Americans love sandwiches. On any given day, most of us consume a sandwich for lunch. A new study conducted, however, states that this meal may, in fact, be hurting our diet.
A study brought forth by the Journal of Public Health have discovered that on the days a sandwich is consumed, more calories of fat, sugar & salt are consumed by individuals.
Dietary intake data were analyzed by researchers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign of over 27,000 US adults from a bulky federal national survey. It was found that daily, nearly a quarter of total calorie intake together with a third of total fat consisting of saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol was contributed by consumption of sandwiches.
On the day’s individuals did consume sandwiches, an additional 100 calories were ingested compared to days where consuming a sandwich was skipped. In addition to the aforementioned, it was also evident that individuals also consumed an additional 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of sugar and 268 grams of sodium as opposed to days when a sandwich was not consumed.
This was a result of the sandwiches consumed being categorized unhealthy. It was also reported by the research that the most sought-after sandwiches were prepared with cold cut, chicken & burgers.
The researchers also concluded that on days people consumed sandwiches, they ate slightly fewer fruits and vegetables as opposed to days consuming a sandwich was skipped.
As nutritionists, we do acknowledge the fact that people love sandwiches. Especially during lunch time, sandwiches are an easy go-to meal. Believe us when we say that a sandwich can be a very healthy lunch if attention to what goes inside is heeded to.
The following are a list of easy tips to pave the way for a better sandwich.
1. Drop the bun.
Though one can still consume bread, you may want to avoid the white bun and all refined products of white bread. Instead, settle for whole grain bread either oat, whole wheat or rye bread. Another great choice would be a whole grain pita or wrap. While choices are plenty, gluten-free whole grain bread made with brown rice flour, buckwheat flour or whole grain amaranth also are great ingredients to include.
2. Choose a healthy filler.
You could choose a lean protein such as grilled chicken, fish or turkey breast as a protein choice. If you still crave a burger, switch the hamburger for a veggie burger, a vegetarian sandwich comprised of tempeh, tofu, white beans or hummus. Go easy on cold cuts and avoid adding cheese atop your meat to avoid the additional sodium and fat.
3. Size matters.
Portion size does matter. A sandwich which isn’t fattening is simply a half sandwich. Aim for 3-4 ounces of protein the size of a deck of cards or your palms. While its ok to go a little overboard, you need to make note that most deli’s serve sandwiches with a pound of meat, which comprises of enough protein for 4 individuals.
If portioned correctly, a mid-day sandwich could indeed pave way for a weight loss option too.
4. Pile on the veggies.
Adding vegetables such as tomato, shredded carrot, lettuce & peppers onto your sandwich ads flavor, nutrients and color together with a flare of crunch and volume without adding too many calories.
5. Order the topping on the side.
A little goes a long way when it comes to toppings. Ketchup and mustard are high in sodium whereas cheese sauces, mayonnaise, and creamy salad dressings are high in fat and should be ordered on the side. An all-time favorite topping could be a thinly sliced avocado which contributes to healthy fat, moisture and flavor to your preferred sandwich.