Sandwiches can range from healthy delights to dietary disasters depending on the fillings, toppings and breads that are chosen. Here’s a guide to help you offer your customers some more nutritious options:
Meat: The most popular sandwiches in Canada include protein-based fillings such as chicken, turkey, ham and meatballs, so ensure that you offer a range of healthy meats. Prepare meatballs with extra lean ground beef, and offer lean turkey, roast beef and chicken breast. Remember that breaded meats are not as healthy as roasted or grilled selections, and don’t tend to be as popular with customers (according to NPD data).
Look for new lower sodium options from Maple Leaf Sure Slice Deli Meat. The sodium content has been reduced in the Roast Beef, Turkey Breast and Black Forest Ham by 8%, 15% and 22% respectively. Plus, both Turkey Breast and Black Forest Ham are low in fat and trans fat free.
Cheese: Some sandwiches need a cheesy layer to attain perfection. Whether it is Cheddar, Gouda or Swiss, see if you can purchase a “light” version instead of the regular full-fat version. Light cheeses have about 25% less fat than their “regular” counterparts. Or, serve mozzarella or goat cheese, which are naturally lower in fat than other cheeses.
Breads: Customers are savvy. They are beginning to realize that multigrain bread is not the same as whole grain bread, and are looking for their high-fibre fix at lunchtime. Instead of a white-flour bread with a scattering of grains and seeds (the traditional “multigrain”), opt for a bread made from 100% whole grain flour such as rye, spelt or whole wheat. Try Dempster’s new Healthy Way Breads, which are a line of high fibre, whole grain breads that are also low in sodium. You can also select Dempster’s fibre-rich Ancient Grains bread, which is made from a blend of whole grains including quinoa, amaranth, spelt and kamut.
Wraps and tortillas are increasingly popular as sandwich bread, and they are also available in whole grain varieties.
Toppings: Lettuce and tomato are common sandwich staples, but there is a whole produce section to explore beyond these traditional options. Offer a selection of fresh cucumber, red peppers, avocado, spinach, shredded carrot and onion. Scale back on pickles, banana peppers and olives which add unnecessarily high amounts of sodium to the lunchtime meal. Consider fruit too! Sliced peaches are lovely with tuna fish, while apples make a perfect ham-sandwich accompaniment.
Condiments: It’s common to add an oil-based vinaigrette to deli sandwiches such as submarines, but go easy on the pour. Even though oil is filled with a healthy type of unsaturated fat, the calories still add up quickly. Just one tablespoon adds about 110 extra calories to the sandwich. Mayonnaise clocks in at 100 calories per tablespoon, but like oil, it’s mostly the “good” type of fat. Use it sparingly.
Mustard is a low calorie option, but could add too much sodium if used in excess. For a change, experiment with flavour-packed, herb-based sauces such as pesto, where a little (maybe 1 tsp) goes a long way. Another unique condiment is fruit-based chutney, which has the added benefit of antioxidants from the fruit.
By making smart choices and offering healthy options, it’ll be easy for your customers to build a sandwich that’s filled with fibre and protein, but is lower in fat and sodium.