Building a Balanced Diet with a Better Sandwich

Fad diets come and go, and as many Americans find, so do the pounds they lose. Most experts agree that eliminating, or drastically reducing, any of the major foods groups from your diet can be detrimental to your health and prevent you from achieving long-term healthy eating goals.

Each of the food groups plays a distinct role in fueling your body and providing it with the vitamins and nutrients it needs. Attempt a well-rounded approach to eating, such as one that includes more nutritious choices for popular dishes like sandwiches. In general, pay attention to the variety, amount and nutrition of the foods you consume.

Consider these ideas for creating a balanced diet and a nutritious sandwich to help ensure you get enough of each food group:

Start from the Outside

There are two groups of grains: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel, while refined grains have been milled for a finer texture and are required to be enriched per government mandate to help the population make up for nutrient shortfalls. Grains should account for about one quarter of each meal, but at least half of them should be whole grains – a fact that may surprise some people.

“Many health professionals mistakenly encourage consumers to skip the bread when trying to improve diets,” said Yanni Papanikolaou from Nutrition Strategies Inc., who completed a study to assess the energy and nutrients contributed from sandwiches in diets of children and adolescents. “Americans need to think twice before cutting bread from their diets. In fact, bread packs more of a nutrient punch than a caloric one.”

The ingredients inside a sandwich, not the bread itself, are the most significant drivers of calories, fat and sodium, according to Papanikolaou’s research. A separate study published in the journal “Nutrients” shows grain foods contribute less than 15 percent of all calories in the total diet, while delivering greater than 20 percent of three shortfall nutrients – dietary fiber, folate and iron – and greater than 10 percent of calcium, magnesium and vitamin A.

Consumers can significantly and positively impact their caloric, fat and sodium intake by making more deliberate decisions about sandwich ingredients, including choosing either whole-grain or enriched-grain bread. Find more information about the role of grains in a healthy diet at GrainFoodsFoundation.org.

Rethink the Ingredients

Making more nutritious choices with sandwiches and positively impacting your consumption of calories, fat and sodium is oftentimes a matter of changing the way you stack ingredients between the bread. Consider this sample sandwich: two slices of whole-grain or enriched bread, 2-3 slices of lunchmeat, two slices of cheese, a few spinach or lettuce leaves and a slice of tomato.

Contrary to popular belief, research shows that sandwich eaters who choose either whole- or enriched-grain bread can consume less calories, fat and sodium compared to the typical sandwich consumed in the American diet. This demonstrates the need to focus on the ingredients between the bread for a better (more healthful) sandwich.

Try a different take on a lunchtime favorite by adding spicy horseradish to this Roast Beef and Arugula Sandwich, or make packing a lunch even simpler with this Ultra-Thin Pastrami Sandwich Lunchbox.

Protein

According to the USDA, most Americans get about the right amount of protein in their diets, but could do better at choosing leaner options and adding more variety to their menus.

Incorporating more variety doesn’t have to mean sacrificing convenience. For example, while prepared meats like deli meats, hot dogs and jerky are sometimes a target of critics, numerous studies and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans affirm they can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Prepared beef products provide a convenient source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Because most prepared meats are pre-cooked, they offer consumers easy, on-the-go access to the nutrient density in meat.

The prepared meats category is diverse and offers choices to meet nutrition needs, tastes, budgets and personal preferences. Thousands of products are available in the meat case, including low- and reduced-sodium products, low- and reduced-fat products, American Heart Association-certified, organic, Kosher grass-fed options and more. Learn more at meatpoultrynutrition.org.

Roast Beef and Arugula Sandwich

Recipe courtesy of the Grain Foods Foundation

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 2

  • 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons horseradish
  • 4 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 ounces lean roast beef, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup arugula or wild greens
  1. Spread mayonnaise and horseradish evenly over two bread slices.
  2. Layer tomato, roast beef and arugula on top of mayonnaise and horseradish. Top with remaining bread slices.

Ultra-Thin Pastrami Sandwich Lunchbox

Recipe courtesy of the North American Meat Institute

Servings: 1

  • 2 slices thin whole-wheat sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat garden vegetable cream cheese
  • 1 ounce ultra-thin pastrami
  • 1 ounce unsalted pretzels
  • 1 apple
  • 1 squeezable low-fat yogurt
  • 1 water bottle (8 fluid ounces)
  1. Using knife, spread bread slices with cream cheese. Layer pastrami on bottom slice and top with second slice.
  2. Fill lunchbox with sandwich, pretzels, apple, yogurt and water bottle. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
North American Meat Institute

Grain Foods Foundation

Diversify Your Dinner Menu

Crafting quick, easy, nutritious meals is one of the most common goals for home chefs, yet it may sometimes be difficult to keep the menu feeling fresh and new. By introducing a variety of ingredients, you can broaden the horizons of your family’s dinner options.

For creative, simple, tasty family meals, consider these globally inspired recipes that highlight inventive ways to incorporate veal as a satisfying main ingredient in nearly any dish. From sandwiches to salads, the versatility of an ingredient like veal can help you build out a full menu with a wide array of protein-rich dishes. With recipes like these, veal can become a staple on your family’s weekly menu.

Visit vealmadeeasy.com for additional recipes and complete nutrition information.

Classic Veal Parmesan Sandwiches

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 6          veal cutlets (3 ounces each)
  • salt, to taste
  •             ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2       cup all-purpose flour
  • 1          egg wash
  • 1          cup breadcrumbs
  • 1          cup vegetable oil
  • 12        tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 3          tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 6          slices provolone cheese
  • 6          slices mozzarella cheese
  • 6          sub rolls
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Pound each veal cutlet between sheets of parchment or plastic wrap until 1/4-inch thick.
  3. Blot veal dry. Season each cutlet with salt and pepper, to taste. Dredge veal in flour; shake off excess. Dip in egg wash and dredge in breadcrumbs.
  4. In large skillet over medium heat, heat about 1/8-inch oil to about 350 F. Working in batches, add breaded veal to hot oil and pan fry first side until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Turn once and pan fry second side until it reaches internal temperature of 160 F, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Drain on paper towels or wire rack set over baking sheet.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons tomato sauce to each veal cutlet and sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese on top. Add one slice provolone and mozzarella cheese to each cutlet.
  7. Place veal parmesan in oven 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese begins to melt and veal is hot.
  8. Add veal to sub rolls and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 45 g protein; 55 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 11 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 145 mg cholesterol; 908 mg sodium.

Veal Za’atar Flatbreads

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 1/4       cup za’atar seasoning
  • 3          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1          package (10 ounces) flatbreads
  • 1          onion (4 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1/2       pound ground veal
  • 1/4       cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1          tomato (6 ounces), cored and chopped
  • chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. Heat oven to 425° F. In small bowl, combine za’atar seasoning and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  2. Spread about 1 tablespoon za’atar mixture on each flatbread. Arrange flatbreads on large baking sheet; set aside.
  3. In 10-inch skillet over medium heat, heat remaining olive oil. Cook onion 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add veal and cook 4-5 minutes until no longer pink, stirring to break up meat.
  4. Remove skillet from heat; stir in feta cheese. Spoon 1/4 veal mixture onto each flatbread. Sprinkle each flatbread with tomato. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until hot. Sprinkle each flatbread with parsley.

Nutrition information per serving: 17 g protein; 40 g carbohydrate; 19 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 45 mg cholesterol; 760 mg sodium; 1 g fiber; 5 g total sugars; 10% DV calcium; 15% DV iron.

Mediterranean Grilled Salad

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 1          large orange (12 ounces)
  • 1/2       cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1          teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1          veal cutlet (12 ounces), pounded to 1/4-1/8-inch thick
  • 1          bulb fennel (7 ounces), trimmed, halved and cored
  • 1/2       small red onion (1 1/2 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2    cups cooked farro
  • 2          cups packed baby arugula (about 3 ounces)
  • 1          head radicchio (4 ounces), cored and torn (about 2 cups packed)
  • 1/2       cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1          ounce Parmesan cheese
  1. Grate 1/2 tablespoon zest from orange; reserve orange. Stir zest into salad dressing.
  2. Use knife to remove skin and pith from orange. Use knife to cut between fruit and membrane to release each orange section. Squeeze membrane to extract 1/4 cup juice; reserve juice and orange sections.
  3. In bowl, whisk reserved orange juice, mustard and salad dressing. Remove 1/4 cup dressing to re-sealable food storage bag. Add veal cutlets to dressing in bag. Re-seal bag and turn several times until veal is coated with dressing; set aside.
  4. Prepare grill or heat grill pan over medium-high heat on stovetop. Remove veal cutlets from dressing; discard dressing. Grill veal cutlets 5-6 minutes, turning once. Remove cutlets from heat. Place on cutting board and cut into bite-size pieces.
  5. Thinly slice fennel halves and place in bowl. Add red onion, farro, arugula and radicchio; toss. Add veal, orange sections, reserved salad dressing and hazelnuts.
  6. Draw blade of vegetable peeler across surface of cheese to make thin ribbons. Toss to coat with dressing. Divide salad among four bowls.

Nutrition information per serving (about 2 cups): 30 g protein; 36 g carbohydrate; 17 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 50 mg cholesterol; 560 mg sodium; 6 g fiber; 9 g total sugars; 3 mg iron; 539 mg potassium.

Veal, Spinach and Tomato Arepas

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 1/2       pound veal cutlets
  • 1          teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2    tablespoons olive oil
  • 2          green onions (1 ounce each), sliced
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 1          can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1/8       teaspoon salt
  • 2          cups packed baby spinach (about 2 1/2 ounces)
  • 4          arepas (5 inches in diameter)
  • 1/4       cup crumbled queso blanco cheese (1 ounce)
  1. Pound veal cutlets into 1/4-1/8-inch thickness; cut into 1-inch strips. Place in bowl and toss with cumin and chili powder.
  2. In 12-inch, nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Cook veal strips 1-2 minutes. Remove veal to plate; keep warm. In same skillet over medium heat, cook green onions and garlic 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt; over high heat, heat to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes until slightly reduced.
  3. Stir in spinach. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until spinach wilts and is tender. Return veal to skillet; heat through.
  4. To serve, heat skillet or griddle over medium heat. Toast arepas on each side until lightly browned and heated through, turning once.
  5. Cut each arepa in half horizontally. Top bottom half of each arepa with veal mixture. Sprinkle each with cheese; replace arepa tops.

Nutrition information per serving (1 arepa): 15 g protein; 12 g carbohydrate; 14 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 50 mg cholesterol; 450 mg sodium; 2 g total sugars; 10% DV calcium; 10% DV iron. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
North American Meat Institute