The Best and Worst Ingredients for Your Sandwich

Photo by Getty Images

By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Aug 16, 2014

There’s just something very satisfying about picking up your lunch with both hands and biting in. But from a nutritionist’s point of view, a sandwich can either be a well rounded combo of nutrient-rich ingredients, or a downright dietary disaster.

Here are nine of the best and worst fillings to consider, along with a few tips to prevent sandwich calorie overkill.

BEST: Avocado
In addition to heart-healthy fats, which have been shown to slash “bad” LDL cholesterol and up “good” HDL levels, avocados provide anti-aging, disease fighting antioxidants and nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals, which is likely why one recent study found that avocado eaters have higher intakes of fiber, vitamins E and K, magnesium and potassium. And here’s the surprising part—regular avocado eaters weigh less and have smaller waists, even without eating fewer calories. Bonus: adding avocado to a sandwich with veggies will boost the absorption of antioxidants by up to 13 times.

BEST: Hummus
Using two tablespoons of hummus rather than one of mayo as your sandwich spread provides the same number of calories for double the portion, along with bonus nutrients, including plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. To add even more flavor and color to your meal, reach for hummus prepped with veggie add-ins like roasted red peppers, or sundried tomatoes.

BEST: Basil
In addition to being aromatic and delicious, fresh basil has potent anti-inflammatory effects, a boon for health since inflammation is a known trigger of premature aging and chronic diseases, including obesity. It’s also rich in immune-supporting vitamin A, and its natural anti-bacterial properties have been shown to fight Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.

BEST: Onions
In addition to fighting inflammation, onions help fight heart disease by protecting blood vessels and reducing cholesterol. Natural compounds in onions have also been shown to boost bone density, bolster immune defenses, balance blood sugar, and ward off chronic diseases, including cancer. Fresh red and sautéed yellow onions are my favorite sandwich additions, but choose any type you like to reap the benefits. (more…)

Posted on: October 13, 2015 7:54 am