Thursday, May 27, 2010
That's me with a deconstructed sandwich of sorts in Montreal. Fab Fixings at La Buvette Chez Simone.
“Let’s grab a sandwich” is a popular lunch time rally and was reputedly made possible by the necessity of invention at a card game in 1762. That’s when the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, catapulted bread into a new culinary category because he was too busy gambling to stop for a meal. According to legend, he asked for roast beef between two slices of bread so that he could hold the snack in one hand and continue playing cards with the other. The Earl may be happy to know, that after a few low carb diet crazed years- bread is back. According to a survey by the Grain Foods Foundation, nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults say they eat sandwiches at least once a week. From traditional ham and Swiss on rye to veggie subs to trendy paninis hot from the grill -here some sandwich savvy tips on building the best bites between bread.
Bread as Your BaseThink of a sandwich as an opportunity to customize your meal to meet taste and nutrition needs. The bread is the blank canvas. The healthiest canvas is whole grain bread because it’s higher in fiber and other nutrients found in the exterior bran portion of a grain. But, registered dietitian Sharon Palmer of Environmental Nutrition (environmentalnutrition.com) warns that labels can be deceiving and cautions against breads sold with phrases like “made with whole grains” or “multi-grain”. Make sure that whole grain is the first ingredient listed to avoid products that add a pinch of whole grain flour to try to jump on the healthy bread bandwagon. Choose breads with at least 2 grams of fiber per slice.
Like croissants? No wonder. Croissants are made with the equivalent of five pats of butter, so know you’re getting into high fat bread territory and avoid adding any extra butter or mayo to your sandwich. Focaccia bread, can be a higher fat choice too because it’s baked with olive oil and often more is drizzled on top after baking. Forgetting the bread and making lettuce wraps “sandwiches” is pretty popular today, too. Just note that wrapping fried chicken strips or teriyaki sauced shrimp in lettuce leaves can still wrack up a lot of calories because of the filling.
Giant deli sandwiches piled high with meat and cheese can land you a lunch with your calorie total for the day. Choose no more than 3 ounces of lean meats such as ham, turkey, roast beef, or grilled chicken. Higher fat meats such as pastrami and salami contain twice the calories. If you want a chicken salad or tuna salad sandwich, just don’t add any extra mayonnaise, it’s already in the mix. A slice of cheese will add about 100 calories; so be aware of that before you pile on multiple slices.
Work in as many vegetables as possible. In classic sandwich shop speak, “Run it through the garden!” Ask for a double the usual lettuce and tomato garnish and if other veggies are available such as cucumber slices or fresh spinach- go for it. Note that ¼ of an avocado is a tasty splurge at 80 calories but is a good source of healthy mono unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin C and lutein ( good for your eyes).
Be Slather Savvy
Go easy on the mayo because it’s 100 calories per tablespoon. Light mayonnaise cuts that in half. If you’re ordering a panini, ask them not to spritz on extra oil before it hits the grill. At sub shops, note that the oil and vinegar mix can set you back 70 calories per tablespoon. So, ask for a little oil squirted on and then more of the vinegar to wet down your sub.
Mustard, with a mere 5 calories a teaspoon, is a flavor bargain. A 6” turkey and cheese sub dressed with mayo and oil is 500 calories. The same sub with mustard is 300 calories.
Sandwich side kicksSkip the chips or share with a little bag with a friend. Baked chips will have less fat and calories – but still add about 100 calories to your meal. Better yet, go for a fresh crunch with a side salad or fresh fruit option to boost nutrition and build a better lunch.
Posted by Carolyn O'Neil at 9:17 AM