Although we don’t know exactly why August became National Sandwich Month, the “invention” of the sandwich is pretty well agreed upon by historians. John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, had a fondness for gambling. He was known to be so enthralled in his gaming that he rejected a dinner break in favor of 2 pieces of bread with meat stuffed in the middle. This happened in 1762, and the sandwich was born – a convenient source of sustenance then, and so it remains to this day.
For better or worse, a sandwich can be eaten with one hand while driving with the other (I strongly do not recommend doing this, however). A sandwich can easily be carried to school by a second grader or packed in a lunch box by a construction worker. But a sandwich is not merely a utilitarian way to consume nutrients. A sandwich, if assembled properly, can be chock-full of health-promoting ingredients: a wonderful blend of whole grains and lean protein with some healthy fat and immunity boosting vegetables. Here’s how to build a sandwich that can be tasty and healthy and not boring at all!
- Pick a whole grain bread: a soft whole wheat, crusty artisan multigrain, whole grain pita or wrap, whole grain rye or pumpernickel, whole wheat toasted English Muffin, or whole wheat bun.
- Look for the word “whole” to describe the type of flour, usually wheat, but often oats, barley, rye, buckwheat, amaranth and triticale can be included.
- Sliced grilled chicken or roasted lean pork tenderloin, strips of steak or thin cuts of roast beef, flaked tuna, or mashed hard boiled eggs are all great choices to be spread on bread (but maybe not together).
- Have leftover turkey meatloaf or turkey meatballs? Great and tasty choices.
- And don’t forget that peanut butter, almond butter, or hummus can work as vegetarian or vegan options of protein.
- Here’s where the kale comes in…or arugula or romaine, or any dark leafy green, like spinach, which are all rich in anti-oxidants and folate.
- Slice a tomato or cucumber or layer roasted red peppers.
- Have some leftover asparagus or green beans from last night’s dinner? A few spears can fit in nicely.
- Grated carrots and sliced zucchini will provide some color and crunch.
- If you are working on a nut butter sandwich, plot out a few blueberries, sliced bananas or apples.
Burst of Flavor
Especially during the summer, try some fresh basil leaves torn into small pieces, or some fresh flat-leaf parsley or dill for a zip on the taste buds.
Heart Healthy Fats
- Think about a few wedges of avocado, perhaps a blend of mayo and Sriracha, that very popular hot and spicy condiment.
- Worried about the calories of mayo? Use just a smear, or mix it with a little plain yogurt. Combining mayo with a grainy mustard can work as well.
A note on food safety: whether you are taking a road trip to the mountains or the seashore or trudging off to the salt mines, pack your bundle of deliciousness into an insulated bag with an ice pack, gel pack or frozen bottle of water.
And when you feel nice and hungry, sink your teeth into your creation and thank the good Earl.