How to Make a Healthy Sandwich

These low-calorie sandwich solutions help you enjoy your favorite lunch the healthy way, without sacrificing taste or satisfaction. We'll help you start a sandwich from scratch and give you recipes for making quick and easy sandwiches.

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    Sandwiches are one of the most popular midday choices of on-the-go Americans. They're quick, delicious, and, if properly portioned, an option for losing weight. But if you aren't careful, a few ingredients can add hundreds of extra calories and make up more than half your daily limit of artery-clogging saturated fat.

    So before you brown-bag it, make sure you know what hidden calories are lurking between those bread slices. If you make smart choices regarding the four basic elements of a sandwich (explained next!), you'll be building healthier sandwiches in no time.

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    How to Build a Better Sandwich

    Use our four-part formula to create an endless number of healthy, fulfilling, and delicious sandwiches.

    1. Whole grains: Start with a whole grain bread product, such as bread, a pita, an English muffin, or a tortilla. Tip: Look for the words "whole grain" near the top of the ingredients list, not just "whole wheat." Good choices have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Some breads are fortified with extra fiber and contain as many as 12 grams of fiber per serving, helping you achieve the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber a day.

    2. Lean protein: Good sandwich choices include chicken, turkey, ham, lean roast beef, tuna, hummus, and low-fat cheese. Tip: Check the sodium in prepackaged and even deli-fresh meats; most products run high. Cut the sodium by slicing meat you have roasted at home or by asking specifically for meats lower in sodium.

    3. Vegetables: Veggies add both nutrients and flavor. Tomatoes, fresh greens (the darker, the better), red onion, and peppers are all good choices.

    4. Optional toppings: Condiments don't need to be high in fat to be high in flavor. There are low-fat, healthful choices that will give your sandwich the something extra it needs, such as:

    -- Mustard

    -- Honey mustard

    -- Barbecue sauce

    -- Chipotle sauce

    -- Light dressing

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Turkey and Avocado Wrap

    Turkey and avocado complement each other perfectly in this heart-healthy wrap.

    Whole grain: La Tortilla Factory low-carb tortilla

    Lean protein: Four slices of Boar's Head Lower Sodium Skinless Turkey Breast

    Vegetables: Romaine lettuce

    Optional topping: 2 tablespoons of Wholly Guacamole Classic Guacamole or 1/4 sliced avocado

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Roasted Red Pepper and Hummus Sandwich

    This simple vegetarian sandwich is full of fresh flavors. To mix it up, try a flavored hummus in place of original.

    Whole grain: Two toasted slices of Healthy Choice Hearty 100% Whole Grain bread

    Lean protein: 1/4 cup Athenos Original Hummus

    Vegetables: Sliced cucumber, spinach, roasted red peppers

    Tip: If you prefer, use sliced tomatoes instead of red peppers.

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Ranch Chicken Pita Pocket

    This hearth-healthy pita is full of flavors that will make you forget that it's good for you.

    Whole grain: Use 2/3 of a Kangaroo 100% Whole Wheat Pita Pocket

    Lean protein: 2-3 ounces of Hormel breast of chicken in water, no salt added

    Vegetables: Purchased coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw; fresh spinach

    Optional topping: 2 tablespoons Hidden Valley Light Ranch Dressing

    Tip: Save the remaining third of your pita bread and top it with low-calorie hummus for an afternoon snack.

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Cajun Tuna Melt

    This sandwich offers a lighter -- and more flavorful -- take on tuna salad. Enjoy it hot or cold.

    Whole grain: 1 toasted Thomas' Wheat Light English Muffin

    Lean protein: 1 small can of Crown Prince Tongol tuna in spring water, no salt added

    Vegetables: Chopped red onion; 1 large tomato slice

    Optional toppings: 1 tablespoon of Hellmann's Fat-Free Mayonnaise; 1/2 slice Kraft Deli Fresh Pepper Jack Natural Slices

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Tuna and White Bean Panini

    The following sandwiches include full recipes. Most of the recipes serve 4 to 6; alter the recipe if you'd like to make a single sandwich.

    This warm panini satisfies on a cold day. The white kidney beans help you feel full by adding lean protein to your lunch.

    Whole grain: Whole wheat bread

    Lean protein: Tuna; white kidney beans; mozzarella

    Vegetables: Red onion; Tomato

    Optional topping: Light mayonnaise

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Chicken Salad Sandwich

    Makeover a traditionally high-fat sandwich by using our recipe, featuring light mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt to add zip.

    Whole grain: Whole wheat bread

    Lean protein: Chicken breast; hard-cooked egg

    Vegetables: lettuce

    Optional topping: Plain low-fat yogurt; Light mayonnaise

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Barbecue Tempeh Wraps

    Think barbecue flavor means a meat-heavy meal? Think again. This easy wrap is vegetarian, yet includes barbecue sauce and tangy green onion for kick.

    Whole grain: Whole wheat tortilla

    Lean protein: Soy tempeh

    Vegetables: Green onion; shredded cabbage with carrot

    Optional topping: Low-calorie barbecue sauce

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Asian Tuna Wraps

    This easy wrap has a tuna salad taste on a heart-healthy diet. The prep is a 15-minute commitment.

    Whole grain: Whole wheat tortilla

    Lean protein: Tuna

    Vegetables: Bok choy; red pepper; jicama

    Optional topping: Sesame-ginger salad dressing; light mayonnaise

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Chicken Pita Sandwiches

    Enjoy a low-sodium solution to lunch. This recipe uses leftover cooked chicken in place of processed lunchmeat to give you a filling meal on a low-sodium budget.

    Whole grain: Whole wheat pita bread

    Lean protein: Chicken breast; garbanzo beans

    Vegetables: Tomato; red onion; cucumber

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    Four ingredients, 10 minutes, and a craving for a childhood favorite meet in this tasty classic.

    Whole grain: Whole wheat bread

    Lean protein: Low-fat cheese

    Vegetable: Tomato

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Turkey and Black Bean Chimichangas

    A little bake time and simple ingredients come together in this warm-you-up twist on a Mexican favorite.

    Whole grain: Whole wheat tortilla

    Lean protein: Ground turkey breast; black beans

    Vegetable: Tomato

    Optional topping: Salsa

    Tip: Beans are an excellent source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure.

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Breakfast Tortilla Wrap

    For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this sandwich satisfies our formula with a savory combination of turkey bacon and egg substitute, plus whole wheat tortillas and zippy peppers.

    Whole grain: Whole wheat tortilla

    Lean protein: Turkey bacon; refrigerated egg product

    Vegetable: Green pepper

    Optional topping: Hot pepper sauce

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    Healthy, Satisfying Sandwich Solution: Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps

    Roll up Southwestern flavor in wraps stuffed with fresh ingredients and homemade salsa.

    Whole grain: Whole wheat tortilla

    Lean protein: Chicken breast strips; reduced-fat cheddar cheese

    Vegetables: Peppers

    Optional topping: Salsa; ranch salad dressing

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    Grab-and-Go Sandwich Option #1

    Most purchased sandwiches are high in sodium (because of the seasoned and processed deli meat). Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure and put you at higher risk for a heart attack. The following two widely available sandwiches meet Heart-Healthy Living's dietary guidelines:

    Subway's 6-inch Veggie Delight sandwich on wheat bread (no dressing or cheese)

    Calories: 230

    Sodium: 500 mg

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    Grab-and-Go Sandwich Option #2

    Quizno's Cantina Chicken Sammie (prepared with just veggies, no extras)

    Calories: 205

    Sodium: 445 mg

  • Next Slideshow Quick and Easy Healthy Dinner Recipes

    Quick and Easy Healthy Dinner Recipes

    Do you have 30 minutes? Then you have enough time to make a healthy dinner that's tasty, too! Take a peek at our foolproof and fast recipes for burgers, grilled chicken, seared salmon, and even lasagna, and you'll be convinced that a home-cooked meal is within reach even on the busiest weeknights. Start meal planning now!
    Begin Slideshow »
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