A healthy sandwich is a lunchtime favorite for a few good reasons: It’s easily packable, cheap to make, and the perfect vehicle for complex carbohydrates, good-for-you fats, fiber-packed veggies, and lean protein. It can totally be the afternoon meal you need to get through the rest of your day. And, despite what grilled cheeses and BLTs would have you think, sandwiches can absolutely help you work toward your weight loss goals.
These eight simple tricks make it easy to cut calories and add nutrients to all your go-to sandwich recipes without sacrificing the flavors you love. If you’re interested in using these ideas to help you lose weight, it’s important to note that weight loss looks different for everyone. Counting calories can be a helpful tactic for some people, but not for others. If you have a history of disordered eating, you should always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
And remember, weight loss isn’t just about what you eat. Stress levels, sleep habits, and health issues that may be out of your control can all affect how you gain and lose weight. That’s why it’s important to take the time to find a plan that will help you reach your goals in a way that’s healthiest for you.
If you do want to use healthy sandwich ideas to help you lose weight, try out these easy tricks the next time you pack your lunch.
1. Open up your sandwich.
An easy way to cut the calorie count of literally any sandwich? Take off the top piece of bread. This is a trick that Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition, swears by. She tells SELF that by removing that extra bread, not only are you nixing about 70 to 80 calories, but you’re also making enough room to pile your meal high with extra protein and veggies.
2. Use pita instead of regular bread.
Each piece of whole-wheat bread has about 80 calories, whereas a small whole-wheat pita (2 to 4 inches wide) only has about 70 calories, says Gorin. That’s not a huge difference, but it might be worth trying if you’re looking for small, simple ways to eat fewer calories.
3. Wrap it up—in a romaine lettuce leaf or even a tortilla.
“If you’re looking to cut calories, opt for a lettuce-wrapped sandwich,” Dianna Sinni, R.D., L.D., wellness dietitian and blogger at Chard in Charge, tells SELF. “This can reduce the calorie count by 120 to 200 calories, depending on the type of bread you normally use.”
Still want some healthy carbs on your plate? Use a single whole-wheat or multigrain tortilla instead of two slices of bread. Just make sure that the tortilla you’re reaching for is actually lower in calories, says Gorin, because some can contain even more than those two slices of bread.
4. Throw an egg on top.
Gorin likes to top her sammies with a fried or hard-boiled egg. This is a great way to add 6 grams of extra protein, plus some healthy fats, to make your lunch more satisfying and keep you fuller for longer. Plus, who doesn’t love sopping up that runny yolk with bread?
5. Skip the deli meats.
Gorin explains that even though they’re a super low-maintenance protein source, deli meats often contain a lot of sodium. That’s why she prefers to fill her sandwiches with whole cooked chicken breasts or salmon fillets. Don’t feel like laboring over your meat that long? Canned chicken, salmon, or tuna with no added sodium will work just fine.
6. Opt for lower-calorie condiments.
“With a lot of condiments, we’re just looking for ways to add moisture to our sandwiches,” Gorin explains. Her go-to condiments include mustard, hummus, and a homemade garlicky-Greek yogurt spread, all of which add moisture in a healthier way. And don’t forget to be wary of sugar—some condiments, like ketchup, pack way more than you’d think.
7. Or skip the condiments altogether and use concentrated ingredients like caramelized onions and sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavor.
You get a huge bang for your buck with cured, pickled, and cooked ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and olives. All are both extremely potent and relatively low in calories, and you don’t need to use a lot to reap the flavor benefits.
8. When in doubt, add more veggies.
As is the case with salads, crunchy, watery, low-cal vegetables are something you can never add too much of to your sandwiches. Gorin likes to throw in tons of everything from alfalfa sprouts to red peppers. And that’s just the beginning of the possibilities. Don’t be afraid to get creative, because almost everything tastes good in sandwich form.
You may also like: A Healthy Egg and Avocado Sandwich Under 300 Calories
- Tasty Sandwiches You Can Eat and Still Lose Weight
- 1. Egg Sandwiches with Wilted Spinach
- 2. Smoked Salmon Flatbread
- 3. Grilled Chicken, Tomato, and Onion Sandwiches
- 4. Hummus Vegetable Sandwich
- 5. Tuscan Tuna-and-Bean Sandwiches
- 6. Steak and Fennel Sandwiches
- Low-Calorie Diet: 5 Healthy Sandwich Spreads To Make Your Snack Diet-Friendly
- Here are some healthier sandwich spread options to add to your low-calorie diet:
- 7 Easy-To-Make Wraps Under 400 Calories
- 1. Parmesan Chicken Wrap
- 2. Spinach and Feta Wrap
- 3. Chicken Caesar Wrap
- 4. Spicy Southwest Chicken Wrap
- 5. Grilled Zucchini Hummus Wrap
- 6. Breakfast Burrito Collard Wrap
- 7. Greek Roasted Red Pepper Wrap
- Find & Log Healthy Recipes
- Is your veg sandwich healthy?
- Is Vietnamese Food Really Healthy?
Tasty Sandwiches You Can Eat and Still Lose Weight
Eating well doesn’t mean your diet has to consist of dull flavors or force you to give up your favorite ingredients. Even carbs have a place in a nutritious diet. These starchy foods really don’t deserve so much blame for weight gain; they offer a lot of health benefits. And since combining exercise and healthy eating is the best strategy for losing weight, it’s important to remember how important carbs are for after a workout. Most nutrition experts recommend consuming a ratio of three parts carbs to one part protein to adequately fuel recovery after exercise. This means a tasty sandwich might be the perfect post-workout food. Start slimming down today with these six sandwich recipes that are as tasty as they are healthy.
1. Egg Sandwiches with Wilted Spinach
Egg sandwich on an English muffin | iStock.com
When you need something fast for breakfast that has more staying power than a bowl of cereal, these hearty egg sandwiches from Williams-Sonoma, adapted from Healthy in a Hurry, are a great choice. A little bit of melted cheese and some garlicky greens make this sandwich a standout as far as flavor goes. You’ll also get plenty of protein and fiber, which means you’ll stay satisfied all morning.
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons low-fat milk or water
- 2 thin slices Manchego cheese
- 2 whole-wheat English muffins, split and toasted
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 2 generous handfuls baby spinach leaves
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease two 6-ounce ramekins with 1 teaspoon olive oil. In a bowl, lightly beat eggs with milk. Divide mixture between the prepared ramekins, transfer to the oven and bake until eggs are set, 15 to 18 minutes.
Near the end of baking time, place a cheese slice on the bottom half of each English muffin. Place the cheese-topped muffins on a rack in the oven until the cheese melts slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from heat and discard garlic clove.
Remove ramekins from oven and let cool slightly. Run a paring knife around the inside edges to release eggs, and turn out onto muffin bottoms. Top with spinach, close with muffin tops, and serve.
2. Smoked Salmon Flatbread
Smoked salmon and veggies on a tortilla | iStock.com
Most go-to recipes only feel appropriate for a certain meal, so this versatile salmon sandwich from Better Homes and Gardens is a great way to add some flexibility to your rotation. The flavors of the smoked fish and cream cheese taste just as good in the evening as they do in the morning, which makes this meal perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you can’t find chive and onion cream cheese, just substitute whatever sounds good at your grocery store. For even more nutrition and flavor, add some chopped tomatoes and cucumbers.
- 1 (8-ounce) tub chive and onion cream cheese
- 6 multigrain flatbread of pita
- 3 cups torn lettuce
- 8 ounces hot smoked salmon, flaked
- 8 small radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- Ground black pepper
Directions: Divide cream cheese evenly among flatbread rounds, spreading evenly. Top with lettuce, salmon, radishes, and capers. Season with pepper. Fold in half and serve.
3. Grilled Chicken, Tomato, and Onion Sandwiches
Grilled chicken sandwich | iStock.com
Nearly every component of Food & Wine’s chicken sandwich is grilled to give it way more flavor than your typical between-bread meal. Even the juicy tomatoes hit the hot grates, so make sure they’re sliced thick enough to hold together while cooking. You can even use this method indoors with a stovetop grill pan. As with an outdoor grill, allow plenty of time to preheat so you get great marks and the most flavor.
- 3 ounces pitted mixed olive
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced ⅓-inch thick
- 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced ¼-inch thick
- 4 crusty rolls, split horizontally
- 1¾ pounds thin chicken cutlets
Directions: Preheat a grill. In a mini food processor, pulse olives, garlic, and oregano until chopped. Add ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil and pulse until finely chopped and combined. Season with pepper.
Brush tomatoes, onion, and cut sides of rolls with olive oil. Grill tomatoes and onion over high heat until softened and lightly charred, about 2 minutes for tomatoes and 6 minutes for onion. Transfer veggies to a plate and season with salt and pepper. Grill bread until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned in spots and fully cooked, 5 to 6 minutes. Cut chicken to fit rolls and evenly divide among roll bottoms. Top with tomato, onion, and olive relish. Close sandwiches, cut in half, and serve.
4. Hummus Vegetable Sandwich
Hummus and vegetable sandwich | iStock.com
Often just used as a dip for veggies, hummus also makes a phenomenal sandwich filling because it offers plenty of protein and fiber while keeping the sandwich nice and moist. Since the chickpea spread is so flavorful on its own, you only need a few other ingredients to make a substantial meal. Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food adds cucumbers, carrots, and some olive tapenade, but feel free to use any of your other favorite veggies.
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread
- ¼ cup store-bought hummus
- 1 tablespoon store-bought olive tapenade
- ¼ cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 coarsely grated carrot
Directions: Spread one bread slice with hummus and spread tapenade on other slice. Top hummus with cucumber slices and carrot. Close with bread slice spread with tapenade. Serve.
5. Tuscan Tuna-and-Bean Sandwiches
Healthy tuna salad on whole-wheat bread | iStock.com
Instead of relying on loads of mayo to create a delicious tuna salad, this recipe from Epicurious goes for a garlicky bean salad and an olive-flecked tuna mixture. Using both fillings gives this meal a variety of textures and offers a double dose of filling protein. Leftover beans and tuna will also taste great tossed with some cooked orzo.
- 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 (6-ounce) cans Italian tuna in oil, drained
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley
- ¼ cup pitted Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, finely chopped
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 (⅓-inch-thick) slices rustic Italian bread or 4 oval panini rolls
- 1 cup loosely packed, trimmed watercress sprigs
Directions: In a medium bowl, coarsely mash beans with a fork. Stir in garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoons parsley, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
In a separate bowl, flake tuna with a fork, then stir in basil, olives, celery, onion, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper.
Spoon one-quarter of bean mixture on each of four bread slices, then top each with one-quarter of the tuna mixture. Top with watercress and close sandwiches. Serve.
6. Steak and Fennel Sandwiches
Steak sandwich with caramelized onions, goat cheese, and spinach | iStock.com
A juicy steak sandwich can still be on the menu when you opt for lean meat and flavorful veggies. Try these tenderloin sandwiches from Cooking Light, which get even more flavorful with arugula and caramelized fennel. This meal has just as much flavor as any cheese-smothered beef sandwich with just a fraction of the calories. To keep it even leaner, substitute mustard for the mayonnaise.
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 3 cups thinly sliced fennel
- 4 (4-ounce, 1-inch-thick) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed
- 8 teaspoons Homemade Mayonnaise
- 8 (1-ounce) slices ciabatta, lightly toasted
- 1 cup arugula
Directions: Combine fennel seeds, salt, cumin, and pepper in a small bowl. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ½ teaspoon spice mixture and sliced fennel. Cook 15 minutes, or until fennel is tender and lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove to a bowl and wipe pan clean.
In same skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Season steaks evenly with remaining spice mixture. Add steaks to pan and cook 4 minutes per side, or until cooked to your desired doneness. Remove from pan and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice steak.
Spread 2 teaspoons mayonnaise onto each of 4 bread slices. Top each with one-quarter of beef, one-quarter of fennel, and one-quarter of arugula. Close with remaining bread slices. Serve.
Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec
Low-Calorie Diet: 5 Healthy Sandwich Spreads To Make Your Snack Diet-Friendly
Sandwiches are one of the most popular snack foods out there. They’re easy to make, are ready in minutes and are just perfect for calming your hunger pangs for a short while. But sandwiches can add up to your daily calorie count very quickly. For one, the bread used in sandwiches, if made from processed flour, can be bad for your diet. Another ingredient that may add high amount of calories to your sandwiches is the spread. Sandwich spreads that you normally buy from the supermarket and grocery stores may have high amounts of salt, trans fats and hidden sugar. Not to mention, these sandwich spreads may contain artificial flavours and preservatives that could take a toll on your overall health.
If you’re on a low-calorie diet and want a way to make your sandwiches healthier, you need to ditch those store-bought spreads right away. There are a number of other nutritious alternatives to these sandwich spreads that you can use instead.
Also Read: Yummy Tips To Make Your Sandwiches Healthier
Here are some healthier sandwich spread options to add to your low-calorie diet:
Made from chickpeas, sesame seeds and olive oil, hummus is rich in protein and good fats and is also extremely flavourful. You can layer your hummus sandwich with a number of veggies like cucumber, tomato slices etc.
2. Mashed Avocado
This savoury fruit has a creamy texture and can be spiced with a number of spices and herbs. Avocado mash works as a great healthy spread for both sweet and savoury sandwiches.
Also Read: 11 Best Sandwich Recipes | Easy Sandwich Recipes
3. Ricotta Cheese
One of the healthiest cheeses out there is the Italian ricotta cheese, which is creamy and rich, as well as healthy. You can mix it with blanched spinach leaves and add it to your healthy grilled-cheese sandwich to up its nutrition quotient.
Low-Calorie Diet: Ricotta is one of the healthiest cheeses out there
4. Mashed Berries
If you like your sandwiches sweet, then instead of store-bought sugary jams, you can use a berry mash. All you need to do to prepare this mash is mix all your favourite berries, add a little honey to sweeten them and mash it all together to get a paste-like consistency. The mash makes for a tasty and healthy spread, which won’t disturb your low-calorie diet.
5. Homemade Peanut Butter
Another great spread for sweet sandwiches is a nut butter like peanut butter or almond butter. You can add some banana slices to the mix, and sweeten it further by drizzling some honey on top.
Make sure you use only organic grade ricotta and peanut butter. Nut butters and hummus can be easily prepared at home as well. Happy snacking!
About Sakshita KhoslaSakshita loves the finer things in life including food, books and coffee, and is motivated by self-indulgence and her love for words. When not writing, she can be found huddled in the corner of a cosy cafe with a good book, caffeine and her own thoughts for company.
7 Easy-To-Make Wraps Under 400 Calories
If you’re sick of sandwiches, wraps are a great, healthy lunchtime alternative. They are both easy to make and extremely portable. You can load them up with your favorite foods, and you can even prepare a bunch at the beginning of the week to last you for multiple meals. Choosing the right types of wraps can help keep you on track with your healthy diet, and luckily there are a ton of options out there when it comes to this light and satisfying meal.
We’ve gathered a list of seven delicious and easy-to-make wraps that are all under 400 calories.
1. Parmesan Chicken Wrap
This warm wrap is only 319 calories per serving, and it can be whipped up in just 15 minutes. All you need is some chicken, marinara sauce and cheese for a lunch or dinner that’s reminiscent of pizza (for a fraction of the calories).
Recipe: Dashing Dish
2. Spinach and Feta Wrap
If you’re a fan of Starbucks’ breakfast wraps, you’ll love this copycat version that’s easy to make at home. Egg whites, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese are wrapped up in a whole-wheat lavash that can even be frozen and reheated on hectic mornings.
The Big Man’s World
Recipe: The Big Man’s World
3. Chicken Caesar Wrap
Take this classic salad with you in the form of an easy-t0-assemble wrap. Chicken is combined with light Caesar dressing, tomatoes and lettuce to make a fresh-tasting lunch that’s only 216 calories.
The Skinny Fork
Recipe: The Skinny Fork
RELATED: This Is The Most Popular Chicken Recipe On The Internet
4. Spicy Southwest Chicken Wrap
These spicy Southwestern-inspired wraps clock in at 300 calories, but they’re packed with filling ingredients like black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado and cheese.
Recipe: Emily Bites
5. Grilled Zucchini Hummus Wrap
Not all wraps need animal-protein in them to be filling. This grilled veggie wrap is loaded with zucchini, kale, tomatoes and onions, and it’s topped off with white cheddar cheese and hummus for extra nutrients and flavor.
6. Breakfast Burrito Collard Wrap
Breakfast burritos seem like a guilty pleasure, but not when you opt for a healthy version like this one. Instead of tortilla, this wrap uses a collard green, but the inside is still loaded with egg, beans, jalapeños, avocado and more.
Eat The Gains
Recipe: Eat The Gains
7. Greek Roasted Red Pepper Wrap
Another veggie option, this wrap is inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean. In addition to all of the vegetables, this Greek-influenced wrap contains goat cheese and feta, and it is only 236 calories.
RELATED: 7 Snacks That Are Okay To Eat Before You Go To Bed
My Fitness Pal
Recipe: My Fitness Pal
Find & Log Healthy Recipes
Wraps are a delicious way to hold a complete, balanced meal in the palm of your hand—literally! It’s a popular option, especially if you’re somebody who is always on the go. To help you enjoy wraps at any meal, here’s our collection of healthy recipes all under 450 calories.
1. Baked Falafel Lettuce Wraps | The Wheatless Kitchen
Baked falafel is a crispy way to get your lean protein and fiber in. Make falafel healthier by baking ground chickpeas instead of deep-frying them. Serve them with tangy lemon-dill yogurt sauce, and watch them disappear. Recipe makes 6 servings at 3 falafels + 1 tablespoon yogurt sauce + 3 lettuce leaves + 1/2 tomato + 1/2 avocado.
2. Greek Roasted Red Pepper Wraps | Maebells
If you’re a fan of Greek salad, you can take it on the go with this recipe for Greek roasted red pepper wraps. Roll together roasted red pepper, spinach, cucumber, goat cheese, feta and olives, and enjoy. This version of the recipe calls for a whole-grain wrap, or use a gluten-free substitute if needed. Add a side of hummus for dipping. Recipe makes 1 serving at 1 wrap each.
3. Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps | Skinnytaste
Want to give your tacos a fresh and healthy twist? Try subbing in lettuce leaves instead of the traditional corn and flour tortillas. Make the taco filling from scratch using fresh ingredients. Recipe makes 4 servings at 2 lettuce wraps each.
4. Grilled Zucchini Hummus Wrap | Maebells
This wrap is packed with grilled zucchini, veggies, cheese and hummus. Grilled zucchini is placed on a big tortilla topped with kale, red onion, tomatoes, cheese and a heaping dose of hummus. Recipe makes 2 servings at 1 wrap each.
5. Waldorf Chicken Salad | Love & Zest
Make this simple chicken Waldorf salad for an on-the-go meal. This recipe remixes leftover rotisserie chicken with common ingredients like plain Greek yogurt, orange juice, mayonnaise, apples and onions. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 wrap each.
6. Egg and Hummus Breakfast Wrap | Eating Bird Food
This quick and healthy breakfast recipe features an egg and veggie scramble wrapped in a whole-grain tortilla. Hummus, feta and sun-dried tomatoes make this a Mediterranean-inspired breakfast wrap. Recipe makes 1 serving at 1 wrap each.
7. Greek Style Chicken Wrap | Cooking Light
Make a delicious, nutritious lunch in no time flat with Greek style chicken wraps. Combine grocery store rotisserie chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and hummus on a flour tortilla, and you have a balanced meal. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 wrap each.
8. Swiss Chard Wraps | Clean Eating
Rich in micronutrients, Swiss chard is the workhorse of leafy greens. Use it as a low-carb wrap to roll up other superfoods like carrots, beets and avocados. The best part: Each vegetarian-friendly wrap is flavored with almond-lime dip. To avoid bitterness, destem and steam the chard leaves for a few minutes before using as wraps. Recipe makes 4 servings at 4 wraps + 2 tablespoons sauce each.
Is your veg sandwich healthy?
Veg sandwiches are no longer just seen in health food zones and vegetarian food counters, they’re everywhere.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy the occasional change of taste and health benefits of a vegetarian sandwich. But is a veg sandwich, or veg burger as some call it, really healthy all the time? Is a veg burger a healthy snack simply by virtue of being a vegetarian snack? Today Ms. Sunita Pathania – Sr. Registered Dietician and Diabetes Educator, Healthy Living Diet Clinic, Mumbai, helps us understand the what and how behind the seemingly innocent veg ‘burger’.
Why we think that a veg burger is healthy…
One of the biggest reasons why veg sandwiches fall in the healthy food category is that they contain less saturated fat. Sunita says, “A regular, normal veg sandwich consists of approximately four to seven grams of saturated fat.” Beyond that what makes a sandwich healthy and nutritious is its size. Since, a veg ‘burger’ or sandwich does not contain red meat it is considered, sometimes erroneously, to be the healthier snack option.
However, this is subject to many considerations. For instance: Is the vegetable patty fried, steamed or grilled? Is it fried in palm oil? Is it loaded with cholesterol-ridden cheese? Is it layered with unhealthy mayo? A normal, veg sandwich weighs approximately 71-100 grams and has approximately 70 to 150 calories each – IF (and this is important) – it’s ingredients are healthy and prepared using healthy methods. Depending on size and the content added to it, the health qualities of a veg sandwich may be high or low in calories, fat and fiber.
When can a veg sandwich be unhealthy?
Even though a veg sandwich is made of various vegetables, it can be unhealthy due to the amount of processing the ingredients have gone through. Besides, some veg burgers are loaded with excess amounts of sodium, which can cause trouble to your heart and kidney.
Additionally, watch the amount of butter or oil used in a veg sandwich before categorising it as healthy. Beyond that, size does matter. If your veg sandwich is loaded with extra toppings and cheese, then it may contain calories greater than 1,000 – which is half a day’s calorie intake for a person who’s approximately 6 feet tall!
Sunita says, “A veg ‘burger’ contain a harmful compound known as Hexane – it is a by-product of gasoline refining that is used to separate whole soybeans into soy oil, protein and fiber. This compound can cause serious health problems ranging from nerve problems which can lead to pain, numbness, muscle problem and digestion problem.”
Word of caution
“Veg sandwiches can definitely be healthier than normal meat burgers, but be cautious while choosing one,” says Sunita. And if you want the best out of your veg sandwiches, then it best to make them at home. It is simple and you will also be aware of exactly which ingredients are added.
Here is the dietician’s pick for a healthy veg sandwich recipe:
15 ounce of black beans
½ diced onion
½ diced red pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Mash the above ingredients in a food processor. Shape the mixture into patties. Spray a pan with cooking spray and cook the patties on medium heat for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side.
Add the patty to whole grain buns or bread slices, add some tomato and onion slices, and voila! Your healthy veg sandwich is ready.
Read more Personal Health, Diet & Fitness stories on www.healthmeup.com
Veg Sandwiches are vegetarian sandwiches which contain no non vegetarian item and are made up of vegetables, fruits, bread, cheese, dips etc. There are many different types of veg sandwiches and each veg sandwich may be containing different amount of calories depending upon the ingredients that it is made up of. Veg sandwich is generally considered good for the health but if you wish to know about the benefits and calorie content of different veg sandwiches, then please go through the following part of the article:
Vrooman is a popular and well know company which makes many food items. One such item that it prepares and sells is a veg sandwich. 1 serving of Vrooman’s roasted veg sandwich contains 374 calories out of which 52% comes from total fat, 14% comes from sodium and 4% is also contributed by total carbohydrates.
Dunkin Donuts also sells yummy veg Sandwich. 1 serving of a veg sandwich made by Dunkin Donuts contains about 420 calories out of which 32% comes from total fat, 15% comes from saturated fat, 2% comes from cholesterol, 20% comes from sodium, 17% comes from total carbohydrates and 32% comes from dietary fiber. The nutrition grade which has been given to this particular sandwich is C+. The fact that Dunkin Donuts veg sandwich contains very low amount of cholesterol can be counted in its favour.
Waitrose is a company known for selling several food items which are healthy and also nutritious. Waitrose vegetarian salad sandwich is also a delicious veg sandwich which is popular amongst many people. 1 oz of this sandwich contains 74 calories. Out of these 74 calories present in 1 oz of veg sandwich made by Waitrose, 7% is contributed by total fat, 2% comes from total carbohydrates and 1% comes from dietary fiber as well.
Banh mi are one of the best sandwich deals in town.
The Vietnamese subs, made with crusty French baguettes and a variety of meat and vegetable fillings, easily combat hunger and are a pocket change bargain, often costing less than a large latte.
Carrie Lam loves the banh mi served at Ngyuen Hu’o’ng, a bustling takeout counter on Spadina Ave. The restaurant, which started selling sandwiches in the 1980s, now has six locations in the GTA.
The prices remain jaw-dropping low: A large assorted meat sandwich, stuffed with pork pate, carrot slaw, cilantro and slices of deli meats, costs just $2.75.
It’s what Lam and her husband relish when they crave a cheap and delicious meal.
“We’ve always wondered whether they are good for you,” she says, with a laugh. “We don’t know where else we can get a meal for $3 — besides a hotdog.”
Lam guesses the large assorted meat sub has 700 calories, so she is relieved — based on her past sandwich consumption rate — that the lab analysis reveals it has 618 calories.
“I think that’s OK for a meal,” she says, a note of caution in her voice. “But what about the fat and the sodium?”
She’s a little letdown to find out the sandwich has 25 grams of fat — about a third of what the average woman should aim for in a day — and almost 1,700 milligrams of sodium. That’s the equivalent of about 42 shakes of salt from a salt shaker.
“Oh gosh. I’ll just make sure to have light, unsalty meals the rest of the day and save up for the sandwich.”
Have your say
Registered dietitian Carol Harrison agrees that diners should consider the sandwich an occasional indulgence rather than an everyday cheap eat.
“If you’re regularly eating a 600-calorie sandwich — especially if combined with a sugary drink — those calories could sneak up on you and over time contribute to weight gain.”
For Harrison, the nutrition numbers are less of a concern than the overall nutritional value of the sandwich’s ingredients.
The fluffy white bun means the sandwich is low in dietary fibre and the meal’s vegetable garnish — just a handful of shredded carrot and cilantro leaves — means diners will have to work hard the rest of the day to meet their recommended quotas of fruits and vegetables.
“While this sandwich will fill you up, you’re not necessarily getting all the nutrients you need to feel energized and healthy the rest of the day.”
The sandwich does provide 31 grams of protein — about the amount nutrition experts recommend to aim for in a meal.
But Harrison says it’s not a good source because the meat is processed.
“Studies have shown regularly consuming a high amount of processed meats is linked with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and early death,” Harrison says.
“Bottom line: This is not a sandwich to have too often. Just because it’s cheap, don’t make it your go-to lunch.”
Lam, who considers herself a healthy eater, says she will continue to savour her much-loved banh mi. Just not as often.
“It will be one of those meals that we eat on the weekend when we’re out and want a treat,” she says.
And will she size-down to the $2.25 version?
Probably not, she says. The sandwich is just too yummy.
“And,” she adds with a laugh, “I’m not cutting it in half.”
ADD IT UP
Toronto is host to dozens of cheap eats.
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Here is a nutritional cheat sheet for four popular meals.
MAKE IT BETTER
Registered dietitian Carol Harrison is convinced that it’s faster, easier and cheaper to make grab-and-go meals at home rather than rely on takeout counters and crowded drive-thrus. The trick, she says, is to plan ahead and organize your meals on weekends.
“You’ll eat better, feel better and save money.”
Here are three tried-and-tested suggestions:
(1) Make and freeze a batch of bean and cheese burritos. Pack one for lunch and pair it with a piece of fruit. “The burritos defrost beautifully; just two minutes in the microwave.”
(2) Whip up a salad of couscous, chickpeas and chunks of colourful vegetables, such as grated carrot and cherry tomatoes. Spice it up with cumin and a big squeeze of lime juice.
(3) Freeze individual portions of stew loaded with vegetables and lean protein. Beans and lentils are especially economical. “Homemade stew is cheaper than a $3 sandwich. And better for you.”
Nutrition Information on Vietnamese Sandwich
Serving size: 252 grams
Fat: 25 grams
Sodium: 1,690 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 68 grams
Protein: 31 grams
A traditional banh mi sandwich is filled with pork, but this version gets a vegetarian makeover with crispy tofu, vegetables and Sriracha mayonnaise.
This sponsored recipe is brought by Kikkoman® as part of Food & Nutrition‘s Recipe Roundup program.
Recipe by Deborah Murphy, MS, RDN
- 14 ounces extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ cup Kikkoman® Less Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 radishes
- 3 tablespoons Kikkoman® Rice Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup fat free mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Kikkoman® Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
- ½ teaspoon lime zest
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
- ½ cucumber, cut into ribbons
- 1 avocado, mashed
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 20-inch baguette
Cut tofu into five 1-inch thick slabs. Add the water, soy sauce, ginger and garlic into an 8×8-inch baking dish. Arrange tofu in the marinade in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Pull from the refrigerator and flip each piece of tofu. Place back in the refrigerator for another 15 minutes.
Make the quick pickled radishes by adding the radish, vinegar, water and ground black pepper to a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Stir together mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, and lime zest. Set aside.
Heat canola oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Arrange tofu in a single layer in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes on one side or until lightly browned. Flip tofu and cook another 5 minutes on the second side until browned. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly. In a small bowl, mash avocado with a fork. Slice baguette into five 4-inch pieces.
To assemble sandwiches, spread 1 tablespoon sriracha mayo on each of the bottom slices of baguette. Spread 1 tablespoon mashed avocado on the bottom of each of the top slices of bread. Add tofu to the bottom slice of each sandwich and evenly divide cucumber ribbons, carrots, pickled vegetables, jalapeno slices, and cilantro leaves between each of the sandwiches. Top each with upper slice of bread spread with avocado. Serves 5.
Serving Size: 1 sandwich
CALORIES 362; TOTAL FAT 13g; SAT. FAT 2g; CHOL. 0mg; SODIUM 841mg; CARB. 48g; FIBER 6g; SUGARS 4g; PROTEIN 17g
Deborah Murphy, MS, RD, practices clinical dietetics in Chicago. She shares practical nutrition tips and healthy recipes on her personal blog, Dietitian Debbie Dishes. In her free time, you’ll likely find her either shopping the farmers market or in the kitchen, camera and spatula in hand. Connect with Deborah on Twitter and Instagram.
Is Vietnamese Food Really Healthy?
Vietnamese food is delicious and it is often cited as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. To make sure that this was true, we spoke to Antoine Yvon, the head nutritionist at CMI hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. You will finally know if all those banh mi sandwiches are good for you, if you should drink the broth of your pho or not, and the name of Vietnam’s only super fruit. The interview was translated from French.
The health benefit of a Vietnamese food diet
What is your general professional opinion about Vietnamese food? Is it as healthy as people think it is?
Vietnamese food is one of the most healthy and balanced in the world. As a professional, I have seen that dishes and ingredients used in Vietnamese cuisine can cover all the dietary needs on protein, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals because there is a great natural diversity of agricultural products. It is this diversity and variety that are the foundations of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
The way to eat food is also a very important factor that can influence the nutritional value of food. Eating with chopsticks, using multiple dishes, and sharing with people allows you to eat more slowly, to chew the food longer and in the end causes a better digestion and assimilation of nutrients, without overloading the digestive system.
Therefore, the social and cultural aspect of eating Vietnamese food is a reason why eating Vietnamese food is healthy.
The reputation of Vietnamese food as healthy is correct as long as we eat traditional dishes.
The economic growth has considerably changed the way Vietnamese people eat by bringing some Western habits and products. Modern Vietnamese eating habits are straying away from the ideals described above, with more and more processed products, enriched with artificial nutrients, artificial flavorings, rich “bad fat” (trans fat and saturated fat are not essential) and simple carbohydrates added to food, particularly all the dairy products which were unknown a few decades ago (pasteurized cheese, sweetened condensed milk, flavored yogurts) and all junk food (cakes, pastries, ice creams, sodas, fast food).
Even though Vietnam is one of the countries with the lowest rate of obesity in the world if we look at the overall population, some categories have results that are not so positive: children and teenagers. The number of Vietnamese children under five years old with weight problems has doubled in four years in Vietnam, while at the same time it has decreased by 25% in the U.S.
What Vietnamese food should be avoided? What are the healthiest options?
As long as you eat traditional food, there is not food that you should avoid. You must just make sure to avoid processed food as much as possible. It is also best to avoid deep fried food and those grilled on a barbecue.
The most healthy dishes are the soups (among which are pho), spring rolls, fruit and vegetable salads, claypot dishes, rice dishes with meat or fish cooked in sauce and fresh fruit juices.
What are the typical health problems developed by Vietnamese people from their eating habits?
The change of habits mentioned above are causing an increase in the number of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders (infarctus, diabetes, metabolic syndrome), obesity, cancers, particularly among children. Also, the increased consumption of alcohol among men increases the number of liver and digestive system cancers.
The healthiest fruits in Vietnam
Is there any Vietnamese superfood (a dish or a product with superior health benefits)?
Though not often eaten apart from during traditional festivities, the little know “gac” fruit (or red melon), often nicknamed the “fruit of paradise” is the fruit with the highest concentration of carotenoids in the world (a precursor to Vitamin A). The gac contains 75 times more lycopene (an antioxidant) than tomatoes. It can be considered a super fruit. Its taste is close from red melon and carrots. It is more and more popular in the U.S. or Europe as a eating supplement.
Gac is one of the healthiest fruits you can get in Vietnam. Image by Egor Kataev
What are the most recommended local fruits and vegetables (dragonfruit, sapoche, kumquat, etc)? You might know the expression, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” – what is the Southeast Asian equivalent of our trusted apple?
Even though there are a lot of vegetables in traditional vietnamese food, the average daily consumption is twice less than the recommendations from the World Health Organization. 40% of cancers in Vietnam are linked to food consumption (principally because of processed food, bad eating habits and bad eating hygiene). It is certain that if more fruits and vegetables were eaten, the situation could improve. Unfortunately, people are buying less fresh fruits and vegetables, because they are suspicious about the hygiene and sanitary conditions of them, and more canned products which are poorer in essential nutrients.
More important than the qualities of certain food, the most important is to eat enough and regularly the greatest variety of fruits and vegetables.
If we had to categorize them according to how rich they are in nutriments, we could differentiate:
– The richest ones in vitamins and antioxidants (lychee and rambutan, chinese celery, ceylon spinach, guava, papaya, kiwi, dragon fruit)
– The ones with the most sugar (to be careful with): lotus seeds, sweet potato, taro, banana, grapes, cherries, mango)
Vietnamese are among the largest consumers of durian fruit, known for its smell more than for its qualities. It is called the king fruit here. In Indonesia, it is considered an aphrodisiac. In Vietnam, it causes several deaths every year (the mix of alcohol and durian is toxic for the liver and excessive consumption can cause hypertension).
The link between what people eat and how healthy they are is not obvious yet for many Vietnamese, which causes a lack of interest for nutrition.
Dragon fruit is a tasty fruit packed full with vitamins and antioxidants!
Eating street food in Vietnam: Sauces, pho, banh mi, herbs…
Should we avoid Vietnamese sauces?
Sauces are a very important part of the Vietnamese food experience. A meal without sauces is like a meal without bread in France. You should not ban them.
Even the sauces that are very sweet or salty should not be banned totally. At reasonable doses, they represent only a fraction of the food intake compared to carbs like rice. Keep it simple and traditional!
Is pho healthy? Should the broth be drunk or left aside?
The pho, the most famous Vietnamese food, is certainly one of the most balanced dishes I know. Eaten all day long, it contains carbs, good proteins (beef or chicken), few fat, a lot of water, a lot of dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals (herbs and vegetables) and antioxidants (spices, chili, lemon). Who does not feel full after eating a Pho?
If you want to balance it even more, you can add a raw vegetable salad with vegetable oil for appetizers or a fruit salad for dessert. Add a few dry fruit too like nutmeg, peanuts, almonds.
The broth should be drunk because a lot of water-soluble vitamins and minerals are dissolved in the water during cooking. They are intact inside the broth (except for the B1 vitamin, B3 and C that are partially altered), a gold mine full of nutritive ingredients. The broth is as important as other ingredients of the pho. It is a source of water and thus hydrates and cools the body (just like nomads in the desert drink hot tea: a hot brew cools and hydrates the body better than cold water). The body reacts to hot liquids with several cooling processes (perspiration, transpiration, more efficient digestion, etc.).
Pho is a healthy and balanced Vietnamese dish. Image by James
Is banh mi healthy?
The banh mi is a sandwich that can be made in a multitude of ways depending on where you eat it.
More often, it contains a source of proteins (pork, chicken, ham), some vegetables (lettuce, carrots, green bean sprouts), bread and sometimes industrial soft cheese (The Laughing Cow brand).
The white bread used is not as filling as rice and noodles and is poor in good fat and fibers.
You should be careful in making sure the ingredients added are not processed food (pate, sausages, cheese) and that not too much sauce is added (particularly if it sugar, or fat).
You could replace the processed cheese with a yogurt (made of milk! It is not bad if the portion is reasonable and it can complement well a banh mi, nutritionally speaking).
Contrary to pho, the banh mi does not hydrate the body well. You can accompany it with a fresh drink while you eat such as a lime juice, coconut water or sugar cane juice.
Do the herbs added to the recipes have nutritional or health benefits (cilantro, mint, cinnamon herb, etc.)?
Aromatic herbs contain a lot of antioxidants and vitamins, whatever they are, often with a higher concentration than that found in most fruits and vegetables. It is because they smell good that they are so interesting because the aromatic molecules, the ones responsibles for the good smell, are also directly responsible for the medicinal properties of those herbs.
They have diuretic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Not only do they contain very little calories, they are an interesting source of fiber and contain phytosterols that could help, if taken in high dose, reduce the cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Very helpful to improve one’s cardiovascular health.
However, the overall daily intake is relatively small compared to other ingredients. Parsley contains three times more Vitamin C compared to oranges but you’ll need three bowls to cover the daily recommendations. Not very easy!
Still, if you consume herbs all day long at different meals, it will cover part of your nutritional needs.
I would recommend to consider them for what they are, aromatic plants. They can make your dishes more tasty and delicious. The healthy part is a bonus.
Cinnamon herb is an excellent diuretic and anti-inflammatory. Mint can help if you have nausea and it helps digesting, just like coriander.
Herbs add delicious flavour and comes with an added bonus of being good for you! Image Credit
Conclusion: Vietnamese recipes are healthy, but be careful with the ingredients
There is a Vietnamese paradox: even though Vietnamese food is naturally healthy, full of flavors and nutrients, the trend is towards artificially flavored, industrially processed and nutrient enriched food. Pay attention to where you eat and the ingredients used in the preparation of the dishes. A pho might be healthy somewhere because natural ingredients are used, while another one won’t be as nutritionous because it uses food enhancers.
*Credit: Antoine Yvon – Dietetician/Nutritionist at the CMI Ho Chi Minh City. You can contact him for an appointment (in French). His website: www.nutrytion.fr.
– Food database CIQUAL 2013
– SMILING 2013
– Food composition table for Vietnam, National Institute of Nutrition, Vietnam. 2013
– World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/publications/fr. 2014
– Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2014
– L’histoire de l’alimentation. Jean-Louis FLANDRIN, Edition Fayard. 1996