Are your kids heading back to school yet? It can be so hard to think of interesting, nutritious recipes every day for their lunchboxes. So ditch the PB&J and check out some of our favorite recipes that are suitable for either your kids’ lunchbox or yours. Best of all, these recipes are all multi-purpose: use them as sandwich or wrap spreads or put them in a small container with carrot sticks for a healthy dip that’s full of protein.

Here are three recipes to help you break out of your lunch rut:

Cilantro White Bean Dip

The bright green color and fresh, clean taste of cilantro can liven up even the dullest carrot stick or the most blah turkey wrap. Cilantro might be a little far out there for picky kids, but beans help tone down that soapy flavor and this can be a great way to get them to try something new. Try packing this as a dip with red, yellow and orange bell pepper slices or smear it on a whole wheat tortilla with mesquite turkey, pepper jack cheese and sliced cucumber.

Pinto Bean Hummus

Hummus is one of today’s hottest food trends. Typically made with garbanzo beans, this version opts for meaty, creamy pinto beans for a base that has just a hint of the Southwest. Make sure you don’t skip the tahini, a Middle Eastern sesame seed paste that can be found in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store. Hummus is a classic accompaniment for carrots and celery sticks. For a heartier meal, spread it inside a pita pocket and fill with grilled chicken. Put lettuce and tomato in a separate container so your kids can add it to their lunch right before they eat to avoid the dreaded soggy bread syndrome.

Randall Bean Spread

The base of this spread is simple: pinto beans, onion, green pepper, yogurt. The fun part comes from adding your favorite salad dressing to the mix. Many kids love ranch, and this is a great chance to add some extra flavor. Any creamy dressing will work. Think blue cheese dressing mixed with the base and then spread on a roast beef sandwich, or green goddess dressing with turkey and Swiss. The sky’s the limit!

What’s your favorite way to jazz up lunchtime meals?

This recipe can be made with either Randall Beans Great Northern White Beans or the Randall Beans Organic products.

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