4 Easy Ways To Elevate Old-School Packed Lunch Sandwiches

Photographed by Will Styler.
There's something undeniably straightforward and comforting about the packed lunches from our past — and just because we may not be heading back to school this fall, doesn't mean that we can't still bring some "from home" lunches like we will be! On top of pining for the old days of lunch AND juice box swag, we also happen to have a hankering for the simple school sandwiches that accompanied them. You know the ones: made-by-mom peanut butter and jellies, ham and cheeses, tunas, and turkeys.
And even though there's nothing wrong with a classic, we've decided to go ahead and give these sandwiches a sophisticated upgrade anyway — so that you can keep packing like a kid, but in age-appropriate adult-style. Scroll ahead for some sweet and savory sammy inspiration.
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Illustration by Louisa Cannell
The Adult PB&J
Mix things up by subbing in your favorite bread, nut butter, and fruit combos — we'll be trying a creamy peanut butter and peach next.

Two slices of whole grain bread, toasted (*optional)
1-2 tbsp almond butter, crunchy
1 tsp of honey
1 banana, sliced
3-4 large strawberries, sliced

1. Spread almond butter on both slices of bread and then drizzle each half with honey.

2. Layer one side with sliced banana and strawberries, then sandwich together, slice, and pack or serve for a sweet and savory lunchtime sammy.
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Illustration by Louisa Cannell
The Adult Ham & Cheese
Feel free to sub in some crispy bacon and cheddar!

1 pretzel bun, sliced in two and toasted (*optional)
3-4 slices of prosciutto
2-3 slices of Manchego cheese
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Spread mustard on one half of the bun and then drizzle the olive oil on the other, seasoning each with salt and pepper.

2. Alternate with layering the bottom half of the bun with a slice of prosciutto and a slice of Manchego, then sandwich together, slice (or leave whole), wrap up in some aluminum foil for toting, and enjoy.
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Illustration by Louisa Cannell
The Adult Turkey
If you aren't a fan of turkey, try this sammy with some roast chicken or thinly sliced steak!

1 ciabatta, sliced in two and toasted (*optional)
3-4 slices of turkey breast
2-3 slices of cheddar
3-4 thin apple slices
1/2 avocado, mashed
Handful of arugula

1. Spread avocado mash on bottom half of ciabatta and then proceed by layering arugula, turkey, apples, and cheese on top.

2. Sandwich together, slice, serve, or pack away to enjoy later.
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Illustration by Louisa Cannell
The Adult Tuna
Feel free to add in a teaspoon of dijon mustard and mayonnaise to the mix if you like your tuna on the creamy side.

1 croissant, sliced in two and toasted (*optional)
1 5-oz. can of tuna
2-3 cornichons, finely chopped
2-3 tsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Handful of butter lettuce
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Coat the tuna and chopped cornichons in a small bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

2. Layer lettuce on the bottom half of the croissant and then finish by topping with seasoned tuna mix and sandwiching together.
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