegetables (such as potato, kūmara, pumpkin, red onion, pepper, carrot), thin slices of edam cheese and vegetable or tomato chutney
  • Roast beef, tomato and red pepper
  • Ham, tomato, spring onion and mustard.

Wraps:

  • Gucamole or hummus, lettuce leaves, cooked shredded chicken, sliced tomato, mung bean sprouts, and low-fat mayonnaise (optional)
  • Cooked shredded chicken, tomato salsa, shredded lettuce, sliced cucumber, tomato and grated carrot.

Menu inspiration

Want to refresh your canteen menu but not sure where to start? We've developed a range of sample menus for each season to get you started.

Browse school sample menusBrowse ELS sample menus