Diabetes Forecast

The Healthy Living Magazine

Making Super Sandwiches

By Robyn Webb, MS, LN ,

They're among the most simple lunches, and the most portable. But sandwiches can pose a problem for people with diabetes, given the carbohydrate content of bread—to say nothing of the tendency to go heavy on the fat with meats, cheeses, and mayo. This month, we've taken a close look at some great ways to make healthy sandwiches that allow you to dine in style—even if you're just lunching at your desk.

[ 1 ] Whole wheat naan

[ 2 ] Multigrain sandwich thin

[ 3 ] Whole wheat multigrain

[ 4 ] Middle Eastern flatbread

[ 5 ] Whole-grain

[ 6 ] Pumpernickel

[ 7 ] Whole wheat tortilla

[ 8 ] 10-grain

[ 9 ] Multigrain rustic

1. Bread

Slice It. First step: Dump the white bread. It's not doing you any favors. Luckily, there's a plethora of delicious whole-grain options available today: whole wheat, seven- or nine-grain, oatmeal bread, whole rye, spelt, and many others. And those are just the traditional slices. There's also Indian whole wheat chapati and naan, Mexican whole-grain or corn tortillas, whole wheat English muffins, and Middle Eastern whole wheat pita bread. Another option: low-carb breads, some of which are better than others, so you may want to taste test.

Since whole-grain breads can turn rancid faster than their white-flour counterparts, use whole-grain bread up quickly if you are going to leave it on the kitchen counter. Otherwise, keep it in the fridge, or store it tightly wrapped in a heavy plastic bag in the freezer for up to three months.

2. Fillings

Load It. Time to think beyond good ol' PB&J. The sandwich recipes here and here give you a solid foundation from which to create hundreds of variations. The sandwich salads (chicken, tuna, or egg) cut fat by using nonfat Greek-style yogurt as a substitute for the mayo and eliminating most of the yolks from the egg salad. Add fruits and vegetables to pump up the nutrition value and capers, sun-dried tomatoes, or pickles for another punch of flavor. Looking to reduce carbs? An easy way is to make an open-faced sandwich, which by definition cuts down on the bread.

Or you can take a break from the sliced stuff and pack a tortilla with meat and veggies for a fiber-filled roll-up. Use fresh-cooked meats if possible; otherwise, look for deli meats that are lowest in sodium and fat. Store sliced protein no more than two to three days in the refrigerator.

Veggie pockets are a great way to boost your vegetable intake for the day. Tuck your favorite salad fixings into a whole wheat pita, then drizzle on your favorite low-fat salad dressing—or just some vinegar and olive oil.

At a Glance: Clever Combos

[ 1 ] For a tuna salad, try adding carrots, capers, and dill. [ 2 ] Chicken salad goes well with sliced almonds, curry powder, and halved grapes. [ 3 ] Egg salad can be a bit bland, but bits of bacon, chives, and paprika are sure to liven it up.

3. Toppings and Spreads

Dress It. Store-bought mayonnaise is just plain drab compared with the rainbow of possible spreads for sandwiches. If you're not eating right away, store the spread separately, and add just before serving.

Even if you're just making a traditional sandwich between two slices of bread, consider going beyond the usual lettuce and tomato. Possibilities include: shredded carrots, spinach or arugula leaves, sliced zucchini or yellow squash, chopped canned artichoke hearts, roasted red or yellow pepper strips, sliced or diced green chilies, and thinly sliced apple or avocado.

At a Glance: Spreads
Green Mayonnaise Italian Cream Cheese Spread Horseradish Mustard Spread Mango Chutney


Sandwich Salads
Roast Beef and Cheese Wrap
Mediterranean Vegetable Pita Sandwich With Avocado Spread
Green Mayonnaise
Italian Cream Cheese Spread
Horseradish Mustard Spread


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While she’s still spinning music, DJ Spinderella (aka Deidra Roper) is no longer spinning her wheels when it comes to getting the right information to help her family members who have diabetes. Read more >