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Use Your Loaf

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Apparently, every person in the UK eats around 200 sandwiches a year.

Surprisingly though, just under a fifth of these are bought from shops. Instead, most of us make our own sandwiches, either to eat at home or to put in packed lunches. Sadly though we tend to be reasonably unadventurous with our sandwich fillings, and choose to make our sarnies with cheese, ham, chicken, jam or bacon.

Considering we eat around 200 sandwiches a year, there’s plenty of potential to shift those pounds, simply by opting for lower-fat fillings when it comes to buying or making sarnies.

Regular sandwiches tend to contain around 600 calories, whereas healthy sandwiches more commonly contain about 350 calories. That’s enough of a calorie saving to help you lose a massive 14lb – or 1 stone – in a year (assuming of course, you actually eat around 200 sarnies a year)!

To help you on your way, follow these tips…

  • Always check the calorie and fat content of ready-made sandwiches and opt for those with fewer calories. Usually, sandwiches in healthy eating ranges are lower in calories, but this may not always be the case so it’s worth checking.  
  • Opt for high-fibre bread – the fibre will help to fill you up and keep blood sugar levels steady for longer so you’re less likely to crave sugary carbs soon after eating.  
  • Down-size sarnies – opt for thin or medium-sized slices of bread rather than thick slices. And only ever have one round! 
  • Choose your fillings carefully – protein-packed skinless chicken, turkey, lean ham and beef, tuna canned in water and egg are also low in fat, making them a good option if you want to lose weight.  
  • Be careful with cheese – it’s high in fat and calories. Grating hard cheese such as Cheddar will make it go further. Alternatively opt for lower-calorie cheeses such as Brie, Edam, reduced-fat mozzarella, low-fat soft cheese or cottage cheese.  
  • Fill sandwiches with loads of salad – just one tomato or a 2 inch piece of cucumber both count as one of the five daily servings of fruit and veg. Alternatively, serve your sarnie with a bowl of salad.  
  • Don’t add salt, especially if you’re adding a little pickle or mayo. If you want more flavour, have a sprinkle of black pepper.  
  • Skip the butter or margarine – just 1 level teaspoon contains 37 calories and 4.1g fat. Instead, liven up fillings by spreading bread with these lower-fat options instead…
Table: Lower Fat Alternatives to Butter/Margarine
Sandwich spread Calories per teaspoon Fat grams per teaspoon
Pesto 26 2.4
Low-fat spread 20 2
Hummus 15 1.3
Reduced-fat mayo 14 1.4
Mashed avocado 9 1
Mustard 7 0.4
Low-fat soft cheese 7 0.4
Sweet pickle 7 0
Guacamole 6 0.6
Tzatziki 6 0.5
Salsa 2 0

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For More Information

The industry body behind the UK sandwich industry – www.sandwich.org.uk

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