Now that Halloween’s over, we can celebrate the real holiday here, National Sandwich Day! It’s only fitting that America’s favorite lunch item has its own special day. Personally, I love sandwiches; you can put anything you want on them – they’re great on the go, and they’re very versatile. They’re the perfect lunch for a reason. You can go with the simple, classic turkey sandwich on whole wheat or kick it up a notch with a grilled chicken, balsamic, arugula sandwich on a nice ciabatta roll.
The media can put out misleading information about carbohydrates and many have tried to steer clear of the sandwich for this reason. But sandwiches can actually be a very important part of your day. By providing your body with a wholesome and filling lunch, you’ll be keeping your blood sugars stable and your body fueled so your mind can get back to work.
Your Main Grain
If you still believe that a healthy sandwich means sacrificing taste, then I have a few good tips for you. The critical component of every good sandwich is in the bread. This is the perfect opportunity to add more whole grains into your day. When looking for whole grain bread in the grocery store, check the food ingredients list. If the first ingredient mentions a whole grain like oats, barley, whole wheat or brown rice then it’s good to go. If it says simply “wheat”, semolina, enriched flour, bran or wheat germ then this is a refined grain product. Refined grains are really good at spiking your blood glucose and leaving you hungrier sooner so you might want to trade in your white bread for some whole alternatives.
Pick Your Protein
Next, it’s time to pick your protein. Though cold-cuts are an easy go-to option, there are better choices out there. Many pre-sliced lunch meats like ham, turkey and salami have higher fat, sodium and nitrate content than regular sliced to order options. The unnecessary sodium can raise your blood pressure and cause your body to retain water, leaving you feeling more bloated than usual. Instead, look for fresh roasted turkey or leftover lean grilled steak or chicken.
Dress It Up
Time to dress it up. Make your sandwich yummy and unique with an assortment of veggies and dressings. If you’re in the mood for something peppery, add arugula. If you’re looking for something refreshing, try classic lettuce greens or herb salad blend. Pile on the veggies like fresh, sliced avocados, tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, or whatever else floats your boat. If you’re looking for a healthy dressing, give some whole grain mustard a try or a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar or even a fresh squeeze of lemon juice.
There are so many ways to make the perfect sandwich; you really can’t go wrong. My favorite is roasted turkey, red onion, baby spinach, and light balsamic vinaigrette on toasted sesame Ezekiel bread. The best part about sandwiches is that they are so easy to take along with you. Make your sandwich at home so that you know what you’re putting into it. Bringing a healthful lunch with you to work or school will ensure that you have a tasty, healthy meal and will help you save money.
Your turn to take action: Celebrate National Sandwich Day by bringing along your own sandwich combination tomorrow. Try something new and exciting but remember to also keep it fresh, full of nutrients, and made with natural ingredients. Let me know what your favorite sandwich is below.