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The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE -

Fad di­ets come and go, and as many Amer­i­cans find, so do the pounds they lose. Most ex­perts agree that elim­i­nat­ing, or dras­ti­cally re­duc­ing, any of the ma­jor foods groups from your diet can be detri­men­tal to your health and prevent you from achiev­ing long-term healthy eat­ing goals. Each of the food groups plays a dis­tinct role in fu­el­ing your body and pro­vid­ing it with the vi­ta­mins and nu­tri­ents it needs. At­tempt a well-rounded ap­proach to eat­ing, such as one that in­cludes more nu­tri­tious choices for pop­u­lar dishes like sandwiches. In gen­eral, pay at­ten­tion to the va­ri­ety, amount and nu­tri­tion of the foods you con­sume. Con­sider these ideas for cre­at­ing a bal­anced diet and a nu­tri­tious sand­wich to help en­sure you get enough of each food group:

Start from the Out­side

There are two groups of grains: whole grains and re­fined grains. Whole grains con­tain the en­tire grain ker­nel, while re­fined grains have been milled for a finer tex­ture and are re­quired to be en­riched per gov­ern­ment man­date to help the pop­u­la­tion make up for nu­tri­ent short­falls. Grains should ac­count for about one quar­ter of each meal, but at least half of them should be whole grains – a fact that may sur­prise some people. “Many health pro­fes­sion­als mis­tak­enly en­cour­age con­sumers to skip the bread when try­ing to im­prove di­ets,” said Yanni Pa­paniko­laou from Nu­tri­tion Strate­gies Inc., who com­pleted a study to as­sess the en­ergy and nu­tri­ents con­trib­uted from sandwiches in di­ets of chil­dren and ado­les­cents. “Amer­i­cans need to think twice be­fore cut­ting bread from their di­ets. In fact, bread packs more of a nu­tri­ent punch than a caloric one.” The in­gre­di­ents in­side a sand­wich, not the bread it­self, are the most sig­nif­i­cant driv­ers of calo­ries, fat and sodium, ac­cord­ing to Pa­paniko­laou’s re­search. A sep­a­rate study pub­lished in the jour­nal “Nu­tri­ents” shows grain foods con­trib­ute less than 15 per­cent of all calo­ries in the to­tal diet, while de­liv­er­ing greater than 20 per­cent of three short­fall nu­tri­ents – di­etary fiber, fo­late and iron – and greater than 10 per­cent of cal­cium, mag­ne­sium and vi­ta­min A. Con­sumers can sig­nif­i­cantly and positively im­pact their caloric, fat and sodium in­take by mak­ing more deliberate de­ci­sions about sand­wich in­gre­di­ents, in­clud­ing choos­ing ei­ther whole-grain or en­riched-grain bread. Find more in­for­ma­tion about the role of grains in a healthy diet at Grain­foods­foun­da­tion.org.

Re­think the In­gre­di­ents

Mak­ing more nu­tri­tious choices with sandwiches and positively im­pact­ing your con­sump­tion of calo­ries, fat and sodium is of­ten­times a mat­ter of chang­ing the way you stack in­gre­di­ents be­tween the bread. Con­sider this sam­ple sand­wich: two slices of whole-grain or en­riched bread, 2-3 slices of lunch­meat, two slices of cheese, a few spinach or let­tuce leaves and a slice of tomato. Con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, re­search shows that sand­wich eaters who choose ei­ther whole- or en­riched-grain bread can con­sume less calo­ries, fat and sodium com­pared to the typ­i­cal sand­wich con­sumed in the Amer­i­can diet. This demon­strates the need to fo­cus on the in­gre­di­ents be­tween the bread for a bet­ter (more health­ful) sand­wich. Try a dif­fer­ent take on a lunchtime fa­vorite by adding spicy horse­rad­ish to this Roast Beef and Arugula Sand­wich, or make pack­ing a lunch even sim­pler with this Ul­tra-thin Pas­trami Sand­wich Lunchbox.

Protein

Ac­cord­ing to the USDA, most Amer­i­cans get about the right amount of protein in their di­ets, but could do bet­ter at choos­ing leaner op­tions and adding more va­ri­ety to their menus. In­cor­po­rat­ing more va­ri­ety doesn’t have to mean sac­ri­fic­ing con­ve­nience. For ex­am­ple, while pre­pared meats like deli meats, hot dogs and jerky are some­times a tar­get of crit­ics, nu­mer­ous stud­ies and the Di­etary Guide­lines for Amer­i­cans af­firm they can be part of a healthy, bal­anced diet. Pre­pared beef prod­ucts pro­vide a con­ve­nient source of protein, vi­ta­mins and min­er­als. Be­cause most pre­pared meats are pre-cooked, they of­fer con­sumers easy, on-the-go access to the nu­tri­ent den­sity in meat. The pre­pared meats cat­e­gory is di­verse and of­fers choices to meet nu­tri­tion needs, tastes, bud­gets and per­sonal pref­er­ences. Thou­sands of prod­ucts are avail­able in the meat case, in­clud­ing low- and re­duced-sodium prod­ucts, low- and re­duced-fat prod­ucts, Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion-cer­ti­fied, or­ganic, Kosher grass-fed op­tions and more. Learn more at meat­poul­trynu­tri­tion.org.

Roast Beef and Arugula Sand­wich

Recipe cour­tesy of the Grain Foods Foundation Prep time: 5 min­utes Serv­ings: 2

1 ta­ble­spoon low fat mayonnaise

2 tea­spoons horse­rad­ish

4 slices whole wheat bread 4 slices tomato

4 ounces lean roast beef thinly sliced

1 cup arugula or wild greens Spread mayonnaise and horse­rad­ish evenly over two bread slices. Layer tomato, roast beef and arugula on top of mayonnaise and horse­rad­ish. Top with re­main­ing bread slices.

Ul­tra-Thin Pas­trami Sand­wich Lunchbox

Recipe cour­tesy of the North Amer­i­can Meat In­sti­tute Serv­ings: 1

2 slices thin whole-wheat sand­wich bread

2 ta­ble­spoons low fat gar­den vegetable cream cheese

1 ounce ul­tra thin pas­trami

1 ounce un­salted pret­zels

1 ap­ple

1 squeez­able low-fat yo­gurt

1 wa­ter bot­tle (8 fluid ounces)

Us­ing knife, spread bread slices with cream cheese. Layer pas­trami on bot­tom slice and top with sec­ond slice. Fill lunchbox with sand­wich, pret­zels, ap­ple, yo­gurt and wa­ter bot­tle.

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