If you can’t live without your daily BLT or consider yourself a major tuna melt lover, we have some bad news. Your daily lunchtime obsession might be the very thing preventing you from reaching your weight loss goal. So says an extensive Journal of Public Health study, at least. A little freaked out? Take a few breaths and continue reading—because it’s not all bad news in sandwich-ville.
First, here’s what you need to know: The study, which examined survey data from 25,075 American adults over a nine-year period, found that people consume an additional 100 calories on the days they gobble down a sandwich compared to the days they don’t indulge. They also take in 7 additional grams of fat and nearly 300 extra milligrams of sodium (a nutrient that’s been connected to weight gain). How’s that even possible? According to the report, not only do sandwiches account for 25 percent of sandwich lovers' daily calories, their hoagies also serve up to a third of their daily recommended fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium intake. Those numbers may not sound too bad but remember: that’s just one day’s damage. If you ate a sandwich every single day for a year, you’d consume 36,400 additional calories per year—which adds up to 10.4 pounds of fat!
We’re not saying ban sandwiches from your life forever, because A) they’re awesome and delicious B) there are healthier alternatives to the traditional processed deli meat-white bread combo. For example, Ezekiel 4:9 Low Sodium Sprouted Grain bread has just 80 calories per slice and absolutely no salt! Not to mention, it's also filled with fiber and healthy ancient grains. To cut the salt further, replace your go-to deli meat with grilled organic chicken. And to add additional nutrients to the equation, we suggest layering your creation with a handful of spinach and other yummy veggies like cucumber, tomato, and onion. For a hit of flavor, spread a tablespoon of hummus or some Dijon mustard onto your bread and kick that fatty mayo to the curb. By making these simple swaps, you’ll cut down on the amount of sodium and fat on your plate and fuel your body with the healthful nutrients it craves—all while eating your fave lunchtime staple. That’s what we like to call a win-win!