Try one of these seven better-for-you healthy sandwich spreads and take the nutritional value of your sandwich to a whole new level.
We are a nation who loves sandwiches, and it’s no secret why. Between the limitless options for proteins, veggies, spreads, and breads, it’s quite the versatile meal option. In fact, 50 percent of Americans consume a sandwich every day. While no sandwich is complete without the perfect spread, think outside the traditional condiment box and switch things up with these healthy sandwich spreads.
This article originally appeared on Fox News Health.
7 Healthy Sandwich Spreads
- Roasted garlic spread
- Mashed berries
- Cottage cheese
- Smashed avocado
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Nut butter
Let’s take a closer look at how you can use all of these nutritious and delicious spreads.
1. Roasted garlic spread instead of cheese
Nobody is asking you to give up cheese, but if you are throwing on a slice just to add some interest to your sandwich, there is a simple alternative to try. You might find that savory flavor is easily replaced with a low calorie, low sodium alternative like roasted garlic.
How to make at home: Roast a few bulbs of garlic in the oven with some olive oil, peel, and blend. Voila! This produces a spread that has a rich umami flavor with no sodium and very few calories. Try it on a Panini with some roasted chicken breast and fresh tomato slices for a light take on chicken parmesan.
2. Mashed berries instead of jam
While your jam may have pictures of fruit on the label, reading the nutrition facts tells a different story. You would need to eat 5 tablespoons of jam to reach just one gram of fiber—and that comes along with 278 calories of sugar!
Using smashed fruit gives you more fiber with fewer calories: 6 large, smashed strawberries provide 2 grams of fiber with only 35 calories. For an extra touch of sweetness, drizzle some honey on top.
How to make at home: Choose a berry of choice (raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries work great). With a fork smash the berries so that they turn into a textured liquid consistency. Spoon onto your bread for a sweet addition to your sandwich.
3. Hummus instead of mustard or mayonnaise
While mustard and mayonnaise are condiment staples, they offer very little in terms of nutritional value. Instead, try topping your sandwich with this healthy sandwich spread with nutrient-rich beans. Look for hummus brands with a few simple ingredients, such as fresh chickpeas, tahini, and a touch of garlic.
For example, two heaping spoonfuls of an all-natural hummus provides about 1/4 cup of chickpeas (or 1/2 serving of vegetables) – a delicious and easy way to meet weekly MyPlate recommendations for bean intake, while also boosting intake of plant protein, fiber and unsaturated fat.
How to make at home: Mix chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and any other flavorings in a food processor. Great flavor additions include roasted red pepper, cilantro jalapeño, and cucumber dill.
4. Cottage cheese instead of cream cheese
Bagels with cream cheese may be a Sunday staple, but you can feel good eating this every day by swapping in a higher-protein alternative. One-quarter cup of low-fat cottage cheese has only 45 calories and 7 grams of protein, whereas the same amount of regular cream cheese has four times the calories and half the protein–plus saturated fat.
Cream cheese brands can vary in curd size, ingredients, and sodium composition. Experiment with different ones until you find a taste and texture that suits your tastebuds. You can even find whipped cottage cheese, which is the closest texture to cream cheese.
Pair your cottage cheese topping with a whole grain bagel for a breakfast with fiber and protein for staying power.
5. Smashed avocado instead of mayonnaise
If you like the creaminess and richness of mayonnaise, try blending some smashed avocado for a lower calorie option. Just two tablespoons of mayonnaise contain over 200 calories, about four times the amount in the same amount of avocado.
Plus, avocado adds healthy fats and more than 20 different vitamins and minerals for good health.
How to make at home: Cut avocado into slices, and either blend in a food processor, or smash with a fork. Add a little lemon juice to elevate the flavor, and get that familiar tang that mayonnaise brings to sandwiches. If you want to spice things up, drizzle on a little hot sauce of your liking.
6. Yogurt instead of mayonnaise in tartar sauce
Whether grilled or deep-fried, tartar sauce is a nice, bright addition to any fish sandwich. While the original version is mayonnaise based, you can create a lower fat, higher protein version by swapping in Greek yogurt.
One tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt has only 13 calories and 2.5 grams of protein, whereas one tablespoon of regular mayonnaise has about 100 calories and no protein.
How to make at home: Simply substitute plain Greek yogurt for mayonnaise in the recipe and add in the other ingredients you love, such as pickles, mustard, vinegar, and capers.
7. Nut butter instead of butter
Next time you’re topping your toast in the morning, go for a nut butter instead of the standard yellow spread and boost your nutrient intake. Unlike regular butter, nut butters (like peanut butter, cashew butter, and almond butter) offer healthy fats, protein, and fiber for staying power, as well as vitamins for good health.
At the store, look for all-natural nut butters without fillers. For example, the ingredients on an all-natural peanut butter will read “roasted peanuts and sea salt” – that’s it! For some added flavor and health benefits, dust the nut butter with cinnamon.
How to make at home: Choose your nut of choice or go for a combination of different nuts. Add to a food processor, and blend until the nuts turn into a more liquid, sticky consistency.
Looking for more healthy sandwich spreads and flavor ideas?
From thick spreads, to sauces and dressings, the flavor options for your sandwiches are endless! Try one of these delicious recipes: