Sandwiches are the easiest meal you can make. Just take two pieces of toast, some spread and filling, and there you have it. This is what makes sandwiches the go-to option for a quick meal.
As fast as it is to make, a sandwich can fill up your belly with calories just as quickly. This is because we tend to use the unhealthiest ingredients to make sandwiches.
A slice of tomato and cucumber or a couple of pickle slices is not enough to make a sandwich healthy. So, how do you make the healthiest one? Let these healthy sandwich dos and don’ts guide you.
How to Make Healthy Sandwiches
Healthy Sandwich Dos
1. Use Wholewheat Bread
Even when people use the healthiest filling in their sandwiches, it still ends up making them gain weight. Do you know why? The problem lies in the bread.
The most commonly used bread in the world is white bread. It also happens to be the unhealthiest bread out there. One average slice of white bread has 77 calories. Using two slices to make a sandwich means you go over 150 calories, even before adding other ingredients!
Another vital problem with white bread is that its empty calories don’t add much nutritional value to your regular diet. Opt for wholewheat bread instead.
Wholewheat bread is one of the healthiest bread. An average slice has around 69 calories. This may not seem like much of a change, but it has more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than white bread.
2. Opt For Healthier Mayo Substitute
We know what you are thinking – a sandwich without mayonnaise will be dry and difficult to swallow. Mayo doesn’t just make sandwiches moist, it adds flavor and makes them tastier. But, one tablespoon of mayo has 94 calories and a whopping 10 grams of fat!
To make it worse, store-bought mayo is filled with saturated fat and chemical additives. If you want to make healthier sandwiches, you have to let go of the mayo.
Want to keep your sandwiches tasty and moist? Use healthier mayo substitutes like sour cream and greek yogurt. Not only do they add more flavor, but they are also probiotic.
Looking for completely plant-based options? Take a ripe avocado, mash it, and add some seasoning. You can also make guacamole, which makes a tastier bread spread than mayo.
Another great vegan option is hummus, which is creamy and filled with protein and unsaturated healthy fats.
3. Fill It With Fruits and Vegetables
If you want to make your sandwiches healthier, you have to use more than just healthy bread. Filling it up with fruits and vegetables is crucial.
One or two slices of vegetables are simply not enough. You need to add volume to your sandwich by adding vegetables.
Let’s say you want to make a healthy sandwich with a coleslaw filling. What you can do is shred your veggies and mix them with a maple syrup vinaigrette.
You can also try mashing boiled eggs and turning them into a paste. Season it with salt and pepper and mix it with slaw veggies as a substitute for mayo.
Try using probiotic vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchi in your sandwiches. You can also add pickles, but try to opt for organic and additive-free varieties.
Using nut butter to make sandwiches? Consider using berries, apples, and other healthy fruits instead of jam.
4. Use Leaner Protein
Since cold cuts are thinly sliced, people think they are healthy and tend to load their sandwiches with them. Although some deli meats are made of leaner proteins like smoked turkey and chicken, these meats are cured with salt and additives.
The high sodium content makes you more prone to heart disease. Many cold cuts are also high in saturated fat, which can increase your cholesterol levels and hamper your heart health. Other possible health problems include weight gain, diabetes, and even cancer.
Instead of using cold cuts, you can use cooked chicken. You can also season and pan-sear meat, cut it into thin slices, and use it in your sandwiches.
5. Don’t Use Bread at All
What’s better than using healthy bread to make your sandwiches? Not using bread at all! Leafy greens are one of the best substitutes you can use instead of bread.
In some countries, people use lettuce, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables to make plant-based wraps and rolls.
Due to the rise of different carb-free diets, people have come up with many grain-free bread alternatives. Some use starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes to make no-grain flatbread. People have also used cheese and cauliflower to make tasty, gluten-free “pizza bread.” Resistant starch could also be considered for this.
You can also try using no wheat bread alternatives like almond bread or Ezekiel bread that is made using sprouted grains and legumes.
If you still want to stick to wheat, opt for lighter alternatives like thin tortillas or Indian Rotis.
Healthy Sandwich Don’ts
1. Say No to Mayo
Mayo is a super unhealthy condiment, as it is almost completely made up of oil. So the first don’t to a healthy sandwich is saying no to mayo.
There are many healthier and tastier mayonnaise alternatives that will satisfy both your health and your tastebuds. So why waste calories on mayo?
If you want to eat healthier sandwiches, mayo alternatives are a necessity. Imagine spreading some brie on your sandwich bread instead or using avocado, which is fresh and non-greasy.
Some people say that you can make healthier mayo using olive oil, avocado oil, or other healthier oils. While you will end up with a tastier and additive-free mayo, you still can’t consider it healthy.
2. Don’t Overdo the Cheese
Cheese gives you a boost of protein and calcium when used in moderation. But the high levels of salt and saturated fat in cheese make it one of the unhealthier dairy products.
Adding cheese to your sandwich is not a bad thing; just don’t use a cheese product instead of the real thing. Cheese products like spreads and slices are higher in calories and salt. There are so many cheeses out there that have more flavor and health benefits.
Try using cheese like mozzarella or feta instead of slices. If you want a more cheesy flavor, add some cheddar or parmesan to your sandwich. You can use softer cheeses like blue cheese or camembert to make your sandwiches taste creamier.
3. Go Easy on Cold Cuts
Using cold cuts in your sandwich once in a while shouldn’t be a problem if you eat enough healthy food that is full of antioxidants. However, don’t make cold cuts your staple for sandwiches.
Sandwiches are meant to be a complete meal. It is supposed to have a little bit of everything. Cold cuts add protein, but that doesn’t make them any less unhealthy.
Opt for healthier proteins instead of always using cold cuts. Try using boiled eggs, or grilled fish instead. Consider opting for protein from leftover meals like grilled chicken or steak pieces to make your sandwich.
Some people don’t even use animal-derived protein and opt for beans, legumes, and other plant-based choices. You can also use soy proteins like soya chunks or tofu.
4. Avoid Fast-Food Joint Subs
Sub sandwiches are popular lunch items. They are easy to eat on the go. Some fast-food joints claim they have healthy and filling subs, but the truth is far from it. Many of these subs are so high on calories that they take up over half of your daily calorie requirement!
Even when their subs look filled with vegetables, there are many hidden calorie blasts in them.
For starters, there are the sauces and condiments they use to make their subs moist. These are extremely high in sugar and fat content. They also use poor-quality protein and cold cuts loaded with sodium.
Many fast-food joints only use regular flour to make their sub rolls, making their sandwiches full of empty calories.
5. Cut Down on the Grilling
Nothing is tastier than a grilled cheese sandwich, right? Grilled sandwiches are one of the unhealthiest sandwiches, and it is not just because of the cheese blast.
By grilling the sandwich, you are making it unhealthier and increasing its calorie content. Using unhealthy ingredients like fatty cold cuts and processed cheese in your grilled sandwich is like asking for heart disease!
When you grill a sandwich, you use some sort of shortening or oil to fry it on high heat. The heat not only reduces the vitamin content of your food but also increases the saturated fatty acids. Eat healthier sandwiches by cutting down on the grilling.
Now that you know these healthy sandwich dos and don’t, try choosing healthier ingredients for your favorite lunch. Avoid eating empty calories to make your sandwiches as healthy as possible.
Opt for healthier bread and no-mayo spreads that add to your nutrition. Use cheese in moderation and choose healthier mayo substitutes. Fill it up with vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins, so that your sandwich is fresh, healthy, and tasty.