Packing a lunch might just be one of the most dreaded weekday tasks. My strategy is usually to make enough dinner to have delicious leftovers for the next day, but sandwiches are another usually go-to! Healthy sandwiches do exist and absolutely can be part of a well-balanced nutritious lunch no matter your age. There are countless options to master the sandwich!
Here is the ultimate formula for how to make a healthy sandwich, starting from the base up.
Step 1: Choose a healthy sandwich bread
Choosing the wrong base is the fastest way to turn your sandwich into a calorie bomb. Consider switching your white bread for a more nutritious wholegrain bread. Good choices have at least 3-5 grams of fibre per serving. Wholegrains may help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. There are also more options than just bread – go for wholegrain bagels, pitas or wraps.
Step 2: Add a lean protein
It is important to have a good source of protein between the bread as it is necessary for building and repairing of muscle and tissue. Plus, protein helps to make you feel full, which helps if you are trying to manage your weight. Good sandwich choices include roasted or grilled chicken, turkey, lean roast beef, sugar free salt free peanut butter, salmon, tuna, egg or cottage cheese. Try stay away from deli meats as they can be loaded with fat and salt.
Step 3: Pile on the veggies
The meat is typically the focus of the sandwich but the veggies add nutrients, freshness and flavour. Any mix of roast veggies, fresh tomatoes, fresh greens, sliced red onion, cucumbers and peppers are all good choices. For minimal added calories, you can almost double the size of the sandwich, increase the time it takes to eat (remember, slower is always better), and increase the fibre content by just adding veggies.
Step 4: Add a flavour boost with a spread or sauce
Skip the butter and mayonnaise. There are healthy sandwich spreads that will give your sandwich the hint of zing it needs. Think yellow mustard, whole grain Dijon mustard, vinaigrette dressing, hummus, tzatziki or a home-made guacamole. Don’t underestimate the importance of your spread, but when spreading your spread remember: less is more. When it comes to fat based condiments like pesto or guacamole calories can add up quickly so lay it on thin.
Step 5: Try open faced
Skip the second slice of bread or other half of the bagel. Instead you can stack your sandwich even higher with veggies! This may also force you to eat it fork and knife style, slow down, be more mindful and enjoy every bite!
The next time you make a sarmie, think of it like a tasty puzzle: Different pieces that fit together for a perfect masterpiece of flavour and texture.