5 Ways to Upgrade Your Wrap with Greens

A wrap is a healthy lunch favorite. Swapping out that flour tortilla for great big greens can make it even healthier.

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Photo by: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Tara Donne, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Though the history of the wrap is disputed, one truth remains: The sandwich substitute is often wrongly labeled as a “health food.” While eating a wrap packed with lean protein and veggies definitely provides key nutrients your body needs, the vessel your ingredients are wrapped in may be sabotaging that “healthy” label. One 12-inch whole-wheat tortilla — a standard for a wrap — has 310 calories and more than 50 grams of carbs. One way to take your calorie count into your own hands is to swap that bread — be it a tortilla, rice paper, lavash or pita — for greens. Large leafy greens make a seamless substitute for traditional wraps and are a delicious alternative to bread.

Turkey Lettuce Wraps (pictured above)

These wraps are made with large leaves of iceberg lettuce. Iceberg has a higher water content (great for hydration!) than most leafy greens, but feel free to swap it for a more nutrient-dense leaf, like romaine or kale. Cooking the turkey and vegetables for the filling in one pan keeps your dirty dishes to a minimum.

Skipping the bagel for your traditional smoked salmon sandwich is a triumph in itself, but make the deli fave even healthier by swapping bread altogether for large leaves of romaine. A serving of romaine provides over 100 percent of your daily vitamin K and is source of vitamin A and folates. Using fat-free cream cheese keeps these wraps at less than 150 calories — so go ahead and have two.

Food Network Kitchen's Collard Wrapped Bean Burritos For Bunless/Breadless Sandwiches As seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Steam gorgeous, dark-green collard leaves in a pan and you get a flexible, nutrient-dense wrap for your burrito. A whole head can be steamed at once, and the leaves can be kept between damp paper towels in your fridge for wrap replacement at a moment’s notice. Collard greens are famous for being a good source of calcium, fiber, and vitamins K, A and C.

Thai flavors influence this lettuce wrap in all the right ways. The recipe uses fish and plum sauces to give the chicken that succulent, melt-in-your-mouth flavor. Iceberg lettuce provides the perfect vessel for this blend of chicken and veggies by adding a delicate crunch. Skip the calories, carbs and sodium you would find in your go-to Thai takeout and try this wrap instead.

Call it Boston or Bibb — by either name, this lettuce is just as velvety soft and totally a comparable swap for a tortilla. With an entire cup of lettuce costing you just seven calories, there is plenty of room to pack these wraps full of other delicious ingredients while keeping them low-cal. The Neelys’ Smoky Corn Salsa is the star of this dish, featuring a colorful blend of corn, tomatoes, red onion and jalapeno.

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