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January 30, 2013

Easy Changes for a Healthier Sandwich

The following is a guest post from Visiting Nurse Services of New York (VNSNY). VNSNY has partnered with SAGE over the last few years to bring nurse services and health programming to both The SAGE Center and SAGE Harlem. SAGE is committed to the health and well-being of all LGBT older people and we strive to share important health information with our community. We thank VNSNY for an informative blog post around eating healthier.

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Is one of your New Year’s resolutions about eating better or losing weight? If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of renovating all of your favorite recipes, it might help to start small. Research shows that when it comes to a healthier lifestyle, small and gradual changes are easier for us to make and ones we’re more likely to stick with. Take your lunchtime sandwich—rather than reject it altogether,  try these tips to make your next one more healthful—but still delicious.

To Reduce Fat and Cholesterol:

Spread pumpernickel with apple butter and grainy Dijon or German-style mustard. Layer with thin slices of leftover pork tenderloin.

Try pairing sourdough or toasted Ciabatta with sun-dried tomato spread or pesto. Add strips of grilled chicken and avocado slices.

Looking to cut the fat content in a sandwich with cheese? Use an aged, smoked or sharp version of your favorite. Sharp provolone, extra-sharp cheddar, or smoked mozzarella or Gouda—or even a few thin slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano—add more flavor, allowing you to use less. 

Fake out egg salad: cut firm tofu into small pieces, then mix with mayo (use “tofunnaise” or cholesterol-free mayo if you like), mustard and your favorite seasonings.

To Boost Vitamins and Minerals:

Add some zip to egg salad: Use plain yogurt in lieu of mayo (even if you use whole-milk yogurt, you’ll cut the fat content significantly) for a little tang and a boost of calcium, then stir in some anchovy paste before stuffing into a mini whole-wheat pita.

Pass on the water-packed albacore tuna and pick up a can or jar of the stuff packed in olive oil. Drain the fat, then stir in a few chopped pitted olives, halved cherry or grape tomatoes, and for some kick, a few capers. Serve with rosemary flatbread for a sandwich Niçoise.

Rethink the BLT: Bake the bacon on a rack so the fat drains completely away, then layer with tomatoes and a dark leafy green, like spinach or arugula. Be sure to use whole-grain, fiber-rich bread instead of white.

To Cut Carbs:

Skip the jams containing high fructose corn syrup when you make your next PB&J and stay with fresh fruit: Brush apple or banana slices with a mixture of lemon juice and water (to prevent browning) before layering with natural peanut butter. (Try almond butter, too.)

Toss cubed leftover chicken (remove skin first) with halved grapes or golden raisins, a little curry powder, and mayo or plain yogurt. Spoon into a lettuce leaf (either green or red leaf or iceberg) and roll up.

Low-carb it by smearing cold cuts or thinly sliced deli cheese with condiments, then wrapping around raw or steamed vegetables. Combinations we like:

  • Roast beef, horseradish sauce and steamed green beans
  • Honey-baked ham, Dijon or honey mustard and steamed asparagus
  • Provolone, roasted red peppers and zucchini spears
  • Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and red bell pepper strips


About the Visiting Nurse Service of New York

For 120 years, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), the largest not-for-profit community-based home health care organization in the country, has been committed to meeting the health care needs of New Yorkers. Today, VNSNY provides care throughout all five boroughs of New York City, in Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties as well as parts of upstate New York.

With over 15,000 nurses, rehabilitation therapists, social workers, home health aides and other frontline staff, VNSNY has the capabilities and resources to deliver a full range of home- and community-based health care services.



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