Swap out the sandwich starch for veggies.
There’s really no good nutritional reason for anyone to eat a lot of starchy food “wrappers” like burger buns or grain flour-based breads, especially in the summertime. In the hot weather your appetite will naturally diminish somewhat and you’ll feel better if you lighten up your starch load, in particular. But we love sandwiches of all kinds and having a wrapper makes them fun, tasty, convenient, and hardy. There’s not a whole lot of “oomph” to a turkey and cheese rollup sans wrapper. And what on earth are you supposed to do with bunless Sloppy Joe? Enter the summer superstars. Summer veggies provide the perfect answer to taste, convenience and satiety with triple, quadruple and even quintuple the cumulative nutrient impact. Try one of the three options below as a way to upgrade a nutrient-light summer sandwich.
Greens Wraps (raw or steamed)
Use any large leaf of a tender green as a sandwich or filling (like for chili or Sloppy Joe) substitute. Most large-leaf lettuces work really well for this, as do young collard or kale leaves. Choose your size, place your filling in the center, and roll it up to eat. You can also use stiff endive leaves as an edible “scoop” for meaty fillings.
To work with mature collard or kale leaves or cabbage leaves, simply submerge the leaves in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until they reach desired tenderness, drain and use. If there is a tough spine, you can remove it by stacking the leaves and cutting down either side of the spine with a sharp knife. Use the leaves whole with a missing “V” where the stem/spine was, or slice them in half for smaller wraps.In place of buns, taco shells, or just for fun, hollow out raw vegetables such as large heirloom tomatoes (slice the tops off first) or peeled cucumbers (peel and halve them lengthwise first) with a melon baller. Or slice the tops off of bell peppers and remove the seeds and veins. Then stuff with any type of raw mayonnaise salad, cooked meat sauce, or any stuffing you enjoy. One of my favorite easy snacks or pre-workout breakfasts is to slice a raw sweet bell pepper in half, spread it with a little natural mayo, and stuff each half with half a hard-boiled egg. Crunchy and sweet with a touch of fat – it really hits the spot!
You can also soften bell peppers or poblano peppers by submerging in boiling water for 5 minutes and then draining well.
Looking for more protein?
Try an egg wrap.
There are several ways to make egg-based “wraps” or “crepes” that you can use as a container for anything, enchiladas, burritos, sandwich wraps, etc. One way is to thoroughly whisk together 3 whole eggs and ¾ teaspoon kudzu dissolved into 1½ teaspoons water, and then strain the mixture through a mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Oil a small nonstick skillet (something safe, like anodized aluminum – no Teflon!) and heat it over medium low. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of the strained mixture into the pan and swirl immediately to coat the bottom. The egg will cook up quickly, within about a minute to a minute and half. When it sets, gently release it by sliding under the edges and center with a spatula and slide or flip it onto a plate. Re-oil the pan before making the next wrap. This makes about 8 7-inch egg wraps.
Another method is to whisk together 4 egg whites with 3 tablespoons unsweetened plain almond milk or organic half and half. No need to strain this version – follow the rest of the directions above to get about 8 wraps.
These high-protein wraps will keep in your refrigerator for up to 48 hours. A delicious idea for a light summer meal is to spread a couple of these wraps with a light layer of mashed avocado or pesto sauce and stuff with shredded cold chicken and chopped salad greens – yum!