SALT LAKE CITY — August is National Sandwich Month, and many schools will be back in session soon as well.
Sandwiches are a lunchtime staple and packed in many children's (and adults') lunchboxes, but they aren't always the healthiest. We've gathered the following tips from registered dietitians on how to build a healthy sandwich.
Don't fear carbs
"Carbs are not your enemy!" said registered dietitan Sylvia White of ParentingDiabetes.com. "Start with a whole grain, high-fiber bread."
The whole grains and fiber help keep you feeling fuller longer, promote healthy digestion, and have a reduced impact on blood sugars compared to refined grains. When shopping, make sure the packaging says "100% whole grain" (or wheat, rye, sprouts, etc.) and that the whole grain is listed first on the ingredients list.
Try plant-based protein
Registered dietitian Nicole Stevens said, "Try switching things up and use a plant-based protein like chickpeas! Not only are chickpeas budget-friendly, they're full of fiber and protein which will leave you feeling fuller for longer."
Hummus and falafel are delicious sandwich toppings made with chickpeas. Other great plant-based sandwich protein fillers include tempeh, tofu, beans and lentils.
Add all the veggies
"Think outside the lettuce-and-tomato box and choose what's in season for the most flavor and nutrition," said registered dietitian Sarah Gold Anzlovar. "Add roasted red pepper, artichokes, grilled zucchini, matchstick carrots, beets, sweet potato, cucumbers ... pretty much any veggie can go on a sandwich. Vegetables not only add a ton of beneficial nutrients, but they also add flavor and texture, making it a more satisfying meal."
Think beyond bread
If you're bored of bread, feel free to switch things up. "Be creative with what you use to hold your sandwich together!" said registered dietitan Kristen Smith of www.360FamilyNutrition.org. "Think beyond bread with veggie-based choices such as lettuce, cucumbers, sweet potato toast or cauliflower crust. Many of these options will also add a serving of veggies to your meal."
Get creative with condiments
Tired of your regular mayo and mustard spread? Anzlovar suggests "a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic glaze can make your weekday sandwich taste restaurant quality. Try other flavors like mashed avocado, pesto, tahini, hummus or tzatziki."
Now that you've got the basics down, here are 10 dietitian-approved sandwich recipes to get you out of a peanut butter and jelly rut.
1. Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich via Food, Pleasure and Health
This sandwich is an upgrade from the popular avocado breakfast toast. It's a delicious and simple lunch filled with plant-based protein and healthy fats. It can be put together in five minutes and is a great pack-and-go option, too.
2. Cheddar Pesto Tuna Melt via My Cape Cod Kitchen
This sandwich is served on hearty whole grain bread and packed with protein, fiber, calcium, healthy fats and flavor. Nutrient-rich baby spinach, crunchy and tangy red onion, and tomatoes add crunch, texture and taste. This is an irresistable sandwich that will be a year-round favorite.
3. Apple and Brie Grilled Cheese via Laurel Ann Nutrition
This sandwich is a great way to sneak a few servings of fruit and vegetables into your day. This recipe uses apples and arugula to create a refreshing lunch. Layer these ingredients between a high-fiber bread or flatbread paired with gooey brie cheese and you have a winning combination.
4. Grilled Turkey Avocado Sandwich via Your Choice Nutrition
This sandwich features sea salt and cracked pepper hummus spread. It's an easy, healthy and delicious way to switch up your lunch routine!
5. Mini Cucumber Sandwiches with Herbed Cream Cheese via It's a Veg World Afterall
These little sandwiches are perfect for packing to school or work. They're full of veggies and mixed with a light and creamy whipped lemon and dill cheese spread.
6. Italian Flatbread Breakfast Panini via Amy Gorin Nutrition
Whether for breakfast or for lunch, this flatbread breakfast panini makes a delicious meal. This vegetarian sandwich pairs simple ingredients together for maximum flavor and nutrition.
7. Mayo-Free Tuna Hummus Sandwich via Jessica Levinson
Swap mayo for hummus in this healthier upgrade to a classic tuna sandwich. Chopped carrots and red onion add crunch to the tuna salad, plus there's your boost of veggies for the meal. Serve on whole grain bread for a fiber boost and you have a well-balanced meal in one.
8. Curry Egg Salad Sandwich via Live Best
This healthy sandwich cuts down on calories and packs in the protein by using plain Greek yogurt. The tangy yogurt, along with the exotic curry flavor make this a meal you'll be packing in your lunchbox again and again.
9. Roasted Beet, Avocado, and Tomato Wrap via Hälsa Nutrition
Swap out the bread for a tortilla with this veggie-packed wrap. This recipe is a great way to get your veggies in without eating a salad. It's packed with fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants.
10. Grilled Eggplant and Arugula Caprese Sandwich via Sarah Gold Nutrition
This sandwich is an upgraded caprese, packed with meaty eggplant and spicy arugula on whole grain bread. The fiber from all of the vegetables and bread, plus the protein and fat from the mozzarella, make this super filling. Every bite is filled with flavor and nutrition.
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