Pep up your vegetable sandwiches

Sandwiches are the easiest possible food preparations. They can be very simple or very elaborate. They are suitable for any meal, any part of the day or night. They fit in as a snack, as a breakfast item, and as a meal. This can be as a part of the meal or as the whole and complete meal. They can be made by anybody, at any age, amateur or professional.

Sandwiches can be made as open sandwiches, with just one slice of bread; as a regular, with two slices having the filling sandwiched inbetween; or as a club sandwich, also called a double-decker, with two levels of filling and three slices. The dressings can also be made according to choice.

The variety in sandwiches also depends upon the type of bread used. White bread, mixed bread, multi grain bread, rye bread, seed bread, sweet bread, nuts and raisins added fruit breads, garlic, spiced or masala bread – what have you! People’s imagination is soaring to discover new and interesting varieties.

The sandwich business is so wide and popular that we have MNCs running huge businesses globally. They are without doubt the fastest and most convenient foods available, the world over.

Now, let me come down to some basic information on how to pep up the nutritive value of your sandwich, as per your taste. I am focusing on pepping up vegetarian sandwiches, as the non-vegetarian sandwiches are already pepped up providing high protein and may be, high fat too. Some of these are common knowledge to many people, but looking at them with their nutritional values may be interesting.

Table:  Nutritive values of sandwiches
Food Protein Fat Fibre Carbs Energy Calcium Iron
Bread,brown.2slices 3.5 0.50 0.5 19.6 98 7.2 1.0
Bread,white,2slices 3.2 0.25 0.1 20.8 98 4.4 0.4
Butter,10g. 8.1 73
Paneer,25g. 4.6 6.0 1.1 66 52
Potato masala 50g 0.8 0.2 11.3 49 5.0 0.2
Besan 20g 4.2 1.1 0.2 12.0 74 11 1.1
Peanut,roasted 25g 6.5 10.0 0.8 6.7 142 19.0 0.8
Dhal,green gram,25g 6.1 0.3 0.2 15.0 87 31.0 1.1
Egg,half,25g 3.3 3.3 43 15.0
White bread,1 slice 4.0 2.0 2.0 37.0 140
Std.PBJ 17.0 17.0 8.0 56.0 380
Fast food s/w 25.0 20.0 2.0 37.0 430

Source: Nutritive values calculated from : Gopalan,,Nutritive Value of Indian Foods
The last three values were taken from the net: My Fitness Pal

From the above table, we can calculate the value of sandwiches. For instance, just two slices of bread, very slightly buttered using 10g. butter, will provide 171 calories. If a paneer sandwich is made, it will increase to: 171 + 66 = 237 cals. Similarly, you can work out the other items.

Peanut roasted adds 142 cals, but it also provides more protein and the fat is from a plant source, so it’s a good filling to use. Just imagine, if it is the famous PBJ (peanut butter, jam/jelly) sandwich – It will raise the calories to nearly 400 !!

Besides the usual fillings, you can go for unusual ones from the left overs of dhal and vegetable preparations by adding some spices, sauces, pickles and so on. As I am from Andhra, I would use Avakai, gongura, pappu podi, other thokkus and podis. Instead of butter, I use a very light spread of ghee with the above items. When I was in college and in the hostel, the tea-time bread butter used to be dry, so we used to dip it into the sweet lime juice instead of the tepid tea.

Try it, you may like it and it won’t add extra calories.

You can add nuts and dry fruits by grinding them together and using as a spread. Wherever, high fat dressings and moist dressings are used, you can omit the butter and thus reduce the calories.

So you see, the sandwich is a very convenient and versatile food and it can be made to suit individual tastes and needs. It can be used for weight gain or loss, depending on the dressings and fillings. All it needs is a liking for bread. I say this because, in our country, people consider bread mainly as a diet for the sick !!

Malathi Mohan

The author is a retired professor of WCC, Chennai; retired Dean, Academy of Fitness Management, Chennai and Past President, Indian Dietetic Association

Image: Getty Images