12 easy ways to make your favorite sandwiches healthier for National Sandwich Day.
Happy National Sandwich Day!! In honor of the 293rd birthday of the Earl of Sandwich (who had his lunch meat served on bread so he could eat quickly and get back to gambling) I’m sharing my passion for panini with you.
Check out my top healthy sandwich tips:
1. I’d tell you to choose whole grain bread but you already know that!
2. At 100 calories a piece English muffins are a favorite sandwich surface—and not just for breakfast sandwiches. The nooks and crannies give English muffins nice texture and substance. Try eating a hamburger on one, this is a trick I learned from mom and it is good!
3. Serve your sandwich open-faced to save around 100 calories. I particularly love doing this with sandwiches topped with cheese and popped under the broiler or in the toaster oven.
4. My dad turned me on to sandwich thins (Arnolds make a few varieties). At just 100 calories for the top and bottom bread you can be a little more liberal with your fillings.
5. Serve a slider instead. Having one or two mini sliders with a soup or salad satisfies the sandwich craving without going overboard.
6. Wraps….now that’s a gray area. They have the reputation for being healthy but often pack way more fat and calories than two slices of bread. Read labels when buying your own, there are many, like La Tortilla Factory handmade style tortillas that clock in around 100 calories. I don’t advise ordering a wrap to-go. Just look at the size of those things!
7. I’m a cheese fiend so if I’m going to go for it I’ll have something flavorful, high-quality, and thinly sliced. Then I’ll go light on other ingredients so the cheese will be the star.
8. If I want a grilled cheese or other panini-style sandwich I’ll grill it on my George Foreman instead of in the skillet so I don’t have to use butter. Just be sure to prop up the front of the grill so your cheese doesn’t run out!
9. You may be surprised, but a hard roll or hamburger bun can actually be a good choice. Not too large and filled with air they’re usually between 90 and 120 calories and just a few grams of fat. These are perfect when you want something with that comforting, carby taste and feel.
10. I never eat mayo (luckily I don’t like it!) but if I want something creamy on my sandwich I’ll opt for mustard, avocado, hummus, or I’ll make my own yogurt aioli.
11. Add lots of veggies. This might be another no-duh but try unexpected veggies, not just lettuce and tomato. One time I had a panini with grilled chicken and grilled butternut squash at Chelsea Market (home of the Food Network). It was moist and flavorful and now I’m obsessed with doing this at home.
As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.