This heart healthy turkey panini is the perfect meal for turkey leftovers! Red onion, garlic, and spinach makes this lunch even better.
When we consider the healthy foods we want to feed our kids, nutrient density tops the list of important factors. Different foods can have a good nutrient density score in one nutrient, while having a poor score in another. For example, turkey would have a good score for nutrient density related to protein (8 grams per 50 calories) but maybe would score poorly on vitamin C nutrient density with 0 grams per 50 calories. This makes it critical that kids are eating a variety of foods so they can a variety of health benefits.
I love sandwiches for this reason. It’s possible to get a wide range of nutrients, all packed into one bite! From the bread to the veggies, spreads, and protein, it’s a great choice for lunch.
The benefits of turkey
Turkey is one of those foods that we eat the most of in November. The rest of the year, we may get some turkey cold cuts, but a piece of real, turkey meat is usually still on the bird that we tend to buy during Thanksgiving. Turkey is not only a rich source of protein, but it’s also a good source of Vitamin B6, Niacin, and tryptophan. Tryptophan has been shown to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps improve your mood. It also has a role in strengthening the immune system. (source)
The benefits of bread!
I never thought I’d see the day when bread would become so controversial, but it definitely is. I still eat bread, and I buy bread for my kids every time I go to the store. Bread can be a good source of energy through carbohydrates. Bread can also be a source of fiber if you get whole wheat bread. I also happen to appreciate the fact that bread is fortified with vitamins and minerals, like iron, making it a good choice for kids who may not be eating an adequate amount of calories.
The benefits of veggies (spinach, garlic, and red onion)
For our Panini we first combined:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove crushed garlic into a small bowl.
Then we heated a Panini pan (borrowed from Natalie), sliced some whole wheat Italian Bread and brushed the olive oil mixture onto the bread.
We then filled the sandwich with:
- Red Onion
- Mozzarella Cheese
I wanted a flat Panini, so we used a stack of plates to flatten the bread onto the pan.
MMMM.. it only took a few minutes, and they turned out delicious!
For more sandwich ideas:
- Teaching kids how to make a sandwich
- Mini Sub Sandwich
- Summer Grilled cheese
- Grilled apple and peanut butter sandwich
- Mince garlic, slice red onion.
- Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl.
- Brush one side of each slice of bread.
- Place bread, oil side facing out, onto a hot Panini pan.
- Stack turkey, cheese, onion, and spinach on bread.
- Place a second slice of bread on top of the filling.
- Cook until bread is grilled and cheese is melted.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie