Last week, I shocked a female athlete when I suggested she pack a sandwich for dinner. Yes, a sandwich– complete with whole wheat bread, salty ham, full-fat cheese, vegetables and even light mayonnaise.
Like many of you, the client that I’m referring to is busy. She has a part-time job in the evenings and packs her dinner as a way to choose healthier options. (Hooray to packing healthy meals!) Like many clients that I see these days, she thought that sandwiches were off limits. Her questions –
- Isn’t bread bad for you?
- Doesn’t lunch meat have too much sodium and additives?
- Doesn’t dairy cause acne?
We spent much of the appointment discussing food myths, nutrition misinformation and some truth, too. Sure, sandwich meat is high in sodium – but that doesn’t mean they are off limits. It’s the amount of a food that you eat that makes the difference. And, bread bad? I’m certainly not recommending you eat the entire loaf in one sitting. I’m suggesting a sandwich- two slices. Maybe a triple-decker for my growing male athletes playing high-energy sports. Today’s stores are filled with different varieties of bread– find one that fits your needs, and stuff it with lean protein and veggies. The result is a balanced meal.
The discussion on sandwiches started from a conversation about the importance of eating more variety. As a busy on-the-go athlete, she was running into problems finding new food ideas to pack for work. Leftovers are always an option; Greek yogurt and fruit is great too. But as we reviewed her list of meals, one very easy option was missing – sandwiches! She left the appointment excited to try something new.
Fast-forward a week. Yesterday, this young athlete returned for her follow-up. She was excited to share that she packed and ate sandwiches- both ham and turkey- four of her work days. She was thrilled with how easy they were to make and eat during her break, but most importantly, she was well-fueled, energized and confident about her newest menu selection.
Even after my previous post on sandwiches and sharing how they can be a vehicle for lots of vegetables, consumers are finding it hard to accept that whole-grains deserve a place on your plate. Not too many, not to little, but just enough for you. And remember – you are not your neighbor.
I get blown away by how complicated people make nutrition. A sandwich – made right – is a well-balanced meal. Whole-grains provide fiber and B-vitamins; lean meats provide protein, zinc & iron; cheese provides protein and calcium; And, adding vegetables makes the vitamin/mineral and phytonutrient content limitless. This roast beef and provolone on pumpernickel stuffed with slaw is a great example.
That’s why I’m going back to the basics with this simple sandwich post. I’m not suggesting you eat it every day, or even every week. But when you’re tight on time, or you simply want a sandwich, have one. It’s ok.
Now it’s your turn – share your favorite sandwich with me. Leave a comment below, or share a picture on social and tag me- @HeatherMangieri or #HeatherMangieriNutrition
- 2 slice whole wheat bread
- 2 ounces baked ham
- 1-ounce Swiss cheese
- 3 slices tomato
- 2 pieces leaf lettuce
- 2 slices red onion
- 1 Tbsp. lite mayonnaise
- Layer all ingredients between the two slices of whole wheat bread. Cut down the center. Eat immediately or place in a sandwich bag to take with you.
Recipe Makes: 1 sandwich
Pairing Recommendation: Eat with a side of strawberries
Nutrition Facts (per sandwich): 390 Calories, 35 Carbohydrates, 2 g Fiber, 26 g Protein, 18 g Total Fat, 7 g Saturated Fat, 1,130 Sodium, 15% daily iron, 30% daily calcium, 6% daily potassium.
Nutrition CheckUp Meal Planning Serving: = 2.5 CHO; 3.5 PRO; 3.5 FAT