6 Ways to Make Your Sandwich Healthier

Everyone loves a good sandwich. It’s a lunchtime classic, but sandwiches are also great for breakfast and dinner. The only problem with them is they can be loaded with simple carbs, sodium, fat, and sugar. If you’re opting for the wrong bread or adding tons of condiments, you’re probably doing more damage than you realize. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. With tips and tricks like these, you can still enjoy your go-to favorite with fewer calories and more nutrients. Try these six ideas the next time you make a sandwich for a more satisfying, wholesome meal.

1. Choose your bread wisely

whole-grain bread slices with blades of wheat

Whole-grain bread is your best bet. | iStock.com

Avoid breads that have a high glycemic index whenever you can. This includes white baguettes, kaiser rolls, and bagels. You should also be careful of wheat breads. Harvard Health Publications mentions white bread also falls high on the glycemic index scale. For the best nutrition, choose 100% whole-grain bread. WebMD says whole grains are filled with protein, fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients that can help reduce your risk for certain diseases. Surprisingly, pumpernickel and sourdough bread also make healthy carb options. You can even choose to ditch bread completely and opt for a leaf of lettuce or another sturdy green.

2. Scoop out the center

A thin version of a steak sandwich

Take out the bread in the middle. | iStock.com

Sometimes, you won’t want to skip out on your favorite French bread or bagel sandwich, and that’s OK. To enjoy one without undoing your diet, scoop out some of the insides of the bread. This leaves more room for healthy fillings like protein and vegetables. You’ll get to enjoy your favorite sandwich with more nutrients from the filling, fewer calories, and less guilt.

3. Ditch the unhealthy condiments

A bowl of fresh mayo

Leave the mayo out of this. | iStock.com

Ketchup, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing may give your sandwich a flavor boost, but they’re also giving you the added fat, sodium, and sugar that your body doesn’t need. To add flavor to your sandwich without going off track, stick to healthier options like mustard, salsa, or a bit of hummus. You can also make healthy swaps like subbing fresh tomato for ketchup and avocado for mayonnaise. You can even add spices like red pepper flakes to kick the heat up a notch, which Livestrong.com says may help boost metabolism.

4. Pile on the vegetables

Vegetable sandwich with lettuce, avocado, tomato, and sprouts

Add plenty of veggies. | iStock.com

The more veggies, the better. Try adding spinach to your next creation. WebMD says it’s a nutritional powerhouse, boasting folate, vitamins A and C, and fiber. The leafy green may even help prevent cancer. It’s also low in calories so you can load it onto your sandwich guilt-free. You can also add roasted red peppers to the mix, which The Guardian says contain vitamin B6 and antioxidants. Even adding onions may provide health benefits like helping to reduce high blood pressure. Seriously, you can’t add too many.

5. Make it open-faced

Open-faced egg sandwich with tomatoes

You won’t miss that extra piece of bread. | iStock.com

Open-faced sandwiches are a great way to trick your brain into thinking you’re eating the same amount as you would if you were having a regular sandwich. But by using just one piece of bread, you’re cutting back on additional calories you’re probably not going to miss anyway.

6. Pick a better protein

Grilled chicken sandwich with avocado

Go for grilled chicken. | iStock.com

When it comes to protein, stray away from deli meat when you can. This includes favorites like ham and bologna, which are actually two of the worst processed meats you can eat. Most of them contain nitrites, a form of salt that may cause health problems if you eat too much. Plus, the high sodium content takes up a huge chunk of the daily recommended intake. As for bacon, you’ll probably want to skip that, too. The cured meat is also one of the unhealthiest meats you can eat and has been linked to increasing the risk of heart disease and cancer. Sorry, BLT.

Instead of those salt bombs, go for slices of real, lean meat like grilled chicken, turkey, or pork tenderloin. They usually offer less sodium and fat, plus more protein. You can even use up leftovers from supper. Who needs bacon when you have homemade roast chicken?