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5 Healthier Sandwich Options

Dietician Rachel Paul shows how to turn your favorite sandwiches into health powerhouses

a lightened up italian hero sandwich with turkey

Paul Sirisalee

En español

​​Italian hero​

A 6-inch traditional hero usually calls for salami, ham, prosciutto, provolone, pepperoni, and oil and vinegar dressing, on Italian bread.

868 calories, 49g fat, 2,495mg sodium, 3g fiber ​​

Better Italian hero ​

Swap in low-sodium roast turkey for the ham, pepperoni and salami, though keep the cheese and prosciutto for that authentic Italian flavor. Use romaine lettuce for more fiber and only red-wine vinegar, instead of the dressing. Top with sliced onion and tomato; sprinkle with oregano and black pepper.

509 calories, 13g fat, 1,600mg sodium, 4g fiber​​

turkey and swiss sandwich with avocado

Paul Sirisalee

Turkey and Swiss

We think of this as a “healthy” sandwich, but it’s still high in sodium and calories, and the standard tomato, iceberg lettuce and white bread offer little fiber.

667 calories, 33g fat, 2,299mg sodium, 4g fiber

​Better Turkey and Swiss​

Use 5 ounces deli-style turkey and 1 slice Swiss. Add raw baby spinach and slices of avocado; serve on whole-grain bread.

597 calories, 24g fat, 1,642mg sodium, 12g fiber.

roast beef sandwich with hot sauce

Paul Sirisalee

Sub out high-calorie sour cream; boost flavor with hot sauce.​

Roast Beef​

The kaiser roll classic is really high in sodium; much of the fat comes from toppings such as mayo and sour cream.

538 calories, 24g fat, 3,158mg sodium, 3g fiber​​

Better roast beef​

Cut down to 4 ounces roast beef and 1 slice Monterey Jack cheese; include sliced onion and a handful of arugula. Instead of mayo and sour cream, top with 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish and 1 teaspoon hot sauce, for extra flavor.

427 calories, 15g fat, 1,990mg sodium, 3g fiber

red pepper tuna melt

Paul Sirisalee

Tuna melt​

These can be packed with sugary pickle relish and lots of mayo.

627 calories, 32g fat, 1,185mg sodium, 3g fiber

​​Better tuna melt

​After draining water, mix tuna with diced red onion, celery and pickle, and 1 teaspoon each mayo and lemon juice. Top bell pepper halves with tuna and ½ slice cheddar. Bake at 300°F for 7 minutes.

327 calories, 13g fat, 673mg sodium, 4g fiber​​

meatball sub with spinach

Paul Sirisalee

Go light on cheese and meatballs.​​ Add a layer of spinach for fiber.​​​​​​

Meatball sub​​

Typically, this hoagie comes loaded with four meatballs plus shredded mozzarella.

745 calories, 43g fat, 1,039mg sodium, 4g fiber ​​

Better meatball sub ​​

To cut calories, reduce to three meatballs on half a hoagie roll. Add spinach for fiber; go light with the cheese. Recipe: 3 meatballs, ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella, ½ cup raw spinach, Italian seasoning and 2 tablespoons marinara sauce on an open-faced white hoagie roll. 528 calories,

528 calories, 32g fat, 704mg sodium, 2g fiber​​

Smears to You​

Sandwich spreads, by the tablespoon​​

  • Yellow mustard​ 0 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams sugar
  • ​​Honey mustard ​65 calories, 5.5 grams fat, 3 grams sugar​​
  • Ketchup​ 15 calories, 0 grams fat, 3 grams sugar​​
  • Mayo ​90 calories, 10 grams fat, 0 grams sugar​​
  • Russian dressing​ 53 calories, 4 grams fat, 3 grams sugar​​
  • Salsa​ 4 calories, 0 grams fat, 1 gram sugar​ ​​​​
  • Balsamic vinegar & olive oil​ 20 calories, 2 grams fat, 0 grams sugar​ ​
  • Fig jam​ 33 calories, 0 grams fat, 7 grams sugar​ ​
  • Butter​ 102 calories, 12 grams fat, 0 grams sugar​

Kelsey Ogletree writes on food and health for Bon Appétit, Shape and other magazines.

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