4 Ways to Cut Calories in Your Sandwich
Who doesn’t love a good sandwich? They’re easy to make, convenient to bring along and eat on the run, and the possibilities of ingredients they can include are virtually endless. Unfortunately, if you’re watching your calories, sandwiches can easily dampen your otherwise good intentions. Something as simple as the condiments and add-ons you choose can turn an otherwise reasonable meal into a diet nightmare. The good news is there are some easy (and delicious) swaps you can try that will allow you to enjoy the sandwich you’re craving without derailing your diet.
It’s All About the Bread
That thick hoagie roll may look mouthwatering, but it’s also loaded with carbohydrates, which most of us watching our waists are trying our best to stay away from. Thankfully there are plenty of delicious alternatives to choose from, including whole-wheat bread, pita pockets and wraps. Look for options that are low in carbs and high in fiber, as these will help satiate your hunger and keep cravings at bay. If you’re feeling really adventurous (or are trying to cut carbs out completely) try using a lettuce wrap instead of bread. It’s tastier than you might think!
Choose Lean Proteins
You don’t have to sacrifice taste just because you’re trying to make a healthier sandwich. Once you’ve chosen your calorie-friendly bread option, avoid fatty cuts of meat in favor of lean proteins, like boneless, skinless chicken breast or lean roast beef. Stay away from processed lunch meats, which are typically high in sodium and full of preservatives. Vegetarians can choose items like sliced boiled eggs, part-skim cheese or black bean burger patties. All of these are lower in calories, sodium and carbs but higher in valuable protein.
Load Up on Veggies
If you’re watching your waistline, boosting your fiber intake is also important. Opting for the standard lettuce and tomato as a sandwich topping may taste good, but it won’t do much for your fiber quota. Opt instead for low-cal, high-taste veggies that also contain a bunch of beneficial vitamins and minerals, like spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers and onions. The more you add, the fuller your sandwich will make you feel, so load ‘em up! In a rush? Keep pre-cut veggies handy in your fridge, or use leftover side dishes, like salad or stir-fried vegetables as quick, delicious sandwich fillers.
Be Smart with Spreads
One of the biggest culprits of high calorie sandwiches is the condiment you use. For instance, even a small amount of full-fat mayo can bring your otherwise healthy meal into a higher calorie bracket. The good news is you don’t have to skip spreads altogether. You just have to be mindful about what you use. In particular, you should avoid anything that is high in sodium or sugar. That includes ketchup and barbeque sauce. Instead, choose condiments that are minimally processed and naturally lower in fat, salt and sugar, such as guacamole or homemade hummus.
Sandwiches are a classic option for lunch or even dinner, but if you’re not careful about how they’re made, they can easily knock you off the low-calorie wagon. The four simple swaps above, including ingredients that you can make yourself using a variety of our convenient vegetable products, will allow you to have your cake (or sandwich, in this case) and eat it too. Enjoy!