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How To Teach Kids to Make Their Own Sandwiches + Printable


Sandwiches are a great first food to teach kids to make on their own in the kitchen.  Teaching kids to prepare their own food is as important as teaching them life skills like keeping a budget and taking showers!

Lunch box with sandwich and salad

When kids learn to prepare food, they learn more than how to make a healthy meal.

  • Their confidence grows, as they learn to prepare different things.
  • It gives them a sense of independence.
  • It teaches them to make healthy choices within certain parameters.
  • It reinforces the source of their food, and that it doesn’t have to “come from a box”.
  • It teaches them that it is actually faster to prepare their own meal than it is to go through a drive through.

I have complete confidence that when my kids get to college, they won’t have to rely on vending machines for sustenance.  They’ve been making their own food, starting with sandwiches since at least 4 years old.

So, how do we teach them?  We give them choices, and help them learn what delicious combinations could include.

Step 1: Choose a Grain

The first step in sandwich making is to choose the vehicle that will carry the insides.  This generally is a grain.  We understand other things can be used to wrap up the insides, like a lettuce leave, but then it really isn’t a sandwich anymore.  So, for our purposes today, we’re leaving this to be a grain.  Some of our choices for the grains include:

  • bread
  • pita pockets
  • bagels
  • English Muffins
  • French bread
  • Tortillas
  • Wraps
  • Rolls
  • Baguettes
  • Panini
  • Muffins (yes! even muffins. We’ve cut one in half before to be filled here)

Step 2: Choose a Spread

A spread can make the sandwich tasty and filling.   You can choose a spread that isn’t just empty calories by choosing one with protein like

Step 3: Choose a Veggie or Fruit

Your spread is going to determine your fruit or veggie.  A nut butter spread goes nicely with fruit like

  • jam (we like no-sugar added like All-Fruit, or you can make your own! 
  • apple slices
  • banana slices
  • Raisins

A hummus, cheese spread or condiment goes nicely with veggies such as

  • lettuce
  • cucumbers
  • spinach
  • sprouts
  • Peppers
  • Olives
  • Salsa
  • carrots
  • cabbage
  • Onions

Step 4: Choose a Protein

  • Eggs
  • Deli Meat (without sulfates or sulfites)
  • Tuna
  • Chicken
  • Hummus
  • Nut Butter

The chart below is printable!!  Click to get it and put it on a pantry or cupboard door as a reminder!

Click Here to Print


So, are you ready to turn your kids lose in the kitchen?  I promise this will be rewarding to watch them jump to the task when you ask them to make their own sandwiches!

Sandwich Ideas

Cheddar Apple Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread

For this one we used cheddar cheese and apple slices! You can also grill it, but it isn’t necessary!

Making My Own Sandwich {Kids in the Kitchen}

Peanut Butter and Strawberries

Delicious combination of nut butter with fruit! Super easy for the kids, and they can learn to use a knife here to slice the soft strawberries.

Making My Own Sandwich {Kids in the Kitchen}

Turkey Avocado and Lettuce

Simple and delicious! We like turkey, avocado, and lettuce, with either condiments spread or a spread of hummus or soft cheese like Laughing Cow Cheese.

Making My Own Sandwich {Kids in the Kitchen}

Toasted Egg and Bagel Sandwich

Don’t hesitate to include eggs with your sandwiches! They are a great source of protein and goes so nicely with tomatoes and avocado!

Making My Own Sandwich {Kids in the Kitchen}

Spinach Waffle Sandwich

I wanted to include this one, because kids love to make them, waffle sandwiches! This healthier version of a grilled cheese was made in a waffle iron!  This is a great choice when you don’t have a panini maker, but also don’t want to use the stove yet.

So, print the chart and put it on your fridge!  If you haven’t started already, start today and make sandwiches with your kids a few times. Then, see what they can come up with on their own!

More Helpful Lunch Packing Tips

Natalie Monson

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

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Do you have all of the ingredients for all types all the time? Or do you make a quick shopping trip? Or is this something that would be scheduled (like — choose two types of sandwich grains for next week)

No Kelsey- we don’t have everything. We just assess what’s in our pantries with what’s on the chart, and get creative from there! I do use it to help me shop!

Aww amazing!!! I’ve loved following your blog – your amazing recipes (many of which I’ve tried and loved!), beautiful photos and refreshing writing! I’m looking forward to your new cookbook – what an awesome work! Congratulations!