Katie's Healthy Bites: Pep Up Your Sandwiches

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If you're like me, you're always looking for ways to make lunch more exciting. It seems like the mid-day meal can't compete with our busy schedules and endless to-do lists. A sandwich is a simple solution, but there's no need for it to be the same-old PB&J or turkey with cheese. Here are five basic sandwiches that all have a special twist.

Greek Turkey Sandwich

I love tzatziki but never thought to use it as a condiment until recently. Its creamy yogurt is a great mayo substitute, and the bits of lemon and cucumber brighten the sandwich's flavor. For this dish, trade the salty lunch meat for thinly sliced, fresh roasted turkey breast. On average, a deli slice of turkey can have about 500 milligrams -- yikes!

1/2 large, whole grain pita
3 ounces fresh turkey, sliced

1 tablespoon tzatziki (*recipe below; you can also buy packaged versions)

1/2 medium roasted pepper (packed in water)
1 tomato slice

Place the turkey, roasted pepper and tomato slice into a toasted or fresh pita, drizzle with the tzatziki and enjoy.

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 221; Fat: 6.6 grams; Saturated Fat: 1.7 grams; Protein: 24.4 grams; Carbohydrates: 17.7 grams; Cholesterol: 54.8 milligrams; Sodium: 360 milligrams

Serving: 1 tablespoon
2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt
1 small cucumber, peeled and shredded
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped finely
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine oil and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl. Fold the yogurt in slowly. Add the garlic (adjust the amount per your preference) and the cucumber. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavors to combine.

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 13.75; Fat: .67 grams; Saturated Fat: .21 grams; Protein: .79 grams; Carbohydrates: 1.22 grams; Cholesterol: 85 milligrams; Sodium: 10 milligrams; Fiber: .05 grams

Roast Beef with Dijon and Horseradish (shown above)

This is one of my husband's favorites. We give the classic roast beef sandwich a kick with spicy horseradish and Dijon mustard and then cool it down a bit with crunchy cucumbers. Again, skip the lunch meat deli slices and opt for fresh pieces of roast beef, if possible.

1/2 large, whole grain pita
3 ounces of sliced roast beef
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh horseradish
4 cucumber slices

In a small bowl, mix together the Dijon mustard and horseradish. Spread the mix inside the pita.  Fill the pita with remaining ingredients and enjoy.

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 233; Fat: 5.31 grams; Saturated Fat: 1.59 grams; Protein: 27.2 grams; Carbohydrates: 17 grams; Cholesterol: 61.2 milligrams; Sodium: 547 milligrams; Fiber: 2 grams

Cranberry, Apple, Pumpkin Seed & Almond Butter Sandwich

Switch out that tired PB&J for this treat. You can get creative and toss in raisins, sunflower seeds and even slivered almonds (but go easy on the extra seeds and nuts). This sandwich might seem a bit high in fat, but it is the heart-healthy unsaturated kind.

2 slices whole grain bread
1 tablespoon almond butter (organic, if possible)
3 thin slices apple (divvy up one wedge)
1 tablespoon unsweetened, dried cranberries
8-10 pumpkin seeds

Spread almond butter on a slice of bread and sprinkle with cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Top with apple slices and other slice of bread.

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 267; Fat: 12.2 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Protein: 8.23 grams; Carbohydrates: 33 grams; Cholesterol: 0 grams; Sodium: 182 milligrams; Fiber: 4.6 grams

Flank Steak Burrito Wrap

This is a great lunch for leftovers. Just set aside thin pieces of grilled flank steak (or try bison steak for fewer fat and cholesterol), and add all of your favorite burrito fillings for a satisfying meal.

1 whole wheat, low-carb wrap
3 ounces sliced, flank steak
1/4 cup raw or cooked corn
1/4 cup brown rice
2 tablespoons salsa
1 cup shredded lettuce

Layer the ingredients inside of the wrap. Roll it up, slice it in half (if you prefer) and serve.

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 279; Fat: 7.6 grams; Saturated Fat: 2.76 grams; Protein: 27.4 grams; Carbohydrates: 25.2 grams; Cholesterol: 41.6 milligrams; Sodium: 260.6 milligrams; Fiber: 2.2 grams

Pesto, Goat Cheese & Arugula Sandwich

Here's a meat-free option that doesn't include a nut butter. The tangy goat cheese complements the savory pesto and sweet vegetables.  If you make your own pesto, try limiting the salt; it can cut down some of the sodium in this recipe.


2 slices of Italian bread (preferably whole grain), cut into 3/4-inch slices

1 teaspoon basil pesto
1/2 ounce of goat cheese
1 tomato slice
3 cucumber slices
1/2 large roasted pepper (packed in water)
1/2 cup arugula (could use spinach as well)

Spread pesto on one slice of bread and goat cheese on the other. Top one slice with the remaining ingredients, put the two slices together and serve.

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 191; Fat: 6.8grams; Saturated Fat: 2.8 grams; Protein: 7.4 grams; Carbohydrates: 25 grams; Cholesterol: 8 milligrams; Sodium: 485 milligrams; Fiber: 1.8 grams

*calculated using store-bought pesto and white Italian bread

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