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Build a slimmer, tastier sandwich

Whether you’re brown-bagging it or stopping by the deli, choose a lunch — without fattening condiments or extras — that will keep you full until dinner. Aim for a sandwich that is around 400 to 500 calories, fiber-rich and loaded with veggies, says registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward. She shows you how in four simple steps.Bread winner Good ’Wich: Go for whole-wheat bread or mix things up
/ Source: TODAY

Whether you’re brown-bagging it or stopping by the deli, choose a lunch — without fattening condiments or extras — that will keep you full until dinner. Aim for a sandwich that is around 400 to 500 calories, fiber-rich and loaded with veggies, says registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward. She shows you how in four simple steps.

Bread winner

  • Good ’Wich: Go for whole-wheat bread or mix things up with a whole-grain wrap or pita. Choose a variety that is high in fiber — at least 2 grams per slice — which will help you stay satisfied longer.
  • Wicked ’Wich: Avoid highly refined carbs like white bread, rolls and croissants since fiber is removed during the milling process. Also beware of wheat breads disguised as whole grain check the label carefully to make sure you’re getting the real thing.

Protein power

  • Good ’Wich: Choose 3-ounce servings of a low-calorie and low-fat protein like turkey (2 slices), tuna (1/2 can), chicken or salmon. For a vegetarian option, try a Mediterranean-inspired sandwich with 4 tablespoons of hummus.
  • Wicked ’Wich: Bologna, liverwurst and pastrami are typically higher in calories, fat and saturated fat. Just one slice of bologna can have up to 90 calories (about three times more than turkey) and 3 grams of saturated fat.

Mass produce

  • Good ’Wich: The more, the better. Veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, cucumbers and spinach are good sources of fiber and water, which quench hunger.
  • Wicked ’Wich: There’s no such thing as a “bad” fruit or veggie, but watch out for pitfalls. Go easy on avocados, which contain healthy fats yet are high in calories. Stick with a few thin slices or a tablespoon of guacamole. Rinse and drain canned veggies like mushrooms or olives to get rid of excess oil.

Top it off

  • Good ’Wich: Perk up your sandwich with a spread that has 50 calories or fewer, such as honey or Dijon mustard or low-fat mayo.
  • Wicked ’Wich: Cheese is the biggest diet danger — one slice of the full-fat kind contains more than 100 calories and about 10 g fat. Cheese lovers should opt for an ounce or less of a variety marked 50 percent or 75 percent reduced fat. Even a small portion of grated cheddar, goat cheese, provolone or Muenster adds a lot of flavor.

Sandwich ideas:

Healthy whole wheat sandwich (vegetarian)

  • 2 Slices whole grain bread
  • Sliced smoked tofu
  • Baby spinach
  • Light mayo
  • Thinly sliced red pepper

Healthy wrap

  • Low fat whole wheat wrap
  • 2 Ounces sliced turkey (two slices)
  • 2 Thin tomato slices
  • 2/3 Cup shredded lettuce
  • 6 Cucumber slices
  • 1 Tablespoon fat-free Thousand Island dressing

Healthy pita

  • Whole wheat pita
  • 3 Ounces thinly sliced chicken breast
  • 1/2 Cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 4 Lettuce leaves
  • 1 Small tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 Cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

Additional tips:

Start with a healthy base — the first ingredient on the bread label must say either whole grain or whole wheat.

Slip in a surprising twist — 1/2 cup of sliced apples or pears adds crunch and flavor for fewer than 50 calories.

Don’t go overboard — one serving of chicken (3 ounces) is about the same size as a deck of cards.

Spread on sweetness — whip up your own condiment, like try blending Dijon mustard with apricot jam.