As a nutrition major in college with classes falling almost always during lunch time I found myself eating in the lecture-hall far more often than not. In that, I wasn’t alone, almost all my classmates ate at least a snack during class. What I was alone in, however, was what I tended to bring: a sandwich. Normally one made with Teddie’s peanut butter.
I’ve said it for years, and despite recent trends away from breads I stand by it, everything is better in sandwich form.
Cheese…Grilled Cheese. Corned beef…Reuben. Eggs…Bacon, egg and cheese. Pulled pork…on a bun. Cranberry sauce…let’s face it the left-over sandwiches are the best part of Thanksgiving food. Meatballs…meatball sub. Hummus…in a pita pocket filled with veggies. Soup…bread bowl. And, of course, peanut butter…the classic PB&J.
Even if you don’t agree with me that soup in a bread bowl counts as a sandwich (but come on, it’s a filling wrapped in bread), take a moment to appreciate how convenient and delicious sandwiches can be.
Imagine trying to pack a peanut butter and jelly for lunch without the aid of bread…what are you going to do, bring the jars and a spoon? (For some of you I know the answer is yes.) But seriously, what if you were hiking…you want to carry all that extra weight? Or you can’t bring a bag at all! What if you were flying and they count peanut butter as a liquid? What if you needed to fit all your snacks for the day in a pocket, still going to bring the jar?
Anyway that’s not really why I’m writing about sandwiches. Some of us will be sandwich lovers and some of us will be sandwich dislikers (I can’t bring myself to believe someone could hate all sandwiches ever created) and that’s life. But…what I can expect from people is a basic appreciation and respect for those of us who fall on the love side, or maybe need to be on the love side of the sandwich spectrum.
I have seen dozens of articles over the past couple years advocating for salads as opposed to sandwiches as the lunch break staple. And, I get it.
Salads often provide more vegetables packed with important vitamins and minerals than sandwiches do (although a veggie-filled pita pocket could rival any salad). For individuals trying to lose weight or control chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease, a salad is a great option.
But…carbohydrates – like those contained in breads – are the best source of fuel for our muscles and brain.
So for those of us who run, bike, swim, dance, lift, play a sport of any kind or just have a lot of studying to do…those carbohydrates and calories contained in the bread of a sandwich are essential for health.
And health, should come before trying to appear healthy.
I’m not sure about you, but I certainly have stood in line at a restaurant, contemplating a menu, debating between what I really wanted – a sandwich filled with protein and veggies of some kind – and what I as a self-proclaimed “healthy person” should be eating: a salad. I can vividly remember those times I went against my better instincts, ordered the salad and found myself feeling tired, with a headache and stomach growling not one hour later.
The more I’ve learned about nutrition, the more I’ve realized that all food groups – including carbohydrates and fats found in bread – are essential to a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Health isn’t a few pieces of chicken and a pile of vegetables at each meal. Health isn’t how your plate looks to others (or your inner critic). Instead, health is choosing a variety of foods to fuel your body and make you smile whether it’s a salad or a sandwich.