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Kaylor: August is national sandwich month

By Staff | Aug 22, 2014

Sandwiches make quick, easy and nutritious meals. August is National Sandwich Month, a great time to try a different type of sandwich or have fun inventing a new sandwich for you or to share with family and friends. Check out the following tips on how to experiment with different veggies and fruits, lean meats, whole grains and sandwich spreads.

Tips for nutritious and delicious sandwiches

Choose whole grains – Vary the taste and texture of sandwiches with whole grains. Grains provide many nutrients vital for health, such as dietary fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Try out different ways to hold sandwich fillings with pita pockets, bagels, tortillas and whole wheat or rye breads.

Use food labels – The color of a product isn’t always a good indicator of whether it’s a whole grain. Bread can be brown due to molasses or other added ingredients. Choose foods with ingredients such as these first on the ingredient list: brown rice, oatmeal, wild rice, whole-grain corn, whole oats, whole rye or whole wheat. Also, check the Nutrition Facts Label and choose products with higher fiber content.

Try different fillings – Instead of mixing shredded tuna, turkey, or chicken with mayonnaise, use low-fat plain yogurt. For added flavor and crunch, add chopped onion, celery, and cucumber or pickle. And, to really kick up the flavor, add in herbs or spices such as dill or cumin. Instead of the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich, try peanut butter and sliced banana.

Sandwich spreads – Use different sandwich spreads to kick up the flavor and nutrition. Go easy on spreads such as mayonnaise, margarine, butter and cream cheese because they add fat and calories and little nutritional value. Instead, try low-fat plain yogurt, different flavors of hummus, light dressing, mustard or honey mustard.

Boost nutrition with tasty toppings – Give your sandwich a nutritious boost by adding vegetables or fruit. Different veggies include spinach, arugula, sliced zucchini, cucumber, green or red peppers, red onion and grated carrots. Fruits to try on sandwiches include sliced apples, pineapple and banana.

Go lean with protein – Choose lean turkey, roast beef, ham, or low-fat luncheon meats for sandwiches instead of luncheon/deli meats with more fat, such as regular bologna or salami. Processed meats such as hams and luncheon or deli meats have added sodium. Check the ingredient and Nutrition Facts Label to help limit sodium intake.

Food safety for sandwiches on the go – Pack and store sandwiches in an insulated tote. Use an ice pack, gel pack, or freeze a juice box, bottled water or the sandwich itself. For best quality, don’t freeze sandwiches with mayonnaise, lettuce or tomatoes; add them right before eating. Use coarse-textured breads that don’t get soggy as the sandwich thaws. Frozen juice boxes, water and sandwiches will thaw by lunch.

(Healthy Bites August 2013, by Lisa Franzen-Castle, PhD, RD Extension Nutrition Specialist)


2 cup chicken breast, cooked and diced

cup celery, chopped

cup onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. pickle relish

cup light mayonnaise

Rinse and prepare celery and onion. Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Use within two days. Note: Chicken salad doesn’t freeze well.

How to use:

Make chicken salad sandwiches

Make a pasta salad by mixing with 2 cups of cooked pasta shells

Serve this as a salad in a hollowed-out tomato or cucumber boat.

– Compiled by Carolee Kaylor, NDSU Extension Family Nutrition Program

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