When lunchtime comes, there’s nothing like a sandwich to fill you up and restore your energy. As far as healthy lunch options go, you could do way worse than visiting your favorite deli each day. However, even though a sandwich a day can hardly be considered unhealthy, there are a few things you should definitely stay away from if you’re trying to shed those pounds or practice a healthier lifestyle. While certain options, like processed meats and bread, present a delicious temptation, it’s best to stick to a few key ingredients when assembling a healthy sandwich that’s also rich in flavor. The next time you’re at the counter of your favorite long island NY deli, reach for these smart choices. The pounds will drop, and your body will thank you.
1. Stay Away From Processed Meats
Plenty of diets suggest that dieters stay away from meat altogether to boost heart health and drop some extra weight. However, many recent studies have shown that meat itself isn’t the enemy: Processed foods are. When you put food into your body that isn’t broken down easily, it will take a lot more time for your body to process, wasting a lot of valuable energy that could be used to break down fat cells. That means that when you reach for the processed meats like salami, mortadella, and capicola, you’re putting heavy, hard-to-digest foods with high-fat content into your body. Instead of opting for a Reuben or meatball sub, stick to sliced chicken, roasted turkey, or boiled ham for the same flavorful punch without the extra fat. You’ll be getting a full serving of protein without having to worry about gaining weight.
2. Easy on the Condiments
Everybody likes a bit of flavor on their sandwich. But when you’re slathering mayonnaise and thousand island dressing all over your sub, it’s time to step back and reevaluate the way you’re thinking about condiments. A bit of mayo on your sandwich is okay, but even a small amount contains a lot of extra fat and oil. Did you know that 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise is 94 calories? That means that using even a small amount could be tipping your sandwich from the ‘healthy’ side of the scale into the extravagantly fatty region. Even light mayonnaise can contribute to weight gain since it uses processed soy instead of oil. For best results, stay away from mayo and anything containing too much oil. Instead, use low-calorie condiments like mustard, pepper, and garlic salt.
3. Add Fresh Veggies for Flavor
You can never have too many veggies on a sandwich. Even if you’re not a fan of the ‘veggie lover’ sub on offer at your local deli, the wide selection of veggies and picked options mean that you can mix it up to create the veggie-filled sub of your dreams. Start with lots of lettuce, tomatoes, and onion and go on from there. If you’re still craving that extra kick, add some sliced cheese or some dry tuna (not tuna salad!) You can customize your sandwich each day and never get bored by the same old combinations. Best of all, you can keep piling them on and never have to worry about gaining weight.
4. Choose Whole Grain Bread
We’re all tempted by the delicious white bread sub at our local deli. It’s delicious, compliments everything, and tastes like pure nostalgia. However, when it comes to your midday meal, bread often makes up most of the calories in your sandwich. Instead of going for a huge kaiser roll or bagel, try sliced multigrain bread or a whole wheat sub. You’ll feel just as full, and you’ll be getting in a serving of whole grains in the meantime. You’re also less likely to get that middle of the day dip in energy if you stay away from consuming a huge chunk of processed white bread for lunch.
5. Make It a Salad
If you’re feeling really bold, go totally breadless for the ultimate healthy lunch. Even though salads seem intimidating to many first-time dieters, there are tons of options you can choose from when designing your salad. From healthy sliced meats and cheeses to exotic veggies and add-ons, there’s no end to the variety you can find in a simple salad. Try a combination of spinach, beets, and crumbled feta cheese, or a cobb salad with turkey, ham, and a hard-boiled egg if you’re feeling extra hungry. But whatever you do, don’t overdo it on the salad dressings. Keeping the dressing light will ensure that your meal stays healthy and low in calories.