We know that the same old sandwich for lunch can get a bit, well, BORING! If you’re feeling like you need a reprieve from your usual sammy, these ideas might be just what your brown bag needs. They combine fresh flavors and a combination of textures to keep your taste buds interested. Plus, they’re all under 400 calories and nutritionally balanced to give you energy to power through your afternoon.
Turkey, Pesto & Arugula: We think that pesto is underutilized in most kitchens, especially when it comes to lunch. In this sandwich idea, the flavorful condiment adds a ton of flavor, along with zesty, crisp arugula. Spread 2 tablespoons of pesto on a piece of whole grain baguette or between two slices of whole wheat bread. Layer on 3 ounces of turkey breast, a handful of arugula, and sliced tomato. Add a spritz of lemon juice to the arugula if you have a fresh lemon available (it adds a nice touch, but isn’t necessary.)
Note: You can use store bought or homemade pesto, but we prefer making a large batch of homemade pesto, freezing in ice cube trays, and using a single portion cube whenever needed.
Tuna Avocado Salad Sandwich: This “not-your-average” tuna salad recipe takes creamy avocado, pairs it with tangy Greek yogurt, and uses it as the perfect unexpected dressing for tuna salad. Using avocados adds plenty of healthy fats (and flavor!) to the sandwich too. Pair the sandwich with a piece of fruit or some crudité, and you’ll have a perfectly balanced lunch. Get the full recipe here.
BBQ Tempeh: If you’re not familiar with tempeh, it’s a soy product like tofu but with a firmer texture and a stronger, nuttier flavor. Tempeh is a great vegetarian way to pack protein and flavor into a sandwich, and barbeque sauce is the perfect accompaniment. We like this Barbeque Tempeh Sandwich recipe for the sandwich filling, which you can make ahead of time and save to use in a sandwich for lunch or over whole grain rice for dinner.
Whole Wheat Pizza Pocket: What’s better than pizza for lunch? We can think of a couple things. One: a healthy way to enjoy the flavors of pizza without going overboard on portions and calories, and two: pizza in a portable sandwich form you can make at home! This easy to assemble sandwich has both. Cut the top off of a medium sized whole wheat pita (just enough so that you can easily access the inside of the pita). Add 3 tablespoons of marinara sauce and 1/4 cup shredded 2% mozzarella. Layer in sliced green or red peppers and mushrooms, onions, and/or any other veggies you like. When it’s time to eat, you can either toast or microwave the sandwich until it’s warm and the cheese is melted. Eat your pizza pocket like a calzone!
Chocolate Walnut Butter and Banana: If you’re feeling like a little sweetness in your sandwich might be a nice break, you’ve got to try this one. It’s a nutty chocolate-banana combo that tastes more like dessert than lunch. Spread two tablespoons of this chocolate walnut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread. Layer with 1/2 of a sliced banana (eat the other half as a snack while you make your sandwich). If you like cinnamon, sprinkle some on. Top with another slice of bread.
Note: If you’ve never made your own nut butter, don’t worry, this recipe is simple and doesn’t require any special equipment other than a blender or food processor.
What are some of your favorite sandwiches?