Back-to-school season (virtual or not) is also sandwich season. Sandwiches can be healthy and balanced meal options, as well as an easy, convenient choice when working from home. Ideally, a sandwich has a mixture of complex carbohydrates (Think: whole-grain bread), healthy fats, lean protein and fiber to help keep you full and satiated throughout the afternoon
Whether you’re looking for a new way to use tuna, or you’re seeking some exciting plant-based options to add to your routine, the sandwich opportunities are endless. Below are some of our favorites that revolve around key pantry staples.
MASHED CHICKPEA SALAD SANDWICH
This plant-based, protein-packed sandwich is easy to make. Start with a can of chickpeas and use a potato masher to smash them to your desired consistency. Add a healthy fat — like Greek yogurt or avocado — for texture. Next, top with greens, sprouts, lettuce, onion or other veggies to up the fiber content. For even more flavor, consider add-ins like lemon juice, mustard, dill, garlic and a dash of salt and pepper.
While ordinary peanut butter and jelly will always be a go-to, consider elevating the classic sandwich with different nut butters like sunflower seed, almond butter or cashew butter. Instead of regular jam, try making it more nutrient-dense by using real fruit — try fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries or blackberries — which has more fiber. You can also sprinkle on chia, flax or hemp seeds for extra protein and micronutrients, like iron, calcium and B-vitamins.
Canned tuna is a convenient and inexpensive pantry staple that adds more protein to your diet. When it comes to tuna sandwiches, elevate yours by adding lemon juice, chopped celery, gut-friendly pickles and hot sauce. Toss it on a pressed panini or fill a whole-wheat wrap instead of putting it between two pieces of bread for extra flare.
LENTIL SLOPPY JOES
Brown, green, yellow, red or black — lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and are rich in iron. Swap some (or all) of the meat in a traditional sloppy Joes sandwich for lentils. They’re a budget-friendly pantry staple that can help you get more bang for your buck. Add your favorite sauces and flavorings (like barbecue sauce or canned tomatoes) and serve on a roll, wrap or bread.
UPGRADED GRILLED CHEESE
While a simple grilled cheese is a delicious option on its own, adding pantry or freezer items can also help elevate the nutrition profile. In the pantry, consider canned tomatoes, peas or beets for a fun twist and an added serving of vegetables. Or, for a sweeter option, consider pear or peach slices with a little bit of honey to complement the melted cheese.
Put non-perishables, frozen veg, canned beans and other staples to good use by searching for recipes in our Pantry Staples collection in the MyFitnessPal app under “Recipe Discovery.”