28 Nov How Healthy are our Christmas Sandwiches?
It’s finally here – the launch of the Christmas sandwiches. One of the first signs that the festive season is fast approaching.
Christmas sandwiches often get a bad rep for being an unhealthy lunch time choice. Extra sausage meat, bacon and condiments can easily increase our saturated fat and sugar intake without us realising. However, Christmas sandwiches aren’t necessarily as unhealthy as we may think.
Crammed full with ‘all the trimmings’, Christmas sandwiches are often higher in fibre than our usual shop bought sandwiches. Turkey is also a great source of lean protein which helps us stay fuller for longer.
Just by making a few mindful decisions when it comes to choosing our sandwiches, we can boost the nutritional value of our festive food. There’s no reason a Christmas sandwich can’t be part of a healthy balanced diet this December!
Keep reading to find out how you can get more nutritional bang for your buck!
Keep the calories under control
Most Christmas sandwiches come in at around 400 – 600 calories each which is within the recommended calorie intake for a main meal for adults. However, that’s not to say that our lunch is staying within this range.
A packet of crisps or a couple of biscuits can easily add on a couple of hundred extra calories each lunch time. This can really hinder our progress if we are trying to healthily reduce our weight. Therefore it is important to be mindful of the other foods we are consuming either side of our Christmas sandwiches.
Watch the sat fat & sugar content
Brie, cranberry sauce, chutney . . . these foods are all either high in saturated fat or sugar. Sandwiches that contain cheese often provide over half our daily recommended intake of saturated fat!
Not only are cheese and sweet condiments high in saturated fat and sugar, they are also higher in calories and lower in nutritional value than their meaty or veggie-based counterparts. If you’re trying to be more mindful of your food choices, avoid the brie-based Christmas sandwiches this year!
Go for wholesome wholegrain
Where possible, choose wholegrain bread as opposed to white bread. Research shows that diets rich in wholegrain foods can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. On a day to day level, wholegrains are high in fibre which can help keep us fuller for longer and reduce the need to snack between meals, assisting us with our healthy weight loss journeys.
Get your veggies in!
Christmas themed salads are a great way to increase our fruit and vegetable intake whilst getting our festive hit. Salads can help us on our way to five a day and the increase in micronutrient intake can help keep the festive flu at bay. A word of warning: added salad dressings can easily increase the saturated fat and calorie content of salad, and they are often just as tasty without them!
Whilst baguettes and three-piece sandwich selections appear very appealing, they are a fast track way to over consumption. Baguettes can contain nearly double the calories of standard sized sandwich. Stick to a standard sized sandwich to prevent your lunch from becoming supersized. If a baguette is what you really want, try cutting it in half and saving the rest for the following day.
Veggie and Vegan aren’t always healthier!
It can be tempting to see a ‘meat free’ label as an indicator of a healthy Christmas sandwich. However, veggie-based sandwiches often contain a combination of meat substitutes, cheese, creamy sauces or sweet condiments. This leads to high levels of salt, saturated fat and sugar. Veggie-based sandwiches are also often lower in protein compared to their meat counterparts. This can leave us feeling peckish by mid afternoon.
Get savvy with the snacks
Now we know how to be more mindful when making a healthier Christmas sandwich choice, the next step is to get savvy with our snacks. Fancy the crunch of a packet of crisps? Try crunching on some crudites instead. Snacking on raw veg gives us that same satisfying crunch without the saturated fat and gives your lunch a fibre boost.
Alternatively, if you’ve gone for a veggie sandwich, try having some greek yoghurt afterwards to top up your protein intake.
So, there we have it. There are so many tricks we can use to increase the nutritional value of our Christmas sandwiches. In short, look for sandwiches that have a higher ratio of protein to fa. In addition, go for the ones that are packed with veg for those essential vitamins that are vital to surviving the festive season.
Better yet, why not try making your own healthy Christmas sandwich? Preparing our own food at home is a great way to save money whilst also reducing the salt and saturated fat content compared to a standard shop bought sandwich. After all, Christmas sandwiches are for the whole festive season, not just for boxing day!
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