Bring a sandwich to work day!

Brown bagging your lunches  can offer a bonanza of  savings – both calories and potentially big bucks over time. But more importantly, think of it as an opportunity to boost your nutritional status. When you pack your own eats, you’re in the driver’s seat – nutrient-packed veggies, whole grains and lean proteins are then easier  to come by.

What better time to start than today: International Sandwich Day.

Buy your sandwich and you could be looking at portion distortion in terms of  bread slices so thick,  you might have trouble taking a bite. Put that together either meagre or overstuffed fillings and the nutritional rating is less than ideal.

Making your own need not be time consuming nor complicated in order to be very tasty. But it may take a little planning.  For instance, if you make roast chicken or some chicken breasts for one dinner, don’t take a chance that there will be leftovers. Instead cook double so that the additional  amount can be used for lunch the next day. The same goes for fish or meat.  Keep your favourite whole grain  rolls or breads in the freezer.

The garnishes, though, can take a boring  sandwich and up the taste factor.  Mix together Dijon mustard and mango chutney and even lower-fat cheese on multi-grain is no longer a plain Jane.  Add some spring mix lettuces and you’re set.

And here is where you can help to meet your vegetable and fruit quota.  Never eat a bare sandwich when vegetables and fruit garnishes not only boost flavour and variety but also nutritional ratings.

Here are a few idea to get you started:

•    A fish sandwich can be a  different taste treat each day of the week. Add chopped apple and onion to your tuna one day and cucumber   slices and fresh dill to a salmon sandwich the next.

•    Garnish a turkey or chicken sandwich with sliced mango and arugula for a peppery, sweet combo.  Or top off a leftover grilled chicken breast on a whole grain crusty bun with roasted peppers.

•    Grill extra vegetables at dinner and enjoy them in a lower-fat cheese and veggie wrap at lunch.

•    Don’t forget the old sandwich standby garnish of  tomato  slices and   a dark leafy lettuce.

A word of caution that I am repeating yet again: steer clear of raw sprouts.  While they may certainly add crunch and nutrition to your sandwiches, sprouts continue to be a potential source of foodborne illnesses.

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Do you have any favourite sandwich ideas? Please share in the comment section below.

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Categories: Tips and Tricks

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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