03/12/2013 01:58 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

School Lunch Project: Leprechaun Grilled Cheese

Laura Fuentes

Do you struggle with getting your kids to eat more veggies at lunch time? I do.

I have two picky eaters and a toddler who will eat just about anything; well, anything his eight, not-yet-full-grown, teeth will allow him to chew.

We all know it's important for our children to eat more fruits and veggies; and getting them to eat more of them at lunchtime is just as important as any other time of the day.

One complaint I receive from many MOMables subscribers and community members is that their kids don't like raw vegetables. In addition, they are afraid that the school lunch will go uneaten, and worse, get thrown away.

I always suggest that parents try to get creative with food and try to sneak more veggies in items that are already familiar to their children. The problem is that many of us get stuck in a food routine, and thinking of new ways to recreate food can be a daunting task. Right?

Let's begin with the assumption that your child likes grilled cheese sandwiches. Did you know that a basic grilled cheese sandwich could be made into something so awesome as a leprechaun grilled cheese? Yes, of course!

Ask any leprechaun out there and they will tell you that they eat lots of green food items. While we only seem to look at green foods during St. Patrick's Day time, I look for new ways of giving my kids green foods year round (because they are good for them, right?).

Another reason I love this grilled cheese sandwich? It allows me to repurpose that one piece of broccoli leftover from dinner no one seemed to have an appetite for. Instead of tossing it out, I make it into a fun grilled cheese sandwich.

If you aren't using leftover broccoli for this sandwich, you'll want to make sure you steam or microwave the broccoli. Otherwise, the crunchy texture of the raw broccoli doesn't go well in the sandwich and we are back to square one.


Leprechaun Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Courtesy MOMables School Lunch Menus
Makes 1 Sandwich

• 2 slices of bread
• 1-2 slices of cheese
• 1 broccoli floret, minced
• Butter

1. Heat skillet over medium heat.
2. Butter one side of a slice of bread.
3. Place bread butter-side-down onto skillet bottom. Add 1-2 slices of cheese, and minced broccoli.
4. Butter second slice of bread on one side and place butter-side-up on top of sandwich.
5. Grill until lightly browned and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted.

Getting creative with food doesn't mean coming up with new dishes or spending hours in the kitchen. All you have to do is look at the items your child already enjoys eating and finding new ways of serving them. Coming up with a cool name like Leprechaun Grilled Cheese? That's a bonus.