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  • Writer's pictureShannon Crocker, RD PHEc

How to Create a Simple DIY Sandwich Bar

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

With scorching summer days, the last thing you want to do is heat up your kitchen! What to do for supper? DIY Sandwiches!

I love sandwiches!

Sandwiches are the ideal, no-fuss, no-cook, self-contained meal you can hold in your hand. They’re portable and packable so you can enjoy them in the back yard, on the balcony, or picnicking in a park.

The “make-it-yourself” sandwich bar is one of my favourite simple summertime suppers – just put out all the ingredients and everyone can make their own sandwich they way they like it. Better yet, get everyone in your family to help prep the ingredients together.

It's an easy, low stress supper solution.

Time Saving Tip: Double up on all the ingredients so you can make sandwiches or salads for lunch the next day in just a few minutes.

How to set up a DIY sandwich bar:

1. First Things First: Choose your bread.

There are definitely differences on the best sandwich bread at my house.

Most often, I go for a sourdough whole grain bread for full flavour. The rest of the wonderful people in my house prefer regular sourdough or baguette (white please, no seeds!).

Truly, eat what you enjoy. And what is available. And what you can afford.

If you’re looking for nutritional value from bread, I recommend whole grain or sourdough whole grain for more optimum nutrition value:

  • Whole grain = you'll get more nutrients from a true whole grain bread compared to white bread. It also tends to have a bit more fibre so you stay fuller longer.

  • Sourdough = a true sourdough is a fermented bread so it can be easier to digest and cause less tummy troubles for people with gut health issues. It's also lower on the glycemic index so that means a slower, lower increase in blood sugars, which makes it a better choice for blood sugar management. You can get whole grain versions too.

2. Layer on the Crunch.

Next up, add a variety of veggies for colour and crunch.

Adding veggies to your sandwich is a tasty way to get more plant-based foods into your day.

Eating a variety of veggies is key for gut health. More veggies means more vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals (natural plant compounds) and for a strong, healthy immune system. Plus, it adds fibre to your sandwich so you stay full longer.

Here's what I love on my sandwich bar:

  • Cabbage - shredded or in a slaw with vinaigrette

  • Tomatoes

  • Shredded carrots

  • Lettuce - iceberg for crunch, dark leafy greens (arugula is a fave!) for nutrition value

  • Cucumbers

  • Radishes

  • Red onion

  • Avocado

3. Pack on some quality protein.

Instead of deli meats (that we should be eating less of for good health), go for whole food choices like:

  • Roasted beef, turkey or chicken

  • Cheese

  • Canned fish - tuna, salmon or sardines

  • Tofu -- try it grilled!

  • Eggs

Protein gives you longer lasting energy, taking your sandwich from a snack to a satisfying, balanced meal.

4. Spread, schmear or drizzle a little flavour razzle dazzle.

Add an assortment of condiments and accompaniments like:

  • Pickles

  • Sliced olives

  • Pesto

  • Citrusy mayo

  • Spicy mustard

  • Hummus or black bean dip

What about folks in your family who aren't into bread? Skip the bread and make a super salad bowl with all the ingredients instead. It's a winner idea for all!

Stay healthy, safe and well (and cool!) friends,


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