How to Make a Healthy Sandwich

Sandwiches are a quick and easy option for bringing your lunch to school or the office. They can also contain a lot of calories, fat and sodium.  In honor of National Sandwich Month, here are some tips to make that sandwich work for you and not against you!

Bread

The type of bread you choose for a sandwich can affect your hunger level a couple of hours after you have eaten.  Choose whole grain options that have more fiber to help you feel full for longer.  Choose breads with “whole” listed before the grain and as the first ingredient.  For example, “whole wheat flour” versus “enriched wheat flour”.

Protein

Your sandwich should include some form of protein. Some examples include deli meats, cheeses, fish, beans and tofu.  All protein is not created equal.  Some sources are chock full of sodium, preservatives and fat.  When at the deli counter, ask for lean cuts of deli meat and choose lower sodium options.  Skip the line and cook extra fresh meats for dinner for use in your sandwich for the next day.   Hummus, baked tofu, nut butters and cheese are examples of vegetarian protein options.  You can also use nut butters or nuts to add heart healthy fats and protein to your sandwich (see recipe below).

The Fixings

Veggies add a lot of flavor and color to a sandwich.  They also can add fiber, vitamins and minerals to your sandwich.  Choose a dark leafy green like Swiss chard, arugula or basil in place of lettuce.  Avocado can add a creamy texture and cucumbers a crunch.

Condiments

Although some traditional condiments such as mayo and mustard taste good, there are many other fun ways to dress your sandwich.  Salsas and chutneys are fun and healthy ways to add flavor and color to you sandwich.  For fun condiment ideas click here.

Quick Walnut Pâté Sandwiches with Pears and Arugula

Makes 8 sandwiches

30 minutes or fewer

Pears add a sweet, juicy crunch to sandwiches—try them in place of tomatoes or other veggies.

Walnut Pâté

1 cup walnut pieces

1 1⁄2 cups cooked cannellini beans or 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbs. lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)

2 tsp. olive oil

Sandwiches

16 slices whole-grain bread

4 large jarred roasted red bell peppers, rinsed, drained, and halved

2 large Anjou, Bartlett, or Concorde pears, peeled and sliced

2 cups baby arugula

  1. To make Walnut Pâté: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread walnuts on baking sheet, and toast in oven 7 to 10 minutes, or until browned, shaking pan occasionally.
  2. Transfer walnuts to bowl of food processor; add beans, lemon juice, garlic, oil, and 1/4 cup water. Purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. To make Sandwiches: Spread each of 8 bread slices with 3 Tbs. Walnut Pâté. Top each with red bell pepper half, 2 pear slices, and 1/4 cup arugula. Spread remaining 8 bread slices with 1 Tbs. Walnut Pâté. Place on top of sandwiches.

Nutritional information per sandwich: Calories: 318; Protein 12g; Fat 12g;  Carbohydrates 44g; Sodium 453mg.

Recipe from Vegetarian Times October 2010 p.68 http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/quick-walnut-p-acirc-t-eacute-sandwiches-with-pears-and-arugula/

Copyright © 2015 Cruz Bay Publishing. Inc., an Active Interest Media Company.

Written by Inmay MacNeil MS, RD, LDN

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