We all love sandwiches. Simple, filling, delicious, and with room for plenty of variety, it’s no wonder sandwiches are such a staple lunch food. But some sandwiches are healthier than others, and when we’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to pay attention to what we’re putting between our slices of bread. Here are some things to think about to make sure you’re getting a healthy, filling lunch without loading on lots of extra unwanted calories…
Make your sandwich with wholegrain bread, rather than processed white bread. Wholegrains give you more nutrients, adding extra vitamins and minerals as well as giving you a good dose of fibre. Fibre is essential for your heart and overall health, and it keeps you feeling fuller for longer. If you prefer a wrap, again choose a wholegrain option. You’ll feel more satisfied and get more benefits from the calories you are consuming.
Fill up on plenty of fresh or roasted vegetables like lettuce, carrots, onion, tomatoes, bean sprouts, cucumbers, mushrooms and more! They’ll give you plenty of texture and a big flavour hit, adding volume to the sandwich without stacking on heaps of extra calories. And if you choose darker leaves, like baby spinach, in place of lighter greens such as iceberg lettuce, you’ll get more nutrients, and a bit of extra taste.
If you have to have meat in your sandwich, choose lean, low-sodium deli meats such as chicken, turkey or roast beef. The key is to keep your portions small- 2 or 3 ounces is generally thought to be a good guideline. Or, if it’s easier to picture, around the size of a deck of playing cards.
If you decide to leave meat out, you might want to include another protein source in your sandwich. Try low-fat vegetarian spreads like hummus, peanut butter or cashew butter, or even a light vegetarian patty.
Choose a light or low-fat cheese, or consider eliminating it altogether. Harder cheeses such as Swiss and Cheddar usually have less fat, though softer cheeses, like Blue cheese, may actually add less fat to the sandwich overall if they are spread thinly. Or, if it’s the creamy texture you’re after, you can even try replacing cheese with sliced avocado, which contains healthy fats and is fairly low in calories.
Be careful- remember how easy it is for things like mayonnaise to sneak extra calories into your sandwich! One tablespoon of regular mayonnaise can add 100 calories and 10 grams of fat instantly. Use low-calorie condiments like mustard, ketchup or low-fat salad dressing instead to keep your sandwich lean and healthy. If you can’t live without mayo, choose low-fat versions for around half the calories.
Play around with different ingredients until you find something that works for you. Be conscious of what you are putting in your sandwich and try to eliminate extra calories, and enjoy a healthy, nutritious and filling lunch.