The classic sandwich is a staple in the lunchtime idea repertoire. There is something comforting and delicious about biting into that tasty midday meal. But, sometimes our sandwiches are the biggest offenders in throwing our diet meal plan off course. Luckily, there are many healthy options to use as substitutes that taste just as good—or sometimes even better—than their high-calorie, high-fat counterparts.
Follow these tips for a healthier sandwich to keep you on track:
Switch Up Your Spread
Let’s be honest, mayo can be an irresistible addition to many sandwiches. But, the high fat content in this favorite condiment is not quite as appealing. Opt for healthier spreads like mustard, hummus, tzatziki, a tablespoon of avocado, salsa, hot sauce or two tablespoons of fat-free salad dressing or one tablespoon of reduced fat dressing. If you can’t quite imagine skipping the mayo just yet, start by working one tablespoon of the reduced-fat version into your sandwiches. Try this Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich, which replaces mayo with avocado for added nutrition and flavor.
Keep Your Meats Lean
Use lean meats as the basis for your sandwich. Chicken and turkey are great choices for regular sandwich consumption. Save the ham and roast beef for once-in-a-while treats. If you are ready to downsize your meat intake, try out some veggie sandwiches and wraps. Get creative with different flavors, colors and textures. When it comes to vegetables, the more, the merrier! Try this Avocado Chicken Salad Sandwich, which puts a skinny spin on a sandwich staple.
Lighten Up Your Cheese
What is a sandwich without cheese? Unfortunately, one creamy slice can pack close to a whopping one-third of your daily intake of saturated fat! But, if you just cannot part with that indulgent sandwich fixing, try reaching for a piece of low-fat or fat-free cheese, or one tablespoon of reduced-fat or fat-free cream cheese for a healthier sandwich option. Try this recipe for our Artisanal Grilled Cheese, which uses low-fat cheddar cheese and a few other tasty ingredients.
Opt for Whole Grains
Refined white bread provides little nutritional value, and can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, weight gain and depression, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Opting for whole grain bread instead of the white, starchy variety saves you calories, carbohydrates and added sugars, while providing more protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Whole grains also take longer to digest, so they can help keep you feeling fuller longer. If you are really watching your carbs, skip the bread altogether and whip up a wrap enveloped with lettuce instead of a tortilla shell or make a lean burger sandwiched between a halved tomato or portabella mushroom. Try this recipe for a Turkey and Goat Cheese Wrap, which replaces white bread with a whole wheat tortilla wrap.