5 Must-Try Healthy Sandwiches
Sandwiches have a pretty bad reputation for being unhealthy. But this lunchtime go-to is very capable of being a healthy option for your mid-day meal. It’s up to you to make it that way. You’ll need to get rid of a few of your normal ingredients – mayo andwhite bread – and swap it with some whole wheat and lean proteins. By making a few of these changes, you’ll be enjoying a diet-friendly sandwich in no time. Here are a few great sandwiches to add to your brown-bag routine.
The basics of a healthy sandwich
To ensure that you’re making a healthy sandwich, there are a few ingredients you should always have on hand. First, make sure you have 100 percent whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, Keri Gans, a registered dietitian, writes in a U.S. News article. You’ll want to pick up some bread that has at least three grams of fiber (it will keep you full longer,) but no more than 100 calories.
Get lean protein. “Ideal protein choices include 3 to 4 ounces of skinless chicken, fresh-roasted turkey, tuna canned in water, tofu, lean ham, or smoked salmon. If having sliced meat, figure that a single slice is approximately 1 ounce unless it’s sliced extremely thin. Try and limit the very high-fat options like pastrami, corned beef, and salami,” Gans writes. If you’re making a meatless sandwich, cheese and hummus are great options.
Incorporate some healthy fats. Skip regular mayonnaise – any sandwich that has regular mayo is bad news. Instead, use a low-fat mayo, or substitute it for hummus, low-fat plain yogurt, avocado, or oil and vinegar, Gans suggests.
Don’t forget the veggies. Pile as many vegetables as possible onto your sandwich. You don’t need to worry about too many calories when it comes to adding items such as lettuce, cucumber, onion, tomato, roasted peppers and spinach. They’ll make your sandwich larger without adding many additional calories, writes Gans.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, here are a few creative sandwich recipes to try.
1. Turkey, Green Apple, and Brie Sandwich
This delicious, low-calorie sandwich has 494 calories and 20 grams of fat, per Fitness. It’s a great combination of green apples and brie cheese – the perfect meal to get you through the afternoon. This recipe will make four servings.
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 4 kaiser rolls
- 8 ounces of brie, sliced into 4 equal parts
- 12 slices deli turkey (about 3/4 pound)
- 1/2 of a green apple (cored and thinly sliced)
Combine the mustard and honey, and mix in a small bowl until it’s smooth. Cut the rolls open horizontally and spread the bottom side with one-fourth of the mustard mixture. Now, layer on four slices of turkey, two ounces of brie, and one-fourth of the apple slices. Voila – your sandwich is complete.
Added tip: You can make some extra honey mustard sauce and use it on sandwiches throughout the week. Or add in some olive oil and you’ve got a spicy salad dressing to enjoy.
2. Roast Beef Panini
An easy-to-make sandwich that only takes five minutes, it manages to combine whole grains, protein, veggies and dairy. With only 384 calories, this Health recipe includes roast beef and smoked Gouda with watercress (which gives you a vitamin A boost.) It makes four servings, so cut the ingredients into fourths if you only want to make one.
- 8 tablespoons sweet- or hot-pepper jelly
- 8 slices whole-grain bread
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
- 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli roast beef
- 1 cup watercress sprigs
- Olive oil cooking spray
1. Begin by spreading one tablespoon of jelly evenly on each of the eight slices of bread. Spread each of the four slices with one-half teaspoon of mustard on top of the jelly. Sprinkle Gouda evenly on the same four slices. Top the remaining slices evenly with the thinly-sliced roast beef and the watercress sprigs. Combine the bread slices to create four sandwiches.
2. Heat a panini press or a grill pan coated lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Grill the sandwiches in batches, with the press closed, for two to three minutes per side. If using a grill pan, cook the sandwiches over moderately high heat with a heavy skillet on top of the sandwiches, pressing down, 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden.
3. Michigan Cherry Chicken Salad
This delicious sandwich has 394 calories and yields four servings. “This sweet and savory chicken salad combines pecans, celery and dried cherries with fat-free Greek yogurt. The result: a lighter (but just as flavorful) sandwich,” according to The Novice Chef. Tip: If you’re planning on making this sandwich in the morning to eat later in the day, line the slices of bread with mixed greens so your bread doesn’t end up soggy.
- 4 cups of cubed cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 rib celery, finely diced
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- 3/4 cup dried Michigan Cherries
- 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup fat-free greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Combine all of the ingredients and adjust any seasonings as needed. You can eat it immediately, but for an even more flavorful sandwich, let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes before digging in.
4. Strawvocado Balsamic Sandwich
The combination of balsamic and strawberries mixed with avocado creates the ultimate grown-up grilled cheese sandwich. The recipe makes one serving and contains 317 calories and 17.3 grams of fat.
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
- 1 wedge of garlic and herb Laughing Cow cheese
- 1/4 avocado, mashed
- 1/4 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 tablespoon reduced-fat feta crumbles
- 1 slice reduced-fat swiss cheese
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Set the oven to broil at 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Start by placing the toast onto a baking sheet. Spread each piece with half of the wedge of Laughing Cow. Now, spread the mashed avocado on top of each piece, followed by the sliced strawberries.
Sprinkle with feta and drizzle on the balsamic vinegar. Top with swiss cheese, and place under the broiler until the cheese is nice and melted. Carefully remove the pan from the oven, and place one half of the sandwich on top of the other. Enjoy!
5. Steak and Cheese Sandwich with Mushrooms
A healthy twist on a classic Philly cheesesteak, this sandwich contains 384 calories and 9.8 grams of fat. If you’re looking for a substitution, you can swap out the steak and use chicken breast instead, writes Cooking Light. This recipe yields four servings.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 cups pre-sliced onion
- 2 cups green bell pepper strips
- 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
- 1 cup pre-sliced mushrooms
- 3/4 pound top round steak, trimmed and cut into thin strips
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 (0.6-ounce) slices reduced-fat provolone cheese, cut in half
- 4 (2 1/2-ounce) hoagie rolls with sesame seeds
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the pan and sautéfor three minutes. Add mushrooms to the pan and sautéfor four minutes. Sprinkle beef with salt and black pepper. Add beef to the pan and sauté 3 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and cook for one minute.
Place one cheese slice on the bottom half of each roll, and top each serving with one-fourth of the beef mixture. Top with the remaining cheese slice halves and tops of rolls.