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. Sandwiches 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, asked people to tell us their favorite sandwiches―and promised to show you simple ways to make them healthier, whether you create your own at-home versions or order them while out to eat. As the examples below show, all you need is a little creativity, side smarts and portioning, and you can still enjoy your favorite sandwich without stacking the odds against your health.
Stake & Shake Guacamole Double Steakburger
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.
Before: 670 calories, 44g fat, 940mg sodium, 47g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 9g sugar, 25g protein
After (salad): 350 calories, 24g fat, 374mg sodium, 14g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 6.5g sugar, 22g protein
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.
Subway Turkey & Bacon Guacamole
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! For the same great taste as the turkey, bacon & guacamole sandwich, 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.
Before: 400 calories, 13g fat, 950mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 7g sugar, 22g protein
After: 225 calories, 9g fat, 526mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 5g sugar, 16g protein
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!
Wildflower Bread Company Veggie Egg Sandwich
At-home version Lightly spray a pan with cooking spray. Saute 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.
Before: 650 calories, 29g fat, 770mg sodium, 71.5g carbohydrate, 11.5g fiber, 6g sugar, 27.6g protein
After: 270 calories, 12g fat, 297mg sodium, 29g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 5g sugar, 17g protein
Healthier restaurant version Try eating only half the sandwich and saving the rest for another meal.