Convenience! It’s the number one, most important factor for many families when it comes to dinnertime. With all the after school and evening activities ramping up, preparing meals can be a real struggle. It’s no wonder many parents turn to fast food and junk food…it’s quick, it’s cheap and it’s convenient.Sad to say, but good food choices often get thrown out the window when things get busy. That’s why I propose the ever-versatile sandwich as the quintessential “fast food” for dinner. Sandwiches are convenient, easy on the budget (if you nix the crab and caviar) and, best of all, cooking can be minimal or not required at all. What more can busy parents ask for?While you might think of sandwiches as lunchtime fare, they are also the perfect answer for a quick dinner. Here are the basics:
Choose good quality bread -- preferably whole grain. Vary your choices with pita, a sprouted grain bun, an English muffin, a sandwich loaf, sourdough or whole grain rolls. Don’t forget tortillas — wraps count as sandwiches in my book too!
Add a filling such as turkey, cheese, hummus, egg salad, tuna, sardines, tofu or avocado. Don’t go overboard on quantity, though. A “Dagwood” type sandwich may not be the most healthful choice.
Pile on plenty of delicious, fresh veggies like grated carrots, sliced cucumbers and colorful bell peppers, tomatoes, red onions and sautéed mushrooms. Tip: Visit our salad bar and fill a container with toppings to go.
Green it up! There’s a glorious gamut of gorgeous greens to give your sandwich color, flavor and a nutritional boost. Try baby spinach, arugula, watercress, fresh herbs, cabbage and a variety of lettuces.
Remember, convenience is key! It’s easier to forgo the fast food stops when you’ve got what you need on hand to make quick healthy sandwiches. Stock your pantry and fridge so this is as easy as 1-2-3.Here are a few ideas to take you beyond the basics. Feel free to experiment!
Don’t stop at veggies alone. Adding fresh fruit to a sandwich is delicious and flavorful. These Mt. Tam Cheese and Turkey Baguette Sandwiches are made with an apple and fresh watercress, and these Cucumber Sandwiches with Strawberries and Watercress are fruity and fabulous.
Now’s the time to take advantage of the last of the season’s Heirloom tomatoes with this recipe for Heirloom Tomato BLTS. You can make them with natural, no-nitrate bacon or vegetarian tempeh bacon.
If you’re a BLT fan, you may want to try our version, veggie-style. TLC Sandwiches (tofu, lettuce and tomato) are delish!
Open-Face Ham and Brie Sandwiches call for baby spinach but would be equally great with arugula or watercress as well as assorted baby greens.
Dairy products such as cream cheese, cottage cheese and ricotta cheese make a wonderful, spreadable addition to a sandwich. Here’s a recipe for Smoked Salmon Sandwiches with Cream Cheese and Chives.
Here’s a recipe for Grilled Veggie and Goat Cheese Pitas. Remember, you can pick up the grilled veggies from the Prepared Foods section; no cooking required!
When I want a fast sandwich for dinner, I surrender to this personal favorite: Thin slices of grilled chicken breast, a few shavings of raw Manchego cheese (a favorite from Spain), avocado slices, and plenty of baby spinach and grilled fresh veggies piled high on whole grain bread. A little bit of heaven!Got a super sandwich idea that’s quick and convenient? Let me know.