Tricks to make your sammy healthier

Tricks to make your sandwich healthier

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - It's back to school time and that means packing lunches!

Here's a little-known fact -- many of us will eat about 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time we graduate high school.

So, in honor of National Sandwich Month, Health Reporter Valerie Lego takes us on a spin around the world with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Nutritionist Grace DeRocha to find the healthier options of our favorite sandwiches.

Italian Meatball Sub


  • 2 lbs. of ground turkey (I used lean 93%)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (any color will do)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced very small
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fresh chopped spinach leaves (I used baby spinach leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning/spices
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tomato sauce, optional


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and use parchment paper or use cooking spray on baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Add all the ingredients and mix until incorporated, you can put on gloves and use your hands.
  3. Then form meatballs to golf-ball size, rolling in between your hands and then lay out on your baking sheet.
  4. Repeat until you use all the meat mixture.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes or a little more – until golden brown.
  6. Rotate them half way through the baking time.
  7. Bake until fully cooked throughout. Serve with tomato sauce alone or in a hoagie bun. Enjoy!

Mexican Chicken Fajita Roll-Up


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½ inch strips
  • 2-3 Tbsp. of favorite heart healthy oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 Spanish onion, sliced into strips
  • ½ cup of low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • Tortillas
  • Optional; tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, plain Greek yogurt, beans, lettuce, cheese


  1. Warm oil and cook chicken thoroughly in large pan. Set chicken aside.
  2. While chicken is cooking, mix soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke in a bowl.
  3. Drain pan of excess liquid and then sauté peppers and onions until onions are translucent and peppers to desired tenderness. Add chicken back to pan.
  4. Add fajita sauce mixture, cook for about 5 minutes. Serve with tortilla and favorite toppings.
  5. Enjoy!

Great Britain Cucumber Canape Sandwiches


  • Mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • Soft whole wheat white bread
  • 1 (8-ounce) package low fat whipped cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill (about ½ ounce)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste, optional


  1. To make the dill spread, use a food processor to blend the cheese with the butter, mustard, lemon juice, and the dill.  Blend until the dill is very finely chopped and the mixture is very smooth.  Season generously to taste with salt and pepper, if adding cayenne add now. Blend the mixture one last time to be sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Spread mixture on bread. Place cucumber on top of 1 slice of prepared bread. Add another slice on top. Use cookie cutter to cut sandwich into fun shapes. Enjoy!

Great Britain Scone Berry Canape Sandwiches


  • Seasonal Berries, chopped
  • Whole wheat English muffin
  • 4 - ounce package of low-fat whipped cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ Tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract or almond extract


  1. Mix all ingredients together except berries and English muffin.
  2. Spread cream cheese mixture on English muffin and then place berries on top of one half.
  3. Place other half on top and cut into desired canape shape. Enjoy!

Great Britain Caprese Canape Sandwiches


  • Fresh buffalo mozzarella, thinly cut into round slices
  • Fresh basil
  • Tomatoes, cut into thin slices (my favorite is heirlooms)
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Whole wheat bread or English muffin


  1. Place one slice of bread down to start forming sandwich.
  2. Layer the mozzarella, basil, tomato on top of it. Drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette and place another slice of bread on top. Cut into favorite canape shape. Enjoy!

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