Healthy Sandwich Recipes: How to Make a Healthy Sandwich with 7 Easy Tips

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
open faced sandwiches with different healthy toppings

Did someone say sandwich? It’s the classic, go-to lunch item that checks off all the boxes; filling, delicious and easy to make. From ham and cheese to a BLT, the possibilities for sandwich recipe creations are truly endless.

Sandwiches haves come a long way since their debut over 250 years ago. They’re enjoyed worldwide, but especially here in America. According to a recent federal study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, about half of us eat at least one on any given day.

But all this excitement comes served with a side of caution. With so many sandwich options to choose from, you run the risk of turning this lunchtime novelty into a not-so-healthy meal that can derail your weight loss.

Sandwiches also tend to bump up sodium. For example, the same study concluded that sandwiches contributed 20 percent of daily recommended sodium, and that those who ate sandwiches consumed more sodium each day than recommended (less than 2300mg).

So in honor of this American favorite, we’ve created this guide of tips and tricks for making a healthy sandwich so you can still enjoy your favorite lunch while staying on track with your weight loss journey!

Ready to become a sandwich pro? Check out these seven easy tips for making healthy sandwiches:

7 Easy Tips for a Healthier Sandwich

1. Make it Open Faced

The Leaf Healthy Sandwich Tips for Weight Loss

Lessen the calorie and carb load with this simple trick—make the sandwich open-faced. Simply remove the top piece of the bread or bun for a sandwich on the lighter side. You are cutting the calorie count for the bread in half by enjoying your healthy sandwich in this unique way. And what makes this simple trick even better? You can make an even healthier sandwich by piling on the protein and veggies to stack this open-faced sandwich with nutritious add-ons.

2. Pack on the Veggies

The Leaf Healthy Sandwich Tips for Weight Loss

This one is a no-brainer. On your Nutrisystem meal plan, we suggest having a minimum of four servings of non-starchy veggies each day. This means you can fill up your sandwich with an array of fiber-packed veggies to pack in the nutrition, crunch, flavor and color! We love adding on sliced bell peppers, leafy greens, mushrooms and a sandwich classic, tomatoes. The options are truly endless, and the veggies will leave you feeling full for longer thanks to the high fiber content. So, pack on the veggies for a hearty, veggie-filled meal! Check out these fresh veggies that can be added onto your sandwich for a unique, healthy and delicious twist!

3. Be Cautious with Condiments

The Leaf Healthy Sandwich Tips for Weight Loss

Condiments are tricky—while you often use what you think is a small amount, the calorie content can be higher than expected. Just be sure to stick to your Nutrisystem program portion guidelines when choosing your condiments. Need a refresh on what condiments get the greenlight on your Nutrisystem plan? Check out the our Grocery Guide!

The Leaf Pro Tip: Be weary of creamy condiments, as these are often high in fat and unnecessary calories. Mayo lover? You can still enjoy this classic condiment on your sandwich—just be sure to stick to a one-teaspoon serving size and count it as an Extra on your meal plan. Mustard, vinegar, salsa and hot sauce are all Free Foods on your meal plan, which makes these mouthwatering picks unlimited and the perfect addition for making a healthier sandwich. For more tips and a quick crash course in healthy diet food condiment selection, check out this Condiment 101 guide from our wellness experts at The Leaf!

4. Watch the Salt

The Leaf Healthy Sandwich Tips for Weight Loss

Who doesn’t love a good cold cut on their sammy? We sure do! However, it’s important to pay attention to labels and to be aware of the nutritional value of any of the foods we consume—including those foods we are piling on our healthy sandwich. Our nutrition experts at Nutrisystem recommend sticking to about two ounces of no-salt-added or low-sodium lunch meat. Learn more from our health and wellness experts at the Leaf and read this ultimate guide to the Deli Counter!

As you know, most Deli meats can pack in the sodium content. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), two slices of ham can have almost 800 milligrams of sodium. Opt for lean proteins to keep it even healthier and be sure to stick to the allotted serving size to optimize weight loss results on your Nutrisystem diet program.

5. Get Creative

sweet potato toast

The great thing about sandwiches is the fact that we can make them exactly what we want them to be. There are no rules for sandwich making, so get creative! Don’t like cheese? Don’t add it. Sick of boring bread? Switch up the traditional sandwich host with a low carb diet alternative or whole wheat wrap. Sweet potato toast (thinly sliced and toasted sweet potatoes) is a great swap and nutritious alternative. Want to lessen the carb load even more? You can make your sandwich in a lettuce wrap for a nutritious yet delicious take on a classic wrap.

6. Stick to Heart-Healthy Grains

whole grain bread

According to Healthline, incorporating whole grains into your everyday diet can help improve heart health. Whole wheat and rye breads are great sources of fiber and a delicious, hearty way to make a healthier sandwich. Ditch the white bread products and jump on the heart-healthy bandwagon to add some complex, good carbs into your diet—and what better way than a delicious, hearty sandwich?! Learn more about the six super-grains you should be eating.

7. Make it Breakfast

The Leaf Healthy Sandwich Tips for Weight Loss

While sandwiches are seemingly a lunchtime favorite, you can also kick off your day with this classic breakfast idea. Grab a whole wheat English muffin, some turkey bacon and an egg. Eggs are PowerFuels on the Nutrisystem program because they are a source of high-quality protein with only about 80 calories per serving. Pack these onto a breakfast sandwich (or even whip up an egg salad sandwich) for some added protein that will fill you up the healthy way. Start you day with a healthier sandwich that will give you the energy you need to power through your morning.

Popular Restaurant Sandwiches Made Healthy

Guacamole Double Burger

At-home version

For the same great flavor with fewer calories, turn your favorite sandwich into a salad! Toss 2 cups of lettuce with a 3-oz. lean turkey burger, ¼ cup shredded pepper jack cheese, vine-ripened tomato, red onion, and 2–3 thin slices of avocado. Top with 1 Tbsp. of chipotle salad dressing. Salad won’t cut it? Try adding your burger to a low-calorie hamburger bun or sandwich thin for an extra 100 calories.

Healthier restaurant version

Opt for the single patty burger with no cheese. Pair your sandwich with a side salad and water rather than a side of fries and soda.

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Turkey and Bacon Guacamole Sub

At-home version

Add 1 slice of low-sodium turkey lunch meat and 1 thin slice of reduced-sodium bacon to a whole-wheat sandwich thin roll. Top with your favorite veggies! Top with cucumbers, lettuce, green pepper slices, red onion, tomatoes and 2 thin slices of avocado. Serve with a side of crunchy carrot sticks instead of bagged chips.

Healthier restaurant version

Ask for the guacamole on the side and use only about a Tbsp. worth on your sandwich. Remove all but one slice of bacon and forgo the cheese and high-calorie sauces, and ask for more veggies!

Veggie Egg Sandwich

At-home version

Lightly spray a pan with cooking spray. Sauté mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach in a pan. Once veggies are tender, add 1 egg and scramble veggies and egg together until egg is cooked through. Add egg and veggies to a whole-wheat bagel thin. Top with ½ slice of Swiss cheese and 1 slice of avocado.

Healthier restaurant version

Try eating only half the sandwich and saving the rest for another meal.

Healthy Sandwich Ideas

1. Blackened Fish Sandwich >

The Leaf Healthy Sandwich Tips for Weight Loss

2. Pancake Breakfast Sandwich >

The Leaf Healthy Sandwich Tips for Weight Loss

3. BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich >

The Leaf Healthy Sandwich Tips for Weight Loss

4. BBQ Chicken Sandwich >

The Leaf Healthy Sandwich Tips for Weight Loss

5. Chicken Sausage and Pepper Sandwich >

healthy sausage and peppers

6. Turkey, Apple & Swiss Waffle Sandwich >

The Leaf Healthy Sandwich Tips for Weight Loss

7. Artisanal Grilled Cheese >

Artisanal Grilled Cheese

8. Roasted Red Pepper & Turkey Pinwheel Wraps >

pinwheel wraps healthy recipe

9. Chicken Ranch Wrap >

chicken ranch wrap

10. Skinny Cheese Steak Sandwich >


And for a perfectly portioned sandwich every time, try some of the popular sandwiches from the Nutrisystem menu. You’ll love our hearty Meatloaf Sandwich and succulent Grilled Chicken Sandwich.