The busy season is here, which means—you guessed it—sandwiches for lunch. Sandwiches are a staple lunch. They are versatile, portable and popular as snacks. But before you get into a rut and make the same sandwich day after day, your Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian will discuss how to build a better (and less boring) sandwich. With a few simple swaps and crunchy, colorful additions, you’ll be upgrading your lunch in no time.
Here are five tips for building a better sandwich.
It’s all about the foundation
Start by swapping out white bread for a multigrain or wholegrain base; whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains, which can help you reach your daily fiber goals. The recommended daily allowance of fiber is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women. The average adult only eats 15 grams of fiber per day. Fiber is key to lowering cholesterol and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Not a big fan of bread? Think sliced bread. Other whole grain options include wraps, sandwiches or baguettes, pita pockets, tortillas and crackers.
Spread to taste
Spreads are a great opportunity to add more flavor and healthy fats. Hummus is a nutritionist-favorite low-fat spread made from chickpeas that also contains protein and fiber. Mashed avocado is another creamy option that provides heart-healthy fat. Other popular flavor-enhancing products include whipped cream cheese, avocado oil mayonnaise, pesto, and reduced-sugar jelly.
Lots of protein
Deli meat is always a popular choice. Look for better options at your Hy-Vee deli, like Di Lusso deli treats. Di Lusso meat is 100% gluten-free and contains no artificial colors or fillers. They also have several lower sodium options to choose from. Want to go meatless? Try chopped hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, cheese, or coarsely mashed chickpeas. Canned tuna and salmon are also quick options that provide heart-healthy omega-3s.
Don’t forget fruits and vegetables
Think fruit doesn’t belong in a sandwich? Think again! Toss sliced grapes into a chicken salad or add thinly sliced apples to a ham and cheese sandwich for a surprising burst of flavor and crunch. For vegetables, skip the lettuce and tomatoes. Diet favorites include: chopped celery or chopped carrots in a salad with tuna, sliced peppers or cucumbers, or bring the heat with chopped jalapeños.
Add some micro greens
Microgreens deliver a nutritional punch and delicious taste in their tiny, sprouted form. They are teenage versions of salads and vegetables like cabbage, radishes and broccoli. Studies show that microgreens contain up to 40 times more nutrients, such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, than mature vegetables. Another favorite is fresh herbs. Basil, parsley or cilantro easily add a touch of freshness and flavor to any sandwich without the need for extra sugar or salt.
A well-constructed sandwich can serve as a complete meal. By including whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables, you can create a nutritious lunch. Keep your lunch interesting by changing up the ingredients and throwing in a few surprises. The two sandwich combinations below should help you spice up your lunch life and enjoy more fluffy meals.
Nicole Johnson is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee.
2 slices of whole wheat bread or multi-grain bread
1 to 2 tablespoons red pepper hummus
3 oz Di Lusso deli reduced sodium turkey
1 ounce slice of havarti cheese
Handful of baby spinach leaves or microgreens
Spread red pepper hummus on bread and top with deli meat, cheese and leafy greens.
Source: Hy-Vee nutritionists
A school-friendly PB&J
2 slices of 100% whole grain or multigrain bread
2 tablespoons of sunflower or soy butter spread
1 to 2 tablespoons concord reduced sugar grape jelly
1 small banana, sliced
Safe + Fair Birthday Granola Cake
Everything you do:
Spread sunflower or soy spread on the bread.
Spread on the jelly and cover with banana slices and granola.
Source: Hy-Vee nutritionists