Breads are an important part of a traditional sandwich. Unfortunately, they can also contribute a lot of calories to the sandwich. Some types of bread containing high amounts of soluble fiber may actually help you to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, as well as aid in digestive health. Try some of these helpful tips in selecting heart-healthy bread for your sandwich:
Tips in Selecting Healthy Breads
Choose whole grains.Instead of choosing white refined breads for your sandwich, opt for whole grain breads. These are high in fiber, which can help keep your cholesterol levels healthy. Examples of whole grain breads include whole wheat bread and twelve grain bread.
Look at the carbohydrate and fiber content. Another tell-tale sign of a healthy bread is its carbohydrate and fiber content. Ideally, the bread should be high in fiber, and have minimal refined sugars.
Mix it up. Bored with the traditional sandwich? Try wrapping some ingredients in lettuce or make a wrap containing your favorite ingredients. Another healthy alternative would be stuffing your favorite sandwich fillings into a whole wheat pita pocket.
The heart of the sandwich can consist of practically anything. However, it is this section of the sandwich that can also pack on additional calories and fat – both of which can affect your cholesterol levels. Keeping your sandwich healthy doesn’t have to be boring – or limit your choices – with these simple tips:
Vegetables – You can never have too many of these on your sandwich. In fact, you should make it a point to include a few vegetables on any sandwich you make. Vegetables can add texture and flavor to the sandwich. Additionally, veggies contain phytosterols and other healthy chemicals, which can help lower your LDL cholesterol. Although lettuce and tomato are the classic additions chosen for sandwiches, practically any vegetable can be added to a sandwich.
Needing something a little different? Add sprouts or spinach instead of lettuce. Rather than your traditional tomato, add sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, black olives, a slice of avocado or onion to your next sandwich fare. Better yet, why not add all of these ingredients?
Fruit – Although not as popular of a choice as veggies, fruits can add flavor to an otherwise dull sandwich – especially if you are craving something a little bit sweeter. Chopped apples, diced cranberries, halved grapes, or citrus fruits can make a tasty – and healthy – addition to your sandwich.
Meats – Often toted as the most important part of the sandwich, meat can also be the largest source of saturated fat – which can also cause your cholesterol levels to increase. Meat can be included incorporated into your cholesterol-friendly diet in moderation. Here are some ways to include meat in your sandwich, without severely impacting your cholesterol levels:
- Use lean cuts – Some meats do not contain as much fat, which may make them a better choice than certain fattier cuts. Try these helpful tips on selecting leaner meats for your sandwich.
- Add fish instead – Fish can be an excellent, heart-healthy alternative addition to a sandwich. Salmon and tuna have healthy omega-3 fats that can help keep your heart healthy and your triglycerides within healthy range.
- Add meat alternatives – Adding beans or tofu to your sandwich can add bulk and protein to your diet – without the excess fat.
Cheeses - Cheese can be a good source of calcium - and saturated fat. When looking for cheeses to go on your sandwich, try opting for low fat cheeses over others.
Some sandwich spreads can add a lot of flavor to your sandwich – and fat if you’re not careful. When looking for spreads to add to your sandwich, always check your food labels for cholesterol and saturated fat content. Safer sandwich additions to your heart-healthy sandwich include:
- Olive oil
Other spreads may contain excess sugars or fats that can cause your cholesterol levels – and waistline – to increase. If you decide to use any of the below spreads, use them sparingly or look for low-fat alternatives:
- Creamy dressings
The possibilities for constructing the perfect, cholesterol diet-friendly sandwich are endless given the variety of healthy foods available to you. Combining your sandwich with healthy side items will not only ensure a tasty and filling meal – it will also help keep your heart healthy.
Wardlaw GM, Hampl JS, DiSilvestro RA. Perspectives in Nutrition 8th edition. 2008. McGraw Hill Publishers. New York, NY.