Whether you are packing yourself a lunch or your kid a lunch, sandwiches are often an easy go-to meal. A healthy sandwich, however, can become relatively unhealthy if you aren’t using the right ingredients. In this segment on FOX Boston, I provide insights into how to build a healthy sandwich that is tasty and nutritious.
A healthy sandwich is going to be fulfilling and will provide you with a good amount of energy to last you for a few hours or more. The quality of the ingredients are key. Here are the components you should be including in your next “healthy sandwich:”
- Breads: Always choose breads that have a minimum of 2 grams of fiber per slice or serving. You also want to avoid breads that are high in sugars or fats. When looking at ingredients, make sure that the grains are whole and not refined…with the word “whole” being the key word in the listed ingredient. Wraps and pita can be a good choice too, but these should contain 100% whole grains as well.
- Protein: You want your sandwich to include protein. Ideally, if you are incorporating animal or fish protein, you should have about 3 ounces of meat (about the size of a deck of cards). Further, you want your meat to be low in saturated fat. Cold cuts tend to be high in sodium, so it is better to use fresh meat, such as grilled chicken breast. Fish is high in omega-3s, making canned tuna or wild salmon a great choice. If you incorporate cheese into your sandwich, make sure to use low-fat or fat-free cheese to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your sandwich. If you are vegetarian or vegan, good plant sources of protein include beans and legumes, which is a major component of hummus.
- Healthy Fats: Crushed nuts, nut butters, olives and avocado are all sources of healthy fats. Specifically, they are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Use these sparingly, as they are still high in fat. When choosing nut butters, pick those that are all-natural and don’t contain any preservatives or added sugars.
- Veggies and Fruit: You can never have enough veggies. They are high in fiber, and are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, giving your sandwich an extra boost in its health quotient. Go for those that are especially vibrant in color, such as peppers, carrots, and tomatoes, as these are extra-rich in antioxidants. Fruit is also a great addition to a sandwich. For instance, instead of standard peanut butter and jelly, use whole apple slices with a bit of honey, which will be a much more nutritious option.
- Spreads: Forgo the mayo and instead opt for these healthier spreads: Mustard, mashed avocado, hummus, olive oil and vinegar, fat-free Greek yogurt or olive tapenade. All of these are very flavorful and add dimension to your sandwich.