Choosing healthier sandwich options

March 22, 2023—A sandwich may seem like a healthy choice for lunch, but experts say that they can hide high amounts of sodium and saturated fat. Sandwiches have become less healthy over the past 40 years, according to a March 14 Wall Street Journal article. During this period, sandwich sizes have expanded, and they are now more likely to be made with highly processed white bread and deli meat that is high in sodium.

Sandwiches are popular in the U.S. because many people are eating on the go, Erica Kenney, assistant professor of public health nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, noted in the article. Other experts offered suggestions for making sandwiches healthier, such as piling on lettuce and tomatoes, and choosing fresh chicken breast or tuna instead of processed deli meat.

Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, recommended choosing bread that’s made from 100% whole wheat or whole grain, or that contains visible grains and seeds—a marker of less processing and more fiber. Slicing bread thinly is another option for cutting sodium and calories, he suggested.

When it comes to condiments, Rimm said to use mustard and ketchup sparingly. Both are “salt vehicles,” he said, and ketchup can be high in added sugars. Mayonnaise is not a bad option, Rimm said. While it used to be made with unhealthy trans fats, it is now usually made from eggs and canola or soybean oil, which are high in healthier fats.

Read the Wall Street Journal article: The American Diet Has a Sandwich Problem