While sandwiches are a staple for many lunchboxes given how quick and easy they are to put together, you might want to think twice before packing your next afternoon meal, because while nothing can beat their simplicity, that sandwich might not actually be as healthy as you think. In fact, one sandwich can contain upwards of 200 calories – and, loaded with condiments like mayonnaise and butter, can be a huge diet disaster.
Below, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician from Vancouver, shares tips on how to transform your high-calorie, high-carbohydrate sandwich into one that’s not only delicious, but healthier for you, too.
BREAD: As a strong advocate of healthy eating, Dr. Ali Ghahary generally advises against consuming bread – especially if that bread is white. In fact, consumption of white bread is one of the biggest diet DONTS as it contains very little nutritional value while being much high in calories. (The average slice of white bread contains up to 80 calories.) Instead, you’ll want to choose bread that is either 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat, as they’re high in nutrients and fibre, and will also help you feel fuller longer. Also be sure to check the ingredients on the bread’s packaging and avoid added sugars like evaporated cane juice, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and molasses. Alternatively, you can swap bread out entirely and use iceberg or romaine lettuce and turn your sandwich into a lettuce wrap.
MEAT: Most people buy their sandwich meat from their local deli…but what you might not know is just how processed that meat is, which makes it high in fat and calories. Always opt for lean and healthy sources of protein like chicken or turkey (skinless); canned tuna and salmon are also two healthy options. As a meatless alternative, you can also make egg sandwiches.
VEGETABLES: To give your health an extra boost, make sure you load your sandwich with healthy vegetables. Some great veggies to include are tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, bean sprouts and lettuce – but be careful, as some vegetables pose a higher risk of contamination than others, so make sure they’re washed thoroughly before consumption.
SPREADS: Things like butter, mayonnaise and even ketchup are probably the most common condiments used in sandwiches, but they’re also the worst. While they will certainly make your sandwich much more moist and flavourful, they’re also high in calories, high in fat, and even high in sugar. However, there are ways you can add additional moisture and flavour without all the calories, fat and sugar. Simply choose condiments that are lower in fat to keep within a healthier calorie range.