Healthy Sandwich Makeover

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

According to a recent study from Texas A&M University, the average American will eat roughly 200 sandwiches this year. If you are responsible for preparing your children’s lunches, you’re probably actually making many more than that. With so many sandwiches going to work and school every year, it is important to make sure they’re fun and healthy.

Kick Your Plain Old Sandwich Up a Nutrition Notch

Instead of White Bread

If you’re using white bread, you’re missing out on a variety of nutrients that are found in whole grains, including the B and E vitamins, fiber, iron, and magnesium. However, you don’t have to stick to whole grain bread when making sandwiches; there are a variety of other options available, including:

  • Whole grain buns
  • Whole grain pita wraps
  • Whole grain bagels

Instead of Mayo

One tablespoon of regular mayonnaise can add over 100 calories and 10 grams of fat to a sandwich – way too much for a condiment! Instead, switch to a low-calorie alternative, like:

  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Low-fat salad dressing
  • Chili sauce
  • Hummus
  • Avocado spread

Instead of Processed Meats

Processed meats are high in fat and sodium, making them an unhealthy addition to any sandwich. There are plenty of healthier options to consider when looking for your sandwich filler:

  • Use leftover meat from dinner the night before, including grilled chicken or roast ham or beef.
  • Try tuna or egg sandwiches, but without adding the high-fat mayonnaise.
  • Choose from a variety of soy products, including veggie bologna, pepperoni, ham, and turkey.
  • Add cheese to your sandwich, but use a low-fat variety. Or try soy cheese, which is even healthier and comes in cheddar and mozzarella flavors.

Load Up on Vegetables

The more vegetables you can fit in your sandwich, the better! Don’t just add boring old lettuce – be creative and try different vegetable combinations to keep your sandwiches interesting. Choose from:

  • Pickles
  • Baby spinach
  • Tomato
  • Mushrooms
  • Bean sprouts
  • Shredded carrots
  • Peppers
  • Onion

The Bottom Line

You are probably eating sandwichs a few times a week, so make sure they are made with healthy ingredients. Use whole grain bread products instead of white bread and switch from high-calorie mayonnaise to condiments like mustard and low-fat dressing. Instead of processed meats, try using leftover dinner meat and soy products. Finally, make sure to pile on those vegetables!




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