As the kids go back-to-school or if you are looking for a nutritious and affordable lunch option for yourself, sandwiches not only make a great lunch, but can be eaten for any meal!
Think about your favorite sandwich, what is in it? Different meats? Cheese? Any veggies? How about fruit? What is used to hold it all together? Bread? A bagel? Lettuce? Sandwiches allow you to use your imagination and favorite flavors to create a masterpiece!
Here are our tips to Build a Better Sandwich:
- Choose a better bread: Choose bread, pitas, or tortillas made with whole grains. Whole grains are a good source of fiber and other key vitamins and minerals. Rather than selecting bread based on color, check the ingredient list and choose those with whole grain or whole wheat flour listed as the first ingredient. Also look for bread products that contain at least 2 grams of fiber per slice of bread. If looking for a lower carbohydrate option, try a lettuce wrap!
- Consider your condiments: From mustard to mayo, there are many different condiments to choose from, but which are healthiest? To add flavor without adding lots of extra fat and calories, go for mustard, mashed avocado or guacamole, olive oil and vinegar of choice, or Greek yogurt mixed with pepper, garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice can make a great spread.
- Layer on the fruits and veggies: When it comes to fruits and veggies, sandwiches make an easy way to eat your veggies. Vegetables that make a great addition to sandwiches include tomatoes, spinach or romaine leaves, shredded carrots, bell pepper slices, or any veggie that you would like! To add some flavor with fruit, try adding bananas or berries to peanut butter sandwiches or try adding sliced apples or pears to turkey or chicken sandwiches.
- Say cheese: Cheese is a great way to add some bone-building calcium to your sandwich.
- Go for lean protein: In addition to supporting overall health, protein may help you to feel full. Opt for lean protein sources such as deli chicken, turkey, roast beef, or lean ham. Other healthy protein sources include peanut butter, hummus, tuna or salmon
What if I do not like soggy sandwiches? To avoid sandwiches becoming soggy before lunch time, when making your sandwich place ingredients that are lower in moister content directly on the bread. For example, condiments are more likely to make your sandwich soggy since the bread will absorb the moisture. Try patting lunch meat with a paper towel before placing on the bread. Cheese is also a good option to place directly on the bread. Sandwiching the condiments and veggies in the middle of the sandwich between the meat and cheeses is a good start. Next be sure to put your sandwich in a container that completely seals or closes. Lastly, be sure to keep your sandwich at a steady temperature such as in the refrigerator when possible or with a cold pack. This will not only help avoid a soggy sandwich, but will also help ensure your sandwich remains safe to eat!
In just one bite, a well-built sandwich can include nearly all of the food groups. As a reminder, the food groups include: protein, grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy as well as oils. With many different ingredients on hand, it's easy to build a better sandwich.
Here is our grown-up take on the traditional PB and J:
PB and Fruit Sandwich
Source: Our Family Foods
2 slices Izzio bread
2 tablespoons Our Family Peanut Butter
1/3 cup diced fresh fruit of choice - strawberries, grapes, bananas, or apples are favorites
If desired, toast the bread. Next spread peanut butter on both sides of the bread. Place the fruit on one side and close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, peanut butter side down and enjoy!
"This medical and/or nutritional information is not intended to be a substitute for individual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition."
Stephanie is an award-winning registered dietitian who believes in empowering every individual to make nutritious food choices to support a healthy lifestyle. She believes in the power of food as medicine and loves sharing about nutrition with others.