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:
- Low-fat salad dressing
- Chili sauce
- 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:
- Baby spinach
- Bean sprouts
- Shredded carrots
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!
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.