The sandwich is a staple in the American diet. With unlimited options, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year. National Sandwich Day is celebrated on November 3 in recognition of John Montague, the fourth Earl of Sandwich.
As the story goes, Montague loved to gamble. During a gambling spree, he instructed his servant to bring him meat tucked between two slices of bread, as to not interfere with his gambling game – he could eat with one hand and gamble with the other. Another source states he invented the sandwich so that he wouldn’t have to take time out of his busy day to sit down to a full-course meal. Regardless of which story you believe, the sandwich was born.
The sandwich, America’s mealtime favorite, is the ultimate convenience food. A sandwich can be a hearty breakfast, mid-day meal or light dinner. Like any of our favorite dishes, a sandwich can be really healthy or not so healthy at all.
You’ll be building healthier, fulfilling and delicious sandwiches in no time using this four-part formula.
Choose Whole Grain/Bread: Choose 100 percent whole-grain for fiber.
- Whole wheat tortilla, English muffin, baguette, pita bread, sandwich thins, waffle, pancake
- Sprouted grain breads – found in larger specialty stores
- Sourdough whole wheat or rye bread
- Pumpernickel bread
- Seeded whole grain bread
- Oatmeal bread
Next add Filling: Pack in the protein with lean meats and meat alternatives.
- Hummus (the varieties seem endless), refried beans or bean spreads
- Smoked salmon
- Shrimp or Tuna salad – go easy on the mayonnaise or use vinaigrette dressing
- Chicken or egg salad – make with less mayonnaise, use a little hummus or Greek yogurt
- Nut and seed butters – peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower, etc.
- Deli meats – turkey breast, roast beef, ham (nitrate-free)
- Turkey or Canadian bacon
- Slices of cooked chicken or turkey
- Cheese (be adventurous – stray from the ordinary)
- Tofu or hard-cooked eggs
- Cottage or Ricotta cheese
Pile on the Produce: Boost nutrition by piling on the vegetables and/or fruit – lettuce, tomatoes and onions are standard; don’t be afraid to try something different, there are so many options.
- Roasted garlic and peppers (red, green, yellow, orange, purple)
- Grilled Portobello mushrooms
- Sundried tomatoes
- Fresh herbs
- Arugula, baby spinach, watercress, and romaine (the darker the greens the better)
- Avocado, cucumbers, radishes, mushrooms, bell peppers, turnips, scallions, cabbage or carrots
- Sliced apples, pears, strawberries, plums, nectarines, sliced grapes or pineapple
Top with Condiments: Add flavor with “good fats”.
- Low fat or light cream cheese
- Dijon, honey, spicy, or German mustard
- Barbecue and Chipotle sauce
- Low fat or light mayonnaise
- Low fat or light favorite salad dressing (easy does it)
- Cranberry chutney or Apple butter
With a little creativity, the sandwich can be transformed into a perfect meal.
Here are a couple of easy sandwich ideas:
Lettuce Wrap – Spread a little salmon or tuna salad on a lettuce leaf, sprinkle with scallions, roll up and enjoy!
Open Face Whole Grain Waffle Sandwich – lightly toast 1 large whole-grain waffle. Spread with 2 tbsp. peanut butter and top with tomato slices and enjoy! This is my husband’s favorite summer go-to sandwich.
It’s National Sandwich Day, by Lauren Torrisi, November 3, 2011 (Blog)
Build a Healthy Sandwich, by Alana Sugar, August 9, 2010 (Blog)
Build a Healthier Sandwich: Stack your favorite lunch option with protein, fruit and more for a healthier meal, by Abigail Cuffey
Build a Healthier Sandwich! , by Amanda Pressner – Advice from Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, a New York City-based dietitian and author of the F-Factor Diet.
Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Ohio State University Extension, email@example.com.
Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D., OSU Extension NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family & Consumer Sciences, Fayette County, Ohio State University Extension, email@example.com.
Jenny Lindimore, Office Associate, Ohio State University Extension, Morgan County, firstname.lastname@example.org.