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As many of us are learning to work from home, and therefore to lunch from home, now is the perfect time to talk about an age-old lunchtime favorite: the sandwich. A staple of brown-bag lunches and school cafeterias, the humble sandwich likely recalls childhood memories for many of us. In fact, Abby Clement, a member of the WGC team, just recently shared one of her happy food memories with us on social media. She fondly remembers watching her mom prepare perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (on whole wheat bread, of course) every morning as she ate breakfast with her sister.
While some of us are team crunchy peanut butter and others are team smooth peanut butter, for some reason, these types of descriptors haven’t quite made it to the bread aisle. Luckily, our friends at Panera Bread are out to change that, by relaunching their line of packaged sliced sandwich breads, available at grocery stores and some club stores. The new, bold package design now has texture descriptors so that consumers will be able to choose their favorite bread based on how smooth, grainy, or extra grainy they like it. Five out of the seven breads in their line-up use the Whole Grain Stamp and make at least 50% of their grain whole.
While speaking with the Panera team, we asked Ben Emard and Amanda Walter about their favorite go-to sandwiches – Amanda loves a toasty grilled cheese, while Ben likes making tuna melts with his boys. “The quality of the bread is paramount, though,” he told us. “It’s so easy to forget about the bread and focus on the ﬁlling but starting oﬀ with the most delicious bread is the best way to build a great sandwich.”
Here at the Whole Grains Council, we couldn’t agree more. Choosing a bread that’s hearty and full of whole grains can add so much ﬂavor and texture to each bite you take. It can also be a huge contributor to your daily whole grain intake! One slice of 100% whole grain bread counts as a serving of whole grains, so eating a whole grain sandwich is an easy and delicious way to get to two of your recommended three or more servings of whole grain per day.
As Abby reminds us, a PB&J can really hit the spot sometimes, but there’s a huge world of sandwich options waiting for you. With bread ﬂying oﬀ grocery shelves faster than it can be restocked, and with many of you trying your hand at baking your own bread at home, we know there are fabulous sandwiches just waiting to be made. Not sure where to start? Once you’ve selected your whole grain bread, roll, or wrap of choice, choose one of the following spreads, a couple veggies, and your favorite protein, for a balanced, tasty meal! To take things up a notch, you could even serve your sandwich toasted, similar to a panini or grilled cheese.
- Hummus or other bean spreads
- Olive tapenade
- Guacamole or mashed avocado
- Fig jam, jelly, or other fruit spreads
Veggies (and a few fruits)
- Lettuce, spinach, or cabbage
- Roasted peppers, eggplants, fennel, etc.
- Canned tuna or salmon, or smoked salmon
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Sliced provolone, muenster, or other cheese
- Grilled chicken
- Beans or lentils
- Pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds
Tell us about your favorite sandwich combo in the comments! (Caroline)