Your Best Lunch: 5 Steps to a Healthy Sandwich

August 4, 2014

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Healthy Lunch A sandwich has been a brown-bag staple for years, but it’s not always the healthiest lunch choice. By the time you’ve piled the meat and condiments you could easily create a calorie bomb. Not to mention eating the same thing every day can get, well, boring. But there are ways to lighten and spice up this lunchtime classic. Learn how to build a healthy sandwich in five easy steps.

Step 1: Choose the right bread. Look for 100 percent whole-wheat bread or bread made with 100 percent whole grains. You’ll get a hefty dose of dietary fiber, plus important vitamins and minerals that may reduce your risk of heart disease. Beware: Bread that says “made with whole grains” won’t cut it. Read the ingredients. The first ingredient should be whole wheat or whole grain to get a healthy fill.

Step 2: Choose a lean meat. Stick to turkey and chicken when it comes to meat. You’ll get the health benefits of protein without excess fat. Deli meat can have a lot of hidden salt, so opt for the low-sodium varieties if available.  

Step 3: Choose a healthy cheese. While you want to limit the amount of saturated fat you consume, in moderation, dairy can help you lose weight. One study at the Curtin Institute of Technology found those who increased their daily servings of dairy products from three to five lost more weight. But some cheeses are better options than others. Feta, parmesan, Swiss, and cheddar cheeses are lighter and lower in fat than others. Remember, a little goes a long way. Stay away from processed cheeses like any squeezable cheese, American cheese, and full-fat cream cheese.

Step 4: Stuff it with veggies. This is where your sandwich can really pack a nutritional punch. It’s easy to sneak in multiple servings of veggies. Of course, you can stick with the classic spinach, tomato, and onion, but you can also try adding seasonal veggies like eggplant or squash to really jazz up the flavor.  

Step 5: Limit the condiments. Veggies can provide enough flavors on their own, but if your sandwich is still lacking, dress it with mustard instead of mayo. Mayo doesn’t have any nutritional value—it just adds saturated fat and unwanted calories to your sandwich. Mustard is a lighter choice that doesn’t skimp on flavor. If you’re feeling really adventurous, spread some hummus for an extra boost of protein or add vinegar (without oil)  for some extra flavor.

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