Build a Better Sandwich

Couple making a sandwich

August is National Sandwich Month, but sandwiches are a popular meal option all year long. So whether you’re looking for fresh ideas for school lunches or your own brown bag, here are 10 healthy sandwich ideas to reduce fat, boost vitamins and minerals, or just make a sandwich more healthful—but still delicious.

  1. Spread pumpernickel with apple butter and grainy Dijon or German-style mustard. Layer with thin slices of leftover pork tenderloin.
  2. Spread sourdough or toasted ciabatta with Sun-Dried Tomato “Aioli”. Layer with strips of grilled chicken and avocado slices.
  3. Add nutrients to a BLT: Bake the bacon on a rack so the fat drains completely away, then layer with tomatoes and spinach or arugula on whole-grain bread. Try yellow or heirloom tomatoes when they’re in season (and easy to find at greenmarkets and produce stands).
  4. Looking to cut the fat content in a sandwich with cheese? Use an aged, smoked, or sharp version of your favorite. Sharp provolone, extra-sharp cheddar, or smoked mozzarella or Gouda impart more flavor than milder cheeses do, allowing you to use less.
  5. For a flavorful tuna salad, Pass on canned water-packed albacore and pick up a can or jar of the stuff packed in olive oil. Drain the fat, then stir in a handful of pitted Kalamata olives, halved cherry or grape tomatoes, and, for some kick, a few capers. Serve on rosemary flatbread for a sandwich Niçoise.
  6. Add some zip to egg salad: Use plain yogurt in lieu of mayo (even if you use whole-milk yogurt, you’ll cut the fat content significantly) for a little tang, then stir in some anchovy paste before stuffing into a mini whole-wheat pita.
  7. For a much-lower-cholesterol version of egg salad: cut firm tofu into small pieces, then mix with mayo (use tofunaise or cholesterol-free mayo if you like), mustard, and your favorite seasonings.
  8. Skip jams and preserves made with high-fructose corn syrup in your next PB&J and stay with fresh fruit: Brush apple or banana slices with a mixture of lemon juice and water (to prevent browning) before layering with peanut butter. (Try almond butter, too.)
  9. Toss cubed leftover chicken (remove skin first) with halved grapes or golden raisins, a little curry powder, and mayo or plain yogurt. Spoon onto a lettuce leaf (choose large ones, such as green or red leaf or iceberg) and roll up.
  10. Low-carb it by smearing cold cuts or thinly sliced deli cheese with condiments, then wrapping around raw or steamed vegetables. Combinations we like:
  • Roast beef, horseradish sauce, and steamed green beans
  • Honey-baked ham, Dijon or honey mustard, and steamed asparagus
  • Provolone, roasted red peppers, and zucchini spears
  • Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and red bell pepper strips