Healthy sandwich ideas?
October 1, 2010 12:53 PM   Subscribe

If someone had to eat the same sandwich for lunch every single day, what is the healthiest possible sandwich they could make?

Okay, I don't "have to" eat sandwiches, I just really like them and eat them for lunch most days and would rather not give that up. So I'm looking to cram as much health as possible into my sandwiches.

I don't just mean "healthier than the average ham and cheese sandwich" - I mean so healthy that you could pretty much eat it every day and get a good portion of your daily nutrients, food pyramid servings, not worry about getting fat, and still look forward to lunch because it's not gross (or at least keep eating it until you get tired of it).

Trying to stay away from things like typical lunch meat, sodium and carbs/sugars (obviously whole wheat bread will be used, unless you could suggest another type of bread/wrap). Trying to move more toward mixing fruits and vegetables, and incorporating ingredients and condiments and spreads that one wouldn't normally think about putting on a sandwich. They can be vegetarian or have meat on it, as long as it's good for you.

Thanks all!
posted by windbox to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
 
Response by poster: I should add - wraps/burritos are also welcome.
posted by windbox at 12:54 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Avocado and Sardine will make you immortal.
posted by caek at 12:59 PM on October 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


Hummus wraps tend to be filling in a good way, especially with salad and darker greens, tomato, grated carrot, sprouts, etc.

If you're going with cold cuts -- and there's no harm in charcuterie if you go a bit more upmarket than Oscar Meyer -- then look in an Eastern European market for ajvar, which is a pepper and aubergine/eggplant relish.
posted by holgate at 1:02 PM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, a truly healthy diet demands variety - lots of different fruits and veggies, different spices, etc. But assuming you vary breakfast/lunch, how about:

Ezekiel sprouted wheat bread (it's alive!)
Sprouts (also alive!)
Spinach
Cranberries
Tomato
Avocado
Roasted red pepper
A little flax oil
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:07 PM on October 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


As long as this sandwich is something you eat in addition to eating veggies and greens at other meals,

try
Mustard (plain, not honey),
Multigrain bread 2 slices
Deli Turkey meat (i used the shaved slices).
posted by iNfo.Pump at 1:31 PM on October 1, 2010


Get a whole grain wrap, put some hummus or beans on it, and add five vegetables of different colors (e.g. carrots, spinach, yellow peppers, tomatos, red cabbage). Add fat using olive oil or avocado. Avocado also gets along very well with turkey and red onions.

Take an occasional break for brie and sliced green apples on a whole wheat baguette.
posted by DoktorFaustus at 1:34 PM on October 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I love the sandwich suggested by Lutoslawski. Except I would throw on a healthy slice of red onion and some mustard. Zowie! I think I'm going to have to go make one right now. See ya.
posted by charlesminus at 1:42 PM on October 1, 2010


Natural unsalted peanut butter on whole wheat. Low sodium , protein , carbs, healthy oils, fibre, low chance of spoilage & food borne illness, easy to make. Have an organic apple on the side.
posted by canoehead at 1:58 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


One sandwich I designed for this purpose included the following:
Grain: whole wheat bread
Vegetables: spinach in the sandwich and carrots on the side - these are two of the healthiest vegetables and they have complimentary nutrients.
Fruit: Tomatoes in the sandwich and another type of fruit on the side. Bananas are an easy year-round option.
Dairy: cheese in the sandwich, milk for the drink, and yogurt on the side.
Protein: hummus or turkey or both (turkey is healthier than ham).
Then add plenty of honey mustard for taste!
posted by catquas at 2:13 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry, for the dairy I meant cheese in the sandwich, milk for the drink, OR yogurt on the side. Also you probably wouldn't have to have both tomatoes and another fruit every day.
posted by catquas at 2:15 PM on October 1, 2010


The healthiest possible sandwich should vary with the seasons. Assuming you live in Virginia (based on a past AskMe question), here are some potential sandwich contents, by season.

Another way to approach this could be to sign up for your local CSA box, and use the contents on your sandwiches. This is also a great way to get vegetables you wouldn't normally consider using.
posted by aniola at 3:12 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think this is just spelling out what other people have been moving towards, but you don't have to have the same sandwich every day to be as healthy as possible, you need to balance out your lunch with whatever else is in your diet; change the sandwich and other meals at the same time to keep some balance of nutrients.
posted by biffa at 4:44 PM on October 1, 2010


Whatever you choose, stay away from the demon tortilla. Yes, they are potentially sublime, and no burrito could exist without one. But they are also loaded with calories. Way above and beyond crappy white bread. (Which makes me sad.)
posted by contessa at 5:07 PM on October 1, 2010


Processed or smoked meat is high in salt and nitrates, which aren't that great for you, so consider staying away from deli meats (sliced turkey loaf, ham, etc).
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:35 PM on October 1, 2010


Rice and beans on corn tortillas. Proper, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixtamalized) corn tortillas, with maybe some cheese and hot peppers.

perfect protein with the beans and corn, extra goodness with the rice, yummers from the cheese and peppers.

'wraps' are a sorry pale wheaty excuse for good thick corn tortillas.
posted by KenManiac at 8:02 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Homemade multigrain whole wheat bread, chicken breast (cook the chicken yourself, don't use deli meats), whatever green leafy plant is cheapest that week (spinach, lettuce, sprouts, whatever), and spread the bread with avocado instead of butter. You get protein, good fats, and slow carbs all in one easy tasty meal. Plus vitamins.

Fruits are unnecessary. They are basically vegetables with extra sugar :) But if you like, you can add some cranberry jelly to the sandwich, which adds flavour and vitamin C.
posted by lollusc at 8:39 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


vegemite and cheese.
posted by micklaw at 5:19 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


My go-to is organic turkey slices (but you can do hummus, egg or cheese instead if you don't want deli meat), avocado, any in-season veggies I can find (tomato, greens, cucumber, sprouts, whatever), honey mustard with nothing too much added i.e. not full of sugar and calories OR balsamic vinegar, all on a couple slices of well toasted whole grain bread or a toasted tortilla. Contessa above isn't really correct--there are some delicious, filling tortillas that will actually be lower in carbs, calories, and fat, than 2 slices of bread and have fewer ingredients. Check out brown rice tortillas from Ezekiel and Trader Joe's. They're both sublime. The above should have your protein, your heart healthy fats, your whole grain starches. If I want to go heavy on hummus, I might have it open-faced because hummus is starchy. In a similar vein, if I am having egg or cheese, I'll go lighter on the avocado because I'm getting the fats already.

Oh, and ya gotta have a pickle on the side. Preferably locally pickled.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 11:56 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I encourage you to experiment with using a whole sheet of seaweed (available in the Japanese/International aisle at your grocery) as a crazy healthy replacement for wraps in burritos. Watch out, though, they do tend to get pretty soggy if they sit for a long time. So they're best fresh and with relatively dry ingredients. But I love 'em.
posted by carlh at 5:46 PM on October 3, 2010


A lot of "healthiest thing ever" is *variety*. Swap your sandwiches everyday, and you'll be eating healthier than most.

Hummus with cucumbers and a curry seasoning (rogan josh) is usually delicious.
Tuna fish was covered last week.
Peanut butter and jelly is actually pretty damn good; go easy on the jelly, or get something not HFCS.
Grilled chicken is hard to go wrong with, and BBQ sauce is the champion of condiments.
posted by talldean at 6:52 PM on October 3, 2010


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