Even though I’ve always made the humble sandwich a big part of my diet. I’ve always kind of took them for granted.
Upon reflection, I’ve come to belive the sandwich just might one of the best culinary inventions for healthy eating.
Part of the magic of the sandwich comes from its versatility. You can make them in a wide variety of sizes and shapes allowing for a wide range in calorie and nutritional qualities.
You can use a wide variety of protein and fat sources as well as veggies to make 1,001 different taste and texture options to satisfy any pallet. They can be served hot, cold or even grilled.
Because of this wide variety of options, you can customize the nutritional profile of any sandwich. You can make them vegetarian, vegan, meaty, high protein, or low fat. They can be high calorie or low calorie and everywhere in between to accommodate any weight loss or weight gain goal.
Even though you can customize the nutritional profile of a sandwich, you’re almost always getting a fantastic nutritional bang for the buck. Most sandwiches have a great balance between macronutrients while also supplying many vitamins and minerals. They really are a very complete meal in and of themselves.
The sandwich also fits very well in our modern day life. The ingredients are abundant and cheap and there are loads of places that will sell us a fresh sandwich quick and cheap. Sandwiches are easy to make, portable and can be consumed without the need for utensils or cooking appliances. This makes them one of the best healthy on-the-go foods. They also lend themselves to greater portion control since they are typically cut in half thus allowing us to have an optional stopping point so we don’t over eat.
Like everything else with diet and exercise, the quality of the sandwich is all in its construction. Here are some simple tips for healthy and satisfying sandwiches.
1- Bread is important but it should play a minor role. Choosing a good quality bread like 100% whole wheat or multi grain is a good start, but for the most part bread plays a minor role in the over all taste and satisfaction. I recommend using thin slices of bread or sandwich flats. Options like hoagie rolls or bagels can just add bland and dry filler.
2- Be generous with the protein. Be it cheese, meat or tofu don’t be afraid to pile it on.
3- Don’t shy away from the fat either. I used to make low fat sandwiches and they never satisfied very much. Use cheese, dressings or oils to improve the taste and the texture.
4- Pile on the veggies! I like to think of a sandwich as a salad with lots of protein between two slices of bread. Adding veggies can be a bit problematic for some because they can take time to cut up and prepare. My shortcut is to get my veggies from the salad bar. You’ll find everything you need already chopped and cut up. The salad bar is also the ideal place to find some interesting dressings that will help you think beyond mustard and mayo.
So don’t overlook the humble sandwich is you’re looking to make any changes to your diet. It just might be one of the world’s most perfect foods.