Celebrate National Sandwich Day the Healthy Way

November 3 is National Sandwich Day, but it’s not just about the delicious lunchbox fave. It actually celebrates the birthday of the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu. While gambling, he wanted to eat with one hand so he could hold his cards in the other. He asked for his lunchmeat to come between two pieces of bread, and PRESTO – the sandwich was born.

In honour of National Sandwich Day, here is a collection of ideas for making your sandwiches nutritious – without tasting like cardboard.

Start With the Bread
Bread is sometimes the most fattening part of a sandwich, so be aware of what you’re eating. Don’t think that just because you made your lunch with brown bread, you’ll be getting the best benefits. Look for breads that say 100% whole grain, not just whole wheat. For those who can’t stomach brown bread, some brands actually make whole grain bread that looks and tastes like white bread. If you’e adventurous, the latest craze is bread made out of vegetables!

You don’t even need to use traditional bread to make a sandwich, though – try a tortilla wrap, flatbread, or pita. Don’t forget to read the labels, because some of these can be over-processed and full of unwanted calories. Look for brands that are low in fat and high in fibre.

Add a Little Flavour
You already know that mayonnaise is a diet no-no, but who can eat a sandwich without that extra flavouring? If you must go the mayo way, go for the light or low-fat versions. BUT first try using mustard! It has virtually no sugar, is only about 5 calories, and adds a ton of flavour! Or change up your sandwich mindset altogether and go for salsa or dairy-free flavoured hummus (roasted red pepper is a popular option). And as a bonus? If you have these tasty spreads, you don’t need butter or margarine!

Sweet Dreams are Made of Cheese
Adding cheese to a sandwich can also throw off even the best at calorie-counting. Ask yourself if it needs to be part of the sandwich or if it’s just for extra flavour. If it’s not a necessity, don’t use it! If you need to have it, use only a small amount of a low-fat/low-cal cheese, like mozzarella or feta.

Save the Best for Last
Before adding the main topping, load up your bread with veggies. This will keep you from overloading the sandwich with anything else. When choosing your filling, the healthiest options are often eggs, tuna, or lean meats like turkey. Just keep portion sizes in mind! A regular store-bought sandwich is often much bigger in size and can be an average of 600 calories, whereas the homemade kind averages only 350 calories.