The Fourth Earl of Sandwich…

“Life is like a sandwich – the more you add to it, the better it becomes.”

This past Monday evening, I taught the fourth nutrition class (Sandwiches & Condiments) in the Project Lunchbox series.  During class, we discussed how a sandwich is both a portable and easy lunch option that can be nutritionally rich or nutritionally poor, depending on what you add to it (sort of like life actually).  We also talked about the four main components of a sandwich (bread, condiments, protein, fruits/veggies) and how easy it is to take your sandwich from ho-hum to fantastic from a taste AND nutritional standpoint!  Here’s how:

BREAD:  It was awesome to see attendees leave liking whole wheat bread! 🙂  In particular, we discussed the different ways in which white bread and whole wheat bread are processed.  Interestingly, the flour in white bread only uses the endosperm from the wheat, while the flour in whole wheat bread contains the bran, germ and endosperm, which make it more nutritious.  When purchasing bread, we talked about the importance of scanning ingredient labels for either whole wheat or whole wheat flour as the first couple of ingredients.  Lastly, many were excited to learn that nutritionally, there isn’t a significant difference between white whole wheat bread and whole wheat bread.  Although the coloring of the wheat that makes up whole wheat bread is darker than white whole wheat, the two are considered to be nutritional equals.

CONDIMENTS: Expand your culinary horizons with these creative condiments: smeared avocado, hummus, dijon mustard, basil pesto, red pepper pesto, and balsamic vinegar & extra virgin olive oil.  All of these add lots of great, healthy flavor!

PROTEIN: You can use meats cooked at home (for example roasted chicken or turkey) in place of deli meat in your sandwich.  However, if you really love your deli, try to choose brands that don’t have added nitrates in them or heaps of sodium.  Added nitrates can lead to negative health complications because during the curing process, the nitrates are converted into nitrites, which research indicates is linked to cancer.  In this case, “natural deli meat” usually means that it has been minimally processed, doesn’t have any chemical flavor enhancers, artificial ingredients, preservatives, or added nitrates.

FRUITS & VEGGIES: Use your produce creatively!  For instance, grated carrots, zucchini  and sliced cucumber are fabulous additions to any sandwich.  Also, this time of year, apples are in season, and if you thinly slice them, they can totally elevate lunch.  Pack thinly sliced apples in a container with a squirt of lemon juice and then insert them into your sandwich (they go great with turkey and cheese) once you get to lunch.

Oh, and why is a sandwich called a sandwich?  Turns out, the first sandwich was created in 1762 at Shakespeare’s Tavern in Great Britain    One of the patrons, named John Montague, who was also a British statesman and the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, was playing cards at the restaurant one evening  and asked for something to eat that wouldn’t interfere with his card playing.  After much deliberation, the chefs determined that they’d bring him a piece of salt beef tucked inside two pieces of toasted bread.  With that, the sandwich was born!

Next time you are searching for culinary inspiration, look no further than the venerable sandwich!  With a little creativity on your part, you can have breakfast, lunch, or dinner made in a snap…or should I say, a sandwich!

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

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