You put your sandwich in the company refrigerator or desk all set to eat it. And by the time noon comes around, that lunch bag looks about as exciting as a dying light bulb. Sometimes it’s just more fun to go to the nearest restaurant and eat their sandwiches instead.
Here are ways to save money on lunch and make that old sandwich into something new and healthier.
1. Add Hummus
Hummus is a mix of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), citrus juice, tahini pasta and olive oil. By itself it may be bland. Add red pepper or black pepper, and this mixture will add a fun spice to that plain sandwich bag of meat and bread. Hummus is low on salt and has a decent amount of fiber (1 gram), protein (1 gram) and carbohydrates (2 grams) with no fat. Other sandwich spreads like mayonnaise have no fiber, no protein, no carbohydrates and all fat (11 grams).
2. Add an Avocado
Tomatoes and lettuce taste great on a sandwich when it’s freshly made. But sometimes tomato can get a bit soggy when it’s been on a sandwich too long and messy when it’s too soft. Lettuce has a slightly better shelf life, but it still has that same soggy reputation, especially when it’s too close to sandwich spread. Consider an avocado, which is loaded with fiber (10 grams) and has a hard covering like an orange. Not only is it good for guacamole and a sandwich spread substitute, but it’s an even better add-on for pastas and potato salad. Mix cubed potatoes with cubed avocado for a delicious fiber combo.
3. Switch the Bread to Multi-grains
There’s a reason restaurants present rolls on a table instead of bland pieces of sliced bread. It just looks more appetizing.
SuperTracker calculates a soft, white roll with 2 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, 1 gram of dietary fiber and 18 grams of carbohydrates. A slice of white bread is slightly lower, with 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of protein, 1 gram of dietary fiber and 13 grams of carbohydrates. A multi-grain roll has 3 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of dietary fiber and 19 grams of carbohydrates.
While it may seem as though the sliced bread is a better option, add multi-grains to that same roll and the choice is clear. Although the roll has more carbs, it is a better choice for protein and fiber, and it probably tastes better after a few seconds in the microwave.
4. Drink some of the Sandwich
There will come a time when vegetables just aren’t as appetizing on a salad. Drink it instead. Try a smoothie of fruits and vegetables, and sneak in the tomato if you don’t want to eat it.
5. Test out Meat Substitutes
While you may love your meat, it couldn’t hurt to test out vegan versions. Try Lightlife vegan bologna or ham, or maybe MorningStar chik’n. Consider a vegan Italian sausage, which is basically made of mushrooms. Vegan sandwiches are almost always full of fiber, which makes people feel fuller longer, and ups the fiber count that the average American diet is lacking.
Sandwiches don’t have to be boring. They don’t have to be the same old thing. Buy a few new toppings and ingredients and test them out for the next 30 days a little at a time. Trying new ways to reinvigorate the same old sandwich may make you more excited about lunchtime.
Photo: Sodanie Chea
Sean Donnelly is a proud father and fitness fanatic. When he’s not in the kitchen, he spends his free time writing, watching the History channel, and looking for the next coffee! You can check out his musings at ListFitness.com.
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