Ever since the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montague, slapped his dinner between two slices of bread so he could eat one-handed while he played cards, sandwiches have become the quick meal solution for those on the go. But are they healthy?
For anyone looking to eat healthily, sandwiches aren’t always the guilt-free option that people assume them to be. Sure we were lulled into thinking they were the best lunch option as children when we took jam or peanut butter sandwiches to school. But really, they were just a quick and easy option for our parents and not necessarily the healthiest one.
Sure bread provides us with carbohydrates. However, two pieces of bread are double the amount of recommended carbohydrates you should be consuming in one meal.
The next difficulty lies in the filling which can provide a calorific and additive explosion. Traditionally filled with butter or processed margarine, mayonnaise, processed meats and possibly a token piece of tomato and lettuce, sandwiches do not represent a balanced meal option.
The standard ‘sandwich a day’ is not a great lunch solution. How about whipping up a tasty salad instead? The best option I’ve seen is making a salad in a jar. Layer your ingredients starting with your dressing at the bottom. When you’re ready to eat it, simply tip it upside down onto a plate (or take your own fork and eat directly from the jar if you’re out and about).
Include some protein like meat or boiled eggs, carbs like carrot or corn or brown rice, and plenty of non-carb veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot (or use some of these creative ingredients). Add tasty seeds and nuts for a little extra goodness. This can be a great way to make sure you’re getting your daily intake of fruit and vegetables.
When you’re feeling a bit peckish between meals, a quick sandwich might seem ideal but it will far exceed your calorie intake. If you’re looking for something to nibble whilst you watch a movie or play at foxy bingo, why not opt for vegetable crudités with a tasty dip or some fruit and yoghurt? These healthier options which leave just enough room for dinner.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should stop eating sandwiches altogether. Use whole-wheat or rye bread (or gluten-free bread if you’re on a gf diet). Substitute the mayo with hummus or mustard. Swop your cheddar cheese for fetta or cottage cheese. Take fresh ingredients to work and make your own open sandwich with one slice of bread. Limit yourself to two sandwich lunches per week and get creative about other lunch options.
Start becoming sandwich savvy by limiting your daily sandwich habit, cutting down your sandwich to one slice of bread and choosing a wholemeal option, and improving your ingredient choices. Your stomach (and your digestion) will thank you for it!