August is National Sandwich Month, and who doesn’t love a sandwich now and then. They’re a quick, easy meal that can be inexpensive and nutritious, depending on your ingredients.
I grew up in the days of white Wonder Bread, and a lot has changed since then. You can build a sandwich with a variety of breads such as whole wheat, rye, sourdough and cranberry wild rice. In addition there are wraps, flatbreads, pita pockets, croissants and a multitude of specialty breads and buns. You could even use a nice leaf of Romaine or Bibb lettuce. The choices are endless.
So how do you build a healthy sandwich?
Let’s start with your bread choice. It’s best to use a whole grain product. Why? Because whole grain products have more fiber, and fiber keeps you full longer.
To check if the product is a whole grain choice, refer to the ingredients label. The first ingredient should state whole wheat, whole rye or whole oats. Also check the nutrition facts label and choose a product with at least 2-3 grams of fiber per serving.
Now for the filling. There are just as many choices for fillings as bread options. I enjoy a tuna, egg salad or chicken salad sandwich every now and then. But I don’t use mayonnaise in my filling, I use low-fat plain yogurt.
If you’re unsure of using all yogurt, start with half low-fat plain yogurt and half mayo with olive oil and adjust from there. It makes a healthier sandwich and you can spice it up with fresh ingredients such as celery, onions or cucumbers. Fresh herbs can really give your sandwich pizzazz, too.
If you’re planning to make a sandwich with deli ham, turkey, roast beef or chicken, it gets a little tricky because all these options are typically high in sodium. One option is to buy a low-sodium meat, but be sure to check the nutrition fact label because varieties vary significantly.
Another option is to roast your meat, such as chicken or turkey, and slice thinly. This would be cost efficient also. Try to avoid bologna or salami as these choices are high in fat and sodium.
Be sure to add fresh vegetables or fruit to your sandwich. Try spinach, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, arugula, red or green peppers, onions or grated carrots. Fruits can be a delicious addition, too.
- As a general rule, the moister the filling, the drier and denser the bread should be.
- Pack high-moisture ingredients such as tomatoes or pickles separately and add when you’re ready to eat.
- Cover bread from edge to edge with your spread of choice to ensure a uniform flavor in every bite.
- Hummus makes a tasty spread and is a great substitute for mayo.
Celebrate National Sandwich Month by building a sandwich that is tasty and nutritious.
WAYS TO POWER UP IN AUGUST
- Monday, Aug. 19: PowerUp Action Team meeting 2-3 p.m. Anyone who is passionate about improving the health of our community is welcome. For more information, email Emma Schalow at email@example.com
- Wednesdays and Saturdays: Power of Produce, free produce for children age 3-12 at the Hutchinson Farmers Market, Depot Marketplace, 25 Adams St. S.E. Hours are 2:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.
- Tuesdays, Aug. 13, 27, and Sept. 10, 24: $2 Tuesdays offers reduced admission 4-7 p.m. at the Wheel & Cog Children's Museum of Hutchinson, Hutchinson Mall, 1060 State Highway 15 S.
- Thursday, Aug. 15: Free Swim Night 5-8 p.m. at the Hutchinson Aquatic Center, 900 Harrington St. S.W.
- Wednesdays through September: Hutchinson Community Running Group meets 7 p.m. at Library Square. Connect on Facebook for run updates.
- BikeHutch: Connect with the Hutchinson Biking Group on Facebook for local rides and trail conditions.
- Discover the Crow River: Experience the river via paddle sports rentals of canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards through Labor Day (Sept. 2) at Masonic/West River Park.
- Saturday, Sept. 14: Luce Line Lace-Up. Pick your distance: 1 mile, 5K, 10K or half marathon. Registration is open at lucelinelaceup.com.