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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Grab-and-Go Sandwich Option #2

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

Calories: 205

Sodium: 445 mg

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