Sometimes you’re in the mood for a classic sandwich, but after allocating SmartPoints® values for the best part—the bread!—you might not want to dip back into your daily Budget. Good news: There are so many healthy sandwich fillings that are perfect to chow down on while losing weight since they won’t cost you a single SmartPoint. And it goes beyond ZeroPoint foods like sliced turkey breast, poached eggs, and smoked salmon, which can totally hit the spot but get boring after a while.
Feel like chickpea curry, tuna salad, or a delicious twist on chicken? Turns out there’s a zero-SmartPoints value recipe that will make your mouth water.
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But first, bread!
To assemble a sandwich that helps you meet your weight loss goals, start with the bun, wrap, or slice using these suggestions from Karen Ansel, MS, RDN, and author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging: Stay Younger, Live Longer:
1. Stick with 100-percent whole grain bread.
That’s because whole grains contain the wheat’s bran and germ. “Those are the most nutritious parts of the kernel,” she says, mostly because they contain filling fiber and essential nutrients. Even better: Whole grains are digested slowly, meaning they help keep hunger at bay, she adds.
2. Beware of health claims on bread packaging.
Just because something says “ancient grains” or “double fiber” doesn’t mean it’s any better or more nutritious. Her advice? Always go beyond the slogan, look at the ingredients list, and pay attention to the serving size you’re getting.
3. Avoid added sugar (and sugar posing as other ingredients!)
A standard serving of bread has about 3 grams of sugar, Ansel says. Because sugar can contribute unnecessary calories and cost you extra SmartPoints all without leaving you more satisfied, try to avoid options that contain more than that by looking for the words “sugar,” “high fructose corn syrup,” and other sweeteners like agave in the ingredients list. “It can have a ‘health halo’ around it, but it’s still sugar,” she says of all-natural additives such as honey.
4. While you’re at it, watch out for sodium, too.
“It’s not that bread’s swimming in sodium—it’s that we [as a society] eat a lot of bread,” Ansel says of why it’s smart to look out for excess salt. Compare labels and go for options that contain less it, then seek out higher quantities of protein and fiber instead. No patience for label scouring? “Sprouted grain bread has little to no sodium at all,” she adds—a great tip to add to your grocery shopping cheat sheet.
5. Try something besides traditional sliced bread.
Ansel suggests eating 100% whole grain six-inch corn tortillas (made entirely from corn) for around 55 calories a piece. (You can also make your own for just 1 SmartPoints value with this recipe.)
Another smart option is the classic English muffin. “It has a lot of air in it,” Ansel points out—which could be why a half contains about 80 calories or less, and makes a great open sandwich.
You can also put your fillings in or on top of veggies! Lettuce wraps are a great way to hold delicious fillings without the added SmartPoints values. Plus, they add an extra crunch! “Portobello mushrooms also make a great stand-in,” Ansel adds. You won’t miss your bun.