A Sunday lunch in the park doesn't have to create a dieter's dilemma if some wise food choices are made. Sandwiches can be a healthful alternative to traditional picnic foods like potato salad, barbecued meats and the like, especially when made sensibly with wholesome ingredients and accompanied by fresh fruit.
An average sandwich lunch might typically consist of a mayonnaise-rich salad or some type of meat-and-cheese combination, served with potato chips. But the sandwich lunches offered here present the health conscious with some tasty alternatives that are fairly low in calories and contain moderate amounts of fat.
There are many ingredients available that provide variation in sandwich making, so take advantage of the low-calorie breads and fillings available and pile sandwiches high with foods like alfalfa sprouts, apple slices, mushrooms, lettuce, cucumber, onions, peppers, tomatoes, carrots and celery. Some foods to avoid would include fat-laden spreads like mayonnaise, butter and sour cream, some cheeses, avocados and bacon--they can add as much as 200 extra calories to sandwiches.
Instead, reach for protein sources like cooked skinned chicken breast, tuna, turkey, salmon, sardines, cottage cheese and plain yogurt. Add cooked vegetables for variety.
Also, exercise caution when making a decision about the type of bread you choose to cradle your filling. This can be another danger zone for some waistline watchers. Pita bread is an excellent choice. It's low in fat and lends new appeal. Or try making open-face sandwiches, another calorie-sparing technique.
Choose Bread Wisely
When comparing the recipes below, note the higher caloric tallies for those sandwiches made with two slices of bread or croissants and those that include mayonnaise, cheese or sour cream. Several of these recipes, in their original form, called for butter or margarine to be spread on the bread before filling, which we omitted. If you want bread spread with butter or margarine, remember to add an additional 100 calories for every tablespoon of either variety. Choosing round-top wheat versus thin sandwich-slice bread is also a factor in figuring nutrient data.
POLAR PITA POCKETS
1/2 cup coarsely shredded or chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 pita breads
1 small tomato, thinly sliced
2 Boston lettuce leaves
1 (3 3/4-ounce) can sardines in oil, drained
Combine cucumber, green onions, garlic and cayenne in small bowl. Mix in yogurt. Stir in salt and set aside. Cut breads in halves and carefully open pockets. Fill with tomato slices, lettuce and sardines. Pass dressing separately to spoon into pockets. Makes 2 servings, 2 halves each.
PER SERVING: 218 calories; 17 gm protein; 23 gm carbohydrate; 6 gm fat; 544 mg sodium; 609 mg potassium.
Protein 26% Riboflavin 15% Vitamin A 16% Niacin 17% Vitamin C 36% Calcium 29% Thiamine 12% Iron 16%
CURRIED SALMON POCKETS
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger
Dash garlic powder
1 (7 3/4-ounce) can pink salmon, drained
1/2 cup halved seedless grapes
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
8 Boston lettuce leaves
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 8 slices
1 ounce alfalfa sprouts
4 pita breads
Combine sour cream, curry powder, ginger and garlic powder. Cover and refrigerate several hours. Just before serving, fold in salmon, grapes, celery and egg.
To assemble sandwiches, arrange 2 lettuce leaves, 2 tomato slices and alfalfa sprouts in each pocket. Top with about 1/4 cup salmon mixture. Makes 4 servings, 2 halves each.
PER SERVING: 240 calories; 18 gm protein; 23 gm carbohydrate; 8 gm fat; 250 mg sodium; 486 mg potassium.
Protein 27% Riboflavin 14% Vitamin A 22% Niacin 27% Vitamin C 24% Calcium 17% Thiamine 12% Iron 13%
VEGETABLE PATCH SANDWICHES
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced green pepper
4 slices round-top whole-wheat bread
2 slices Swiss cheese
Combine mayonnaise, onion, dill, carrot, zucchini, celery and green pepper. Spread equally on 2 bread slices. Filling will be generous. Top with cheese slice and remaining bread. Makes 2 servings.
PER SERVING: 394 calories; 10 gm protein; 30 gm carbohydrate; 28 gm fat; 562 mg sodium; 386 mg potassium.
Protein 16% Riboflavin 10% Vitamin A 69% Niacin 09% Vitamin C 52% Calcium 21% Thiamine 12% Iron 13%
STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE SANDWICH
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
6 slices sandwich-style whole-wheat bread
18 strawberries, sliced
Combine cheese, cinnamon to taste, sugar and lemon juice and mix well. Spread on bread. Arrange strawberry slices equally on top of 3 bread slices. Top with remaining bread. Makes 3 servings.
PER SERVING: 256 calories; 13 gm protein; 39 gm carbohydrate; 7 gm fat; 321 mg sodium; 449 mg potassium.
Protein 20% Riboflavin 16% Vitamin A 07% Niacin 11% Vitamin C 148% Calcium 24% Thiamine 12% Iron 18%
TURKEY CROISSANTS AU GRATIN
1 (10-ounce) package frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots with cheese-flavored sauce in pouch
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
Dash cayenne pepper
1 (6-ounce) package frozen all-butter croissants, thawed and sliced in halves lenthgwise
8 thin slices smoked cooked turkey breast, about 8 ounces
Prepare unopened vegetable pouch as directed on package. Combine hot vegetables, mustard and cayenne. Arrange croissant bottoms on serving plate. Top each with 2 turkey slices and about 1/4 cup hot vegetable mixture. Place croissant top on each sandwich. Makes 4 servings.
PER SERVING: 310 calories; 22 gm protein; 25 gm carbohydrate; 13 gm fat; 480 mg sodium; 370 mg potassium.
Protein 35% Riboflavin 25% Vitamin A 25% Niacin 25% Vitamin C 15% Calcium 04% Thiamine 20% Iron 10%