5 Expert Tips to Elevate Your Typical Sandwich

Sarah Schlichter, RD
by Sarah Schlichter, RD
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5 Expert Tips to Elevate Your Typical Sandwich

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.



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.



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.



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.”

About the Author

Sarah Schlichter, RD
Sarah Schlichter, RD

Sarah is a registered dietitian based in the Washington, DC area. She works with athletes on fueling for their sports without strict dieting. Sarah is also a nutrition consultant and writes the blog, Bucket List Tummysharing nutrition posts, healthy family-friendly recipes and running tips.


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