When people think about going on a diet, any diet, one of the first things to get cut is bread. That’s a problem for those of us that love sandwiches. But it’s not the sandwich itself that’s tossing a wrench in your fitness goals. It’s how you go about building it.
The bread isn’t the leading culprit as to why your sandwich might be a fat bomb. That blame falls on the condiments, specifically the mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is high in calories and high in fat, to the tune of 90 calories and 10 grams of fat per teaspoon (and if you’re like me, a sandwich requires more than a teaspoon of mayo).
“Eating healthy doesn’t mean that food shouldn’t taste delicious,” said celebrity chef Jeff Mauro, the host of Sandwich King and co-host of The Kitchen, both on Food Network. “To build a sandwich on the healthier side, I recommend using lean meats, so the protein fills you up, and loading it with vegetables, which add crunch and flavor. Swap mayo for avocado, which gives you the creaminess you want from the condiment but adds in healthy fats and nutrients.”
You could also opt for multigrain or Ezekiel bread over processed white bread. Stick to lean meats like chicken, fish or turkey instead of sodium-paced deli slices and think about adding spinach and tomato. It also helps to plan ahead, or in other words, be prepared and make it yourself.
“I always go to the grocery store armed with a list of potential meals and ingredients that I need to create them,” Mauro said. “That alone can save time at the store and also at home. If you get home after a day of work knowing exactly what you are going to cook the task doesn’t seem as daunting.”
Mauro also said he used to pre-cut his vegetables to save time. He also recommends that every guy have a heavy-bottomed square griddle pan in his kitchen. “From breakfast to dinner, the options as to what you can cook on a griddle are endless.”
If pumping up the amount of vegetables and fruits in your sandwich make you think you’re taking a flavor hit, Mauro says he’s been enjoying Sambal Oelek, a spicy Southeast Asian Chile that he compared to Sriracha. “It’s a great way to add flavor to dishes without adding extra calories. A little goes a long way though, so be mindful when incorporating into dishes and marinades.”
Mauro shared a couple grill and broil-ready sandwiches recipes and a few healthy options. Check them out below:
The SS B.L.T.
Makes 12 finger sandwiches
8 slices of maple bacon
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3 tablespoons capers in brine, drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 2 tablespoons honey mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices pumpernickel bread
12 ounces sliced smoked salmon
1 small red onion, sliced very thinly
1-2 small Roma tomatoes, very thinly sliced into rounds
Baby arugula for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Evenly space the bacon on a baking sheet linked with a wire rack and bake until crispy, 15-18 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels, reserving the bacon fat from the pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Once cooled, finely mince the bacon.
For the caper spread: In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, capers, chives and honey mustard and season with salt and pepper. With a rubber spatula, mix all the ingredients until combined. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
For the sandwich build: Cut the crusts from the bread. Brush slices on one side with the reserved bacon fat and transfer to the oven to warm through, about five minutes. Smear the fat side of four slices with some caper bread. Layer with 1 ½ ounces of smoked salmon, some red onion, tomato, minced bacon and arugula. Top with another slice of bread and cut each sandwich into thirds to make finger sandwiches.
Lemon Roasted Chicken Salad Wrap
Makes four servings
- One six-pound whole fryer chicken
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 5 springs fresh thyme
- 1 lemon cut in quarters
- ¾ cup 2-percent Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup mayo
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1 small red onion, minced
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- One 6-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Four 12-inch whole wheat tortillas
1 pint broccoli sprouts
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and adjust a rack to the middle position.
Place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack, or in a roasting pan with a rack, and drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Generously sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Pack the cavity with the garlic, thyme and lemons. Place the chicken breast-side down on the rack.
Roast the chicken for an hour at 400 degrees and then turn up the heat to 450 degrees and roast until the breast temperature registers 160 degrees and the skin is a golden brown, for the last 30 to 45 minutes. Then set the chicken aside to rest and cool.
When easy to handle, remove the legs, wings and any dark meat, reserving to eat for your next meal or to snack on immediately. Remove the skin from the breast meat. Using your hands, shred the breast meat and place in a bowl. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
For the sandwich build: Layer the whole wheat wraps with some broccoli sprouts and tomato slices and then top with the chicken salad. Wrap and enjoy.
Chicago Cheese Steak
Makes four sandwiches
2 – 12 oz boneless rib eyes
Cracked Black Pepper
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
½ yellow onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
4 long sub rolls, sliced at the top and hinged
8 slices sharp provolone cheese
1 cup sliced pickled cherry peppers
Salt and pepper steaks and let them sit out at room temp for 30 minutes.
Using the grill plates, preheat the George Foreman Grill & Broil to 425 degrees. Grill steaks to medium rare, about 120 degrees internal temp, or for about 8 minutes. Once done, set aside to rest for 15 minutes before slicing steaks against the grain with a very sharp knife as thinly as possible, cutting around large chunks of fat. Place back on plate with any reserved juices and tent with foil.
Meanwhile, toss sliced cremini mushrooms and onions with oil, granulated garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Switch the bottom plate of the George Foreman Grill & Broil to the griddle and sauté the mushroom and onions for 10-12 minutes or until caramelized. Set aside and remove the top plate of the George Foreman Grill & Broil to expose the broiling element and set to “high.”
Before finishing off with the broiling function, build your sandwich, ribboning thinly sliced ribeye and then veggies on the bottom of the sub roll before topping with two slices of sharp provolone. Place the sandwich back into the griddle plate on the George Foreman Grill & Broil and broil each sandwich until cheese is golden and bubbly. Top with sliced cherry peppers and serve!
Sweet Potato Skillet Hash
Serves 2 hungry people
1 yellow onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 large sweet potatoes, halved and diced
4 ounces Mexican chorizo
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
1-2 tablespoons of sambal oelek
Begin by dicing the onions and potatoes, and julienning peppers using the BLACK+DECKER MultiPrep Slice ‘N Dice, setting the onion and peppers in one bowl and the potatoes in another and set both to the side.
In a large skillet, cook the Mexican chorizo over medium high until browned and cooked through, about 12 min. Removed from pan and drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of fat.
Using the same skillet with reserved fat from the chorizo, add onions, peppers, cumin and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Turn heat up to medium/high and add in sweet potatoes, season again and sauté, only stirring or tossing every couple minutes, until dark brown color develops, about 8-10 minutes, adding the drained chorizo back into the pan 2 minutes prior to serving to reheat.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, garnishing with several small dollops of Sambal Oelek and sprinkling with fresh chives.