We Can Do Better Than A Sandwich for Healthy Yet Quick!

Wondering why you may be seeing all kinds of promos for buy one get one free at Subway or deep discounts at your local deli?

Today is Sandwich Day.

Sandwiches, a daily luncheon staple for millions of Americans, have a history that dates back about 250 years.

John Montagu was the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Among other things, the 4th Earl of Sandwich was a heavy gambler. Montagu often spent many long hours in London’s gambling parlors. In 1762, he created the sandwich, by putting meat between two pieces of bread. This allowed him to remain at the gambling table for long periods of time. The sandwich was named after him[1]

Why are they so popular?

You guessed it; in a society where we’re in a big, fat (pun intended) hurry all the time, and can’t be bothered to take the time to actually stop and have a meal, slopping together some sliced, processed meat between two pieces of bread makes for a fast preparation of an easy lunch (or dinner, or breakfast) to go.

The reason lies in its suitability to the national life-style. Like sneakers and blue jeans, sandwiches are comfortable, adaptable and practical.[2]

Of course, sandwiches can run the gamut from uber basic peanut butter and jelly on white to elaborate creations of haute cuisine, such the one created by a fashionable, New York restaurant which has been deemed the world’s most expensive sandwich – costing $214 each.

Edged in 24-carat gold, the upmarket take on a classic grilled cheese is made with the finest ingredients such as champagne, lobster and truffle oil. 

The extravagant snack must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance to give chefs at the exclusive Serendipity 3, based in New York, plenty of time to prepare the masterpiece[3].

While that is certainly more of an example of the extreme, one might also argue that it’s a bit extreme for our society to be so heavily reliant on prioritizing ease over health when it comes to what we eat.

A sandwich may be easy to slap together in two minutes, but they are often far from nourishing or nutritious.

It’s not just something we’re eating every once in a while; each day, 50% of America eats one and researchers now estimate that sandwiches account for one-fifth of the nation’s total daily sodium intake (30 percent of the sodium a person who’s not on a restricted diet needs to consume in a single day). In addition to having a higher daily sodium intake, sandwich eaters also consumed about 300 kilocalories more than people who didn’t opt for sliced bread that day[4].

Granted, it’s not that easy to somehow magically create more time in the day to cook a healthy meal or to make cooking itself appealing to anyone who isn’t naturally inclined to do so, but consider a few easy fixes:

  • If you’re at home, rather than slap some processed bologna between two pieces of bread, why not slice last night’s leftover chicken and wrap it up in a few Bibb lettuce leaves along with some avocado and spinach? Or roll up some salmon in a couple of sheets of Nori and a carrot?
  • On the go- it’s just as easy to order what would have been a sandwich as a salad or a ‘veggie bowl’. Mainstream franchises like Subway and Chipotle make it easy to opt for a bowl in lieu of a wrap, sandwich or tortilla.
  • If you are of the not so Paleo persuasion and do chose to include bread in your regime, at the very least, go gluten free and sprouted. Still a meal higher in anti nutrients and more inflammatory than without, but less offensive to the gut than gluten.   In addition, focus on protein and fat and make it open faced to reduce the amount of processed carbohydrates and subsequent glycemic load you’d otherwise be inundating your body with.

Just by broadening your thinking even a tad, it’s easy to see how fast and easy does not have to equal unhealthy!








[1] “November 3 Holiday – Sandwich Day at Holiday Insights.” November 3 Holiday – Sandwich Day at Holiday Insights. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2015.


[2] “Celebrate National Sandwich Day With This 1986 Ode to Our Favorite Lunch.” Time. Time, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2015

[3] Mailonline, Hannah Parry For. “New York Restaurant Create World’s Most Expensive Grilled Cheese Sandwich For $214.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 10 June 2015. Web. 02 Nov. 2015.

[4] “Each Day, 50 Percent of America Eats a Sandwich.” Smithsonian. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2015.