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Global Network

Brown Bag:
Sandwiches for Cancer Prevention

Veggie SandwichAmericans love sandwiches – a portable, all-in-one meal that can be wrapped, stuffed or layered. In fact, we eat about 3½ sandwiches per week, according to a recent consumer survey.

Some of America’s favorites include deli sandwiches and burgers – quick and easy to make at home or eat out when on the run. Although convenient, many of these choices mean you’re piling on the calories, sodium and red and processed meat while falling short on fiber.

But sandwiches can be both tasty and healthy, and fall in line with AICR’s recommendations to avoid processed meats and limit red meat to no more than 18 ounces per week.

Stacking Up Cancer Prevention

Follow these basics, but pick and choose ingredients in each category to create your own made-to-order, cancer-fighting sandwich.

1. Go Whole

Whether you choose bread, wraps, tortillas or buns, go for ones made with 100% whole grain. The first ingredient should be 100% whole wheat, rye, or corn, for example.

Whole grains trump their processed versions with more vitamin E and minerals like magnesium and potassium. They also contain more fiber and according to AICR experts, eating foods that contain fiber reduces risk for colorectal cancer.

2. Be Creative with Protein

Go beyond leftover roasted chicken or tuna salad and try the new hip food, canned sardines. These little fish pack in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. When purchasing though, compare nutrition facts labels to find lower sodium choices.

Great vegetarian choices include hummus, veggie burgers and leftover sliced bean loaf. Try this: Mix cooked black beans with a little cumin and cayenne pepper. Brush grilled or baked sweet potato slices with a little olive oil and layer with bean mixture on a crusty whole wheat roll. This makes a delicious and colorful vegetarian sandwich.

3. Pile on the Color

Vegetables and fruit can add crunch or other textures to your creation. Add color, garden crispness and flavor interest with any of these:

  • Peppers of all colors, raw, roasted or grilled
  • Cucumbers or summer squash slices
  • Baby greens such as spinach, kale or collards (raw or lightly steamed)
  • Roasted or grilled eggplant or squash
  • Avocado, mashed or sliced
  • Fresh herbs including basil, oregano and thyme
  • Fruits, fresh or grilled – peaches, mangoes, apples,
  • Berry spreads

If you’re entertaining, set up a sandwich bar featuring grilled vegetables.

Want more? Try these delicious and creative sandwich and wraps.


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