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Health and Fitness News

Sandwich Sabotage

Inside the best and worst sandwiches for your diet.

Typically a lunch food but often eaten for breakfast or dinner, sandwiches can either help or harm your diet. Made with two slices of bread and your choice of filling, sandwiches are a simple, go-to meal for many people.

They’re filling, easy to prepare, great for a packed-lunch, and adaptable to a variety of different palates. Unfortunately, as with any other food, you’ve got to be picky about what type of sandwiches you choose.

Made with the right ingredients, sandwiches can be an acceptable part of a healthy diet. Go overboard with high-calorie, high-sodium, or high-fat ingredients, and they can quickly sabotage your weight-loss efforts. Whether you’re in the mood for egg salad, peanut butter and jelly, or mozzarella meatball, here is a list of healthy and not-so-healthy sandwich ingredients.

The Best

For sandwiches to be a healthy, diet-friendly meal, they’ve got to be prepared with the right ingredients.

When building a healthy sandwich, remember that the more fresh vegetables and/or fruits you can pile on, the better off you’ll be. Tomato slices, lettuce, cucumber slices, avocado, onion, and even thinly sliced bananas, pears, or apples make yummy sandwich additions.

Since sandwiches are usually the main dish of a meal, you need a source of protein to fill you up and provide lasting energy. Lean protein options include sliced turkey, chicken, or fish; nut spreads; or canned tuna or salmon.

The type of bread you choose also makes a big difference in the health of your sandwich. Skip the white bread and plan to only use breads made from whole grains. Filled with fiber for satiety and complex carbs for energy, whole-grain bread can be part of a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation. Sprouted grain, whole-wheat, oat, and rye are considered some of the healthiest bread options.

And as you know, a sandwich just doesn’t taste as good without some sort of spread. The wrong condiments, however, can quickly multiply calories. Go with olive oil and vinegar, pesto, mustard, hummus, low-fat mayonnaise, guacamole, or avocado slices for the safest options.

The Worst

If you can’t resist a sandwich made with unhealthy ingredients, you should avoid sandwiches altogether or only eat them occasionally if you’re trying to lose weight or eat healthy. What ingredients should you avoid?
Cheese adds flavor, but it also adds a lot of calories. When you’re craving cheese on your sandwich, choose a low-fat type such as Swiss. Don’t even think about imitation or processed cheese products. They’re made with preservatives, sugar, and corn syrup, and they’re high in sodium.

A favorite sandwich filling, deli meats are actually not healthy for you. Loaded with calories, sodium, fat, additives, and preservatives, cold cuts are highly processed and should be eaten sparingly. So say goodbye to your salami, pepperoni, ham, pastrami, and bacon. In addition to adding to your waistline, processed meats have been proven to increase your risk of heart disease and cancer.

You may have been raised on white bread, but it’s time to make the switch to whole-grain. Made with refined, processed, white flour, white bread provides little nutritional value and little to no fiber. Regularly eat white bread and you’re more likely to be overweight.

Lastly, for a healthy, low-calorie sandwich, you have to avoid certain spreads. Mayonnaise is the worst, piling on 180 calories in just two tablespoons. Salad dressing has half the calories of mayonnaise, but it contains no nutritional value. Ranch dressing is another no-no. One tablespoon contains 73 calories.
So make a sandwich, but make it with an eye to your good health. Your body will thank you.

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