April 17, 2014 Leave a comment
By Heather Snively, MS, RD
America’s favorite grab-and-go lunch item can be a great convenience option, but what lies between the bread slices can range from healthy to decadent. Follow these simple and easy suggestions and you’ll end up with a meal that’s just as healthy as it is quick!
Health-ify the Bread
Read labels and select options where “whole wheat” is listed as the first ingredient and avoid any option with added sugar. Swapping whole wheat for white is going to bring more nutrients and fiber to the sandwich.
Wondering about white wheat? It’s actually a different variety of wheat so as long as “whole wheat” is listed as the first ingredient, white wheat will carry the same nutritive benefits as other whole wheat breads, which makes it a great option for someone trying to make the switch from white bread.
Health-ify a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Peanut butter and jelly can be a great, nutrient-packed option, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Nut Butter – select minimally-processed nut butters – the kind that have to be refrigerated after opening. Avoid added sugar and oils. The ingredients in peanut butter should be simple: peanuts. Almond and cashew butters are good options – choose a variety to keep it interesting.
- Jelly – just like nut butter, select minimally processed options. Look for fruit spreads that have more whole fruit and less added sugar.
Health-ify a Tuna Fish Sandwich
Tuna fish is a great way to get one of the two servings of fish recommended each week by the American Heart Association. Look for options that are canned in water to keep the sodium content low. Substitute some of the mayonnaise with mustard for more flavor and to avoid the extra unnecessary calories. Add chopped celery or cucumbers for an added crunch and some extra fiber.
Health-ify a Deli Sandwich
Here are some things to consider when choosing meats and cheese:
- Go for the unprocessed meats. Select lean meats such as chicken or turkey and select roasted options. If you’re making them yourself, roast enough for the entire week. Following these suggestions will help reduce the saturated fat, sodium and other preservatives in your sandwich.
- Select healthful spreads and toppers. Skip the mayonnaise and go with mustard, hummus or roasted vegetable spread. Add vegetables – as many as you can – to add crunch, vitamins, minerals and fiber. No one likes a soggy sandwich so pack items like lettuce separately and then add them to the bread at lunch time.
- Go for strong-flavored cheeses. Using sharp cheddar or strong parmesan cheeses pack a lot of flavor, which lessens the amount that is needed. So go with bold and go with less.
Heather Snively, MS, RD, is a nutrition and wellness manager at Guckenheimer, an on-site corporate restaurant management and catering company. She received her Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Washington in 2011. Heather is passionate about helping others determine the best way to enjoy food and stay healthy. Her food philosophy is simple: moderation in all things, except for vegetables—eat all the vegetables you like.