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EATING OUT IN A
My most memorable experience with ordering
a sandwich happened one day after a radio interview in Detroit. My Dad
and I went to the first floor deli in the Fisher Building. After ordering
a whole wheat bread sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and mustard, I
asked for the bill. The response was, “We’ve never sold a sandwich
without meat – no charge.” I have never been so lucky again, but I have
found many great sandwiches as I have traveled around the country and in
my own hometown.
No matter where you live, you can
always find sandwiches. They are in supermarkets, delis, restaurants, and
sold by street-side vendors. The most dedicated are submarine sandwich
shops, like Subway, Port of Subs or Togos. Our youngest son, Craig (20
years old), is convinced that the supermarket delis make the freshest and
best veggie sandwiches – he now gets them at the Nugget Market in Davis,
California. Another popular national (except California)
“sandwich-oriented” restaurant is Panera Bread – a wide variety of
vegetarian and vegan options for sandwiches and soups are on the menu.
Get menus and locations on line at www.panerabread.com.
Schlotzsky’s Delis are all over the USA – they serve vegetarian sandwiches
and wraps to order and several vegetarian low-fat soups daily.
Sandwich orders are very basic: bread and
vegetables, with a little sauce. Start by ordering the kind of bread that
you want; in general, the whole grain, dark rye, and sourdough varieties
are your healthier choice. Next decide on the “insides.” Vegetable
options include: tomatoes, avocados (remember this is a high fat option),
onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, pepperoncini, black olives, pickles,
sprouts, and lettuce. Sometimes there will be more exotic choices, like
artichoke hearts, shredded carrots, mushrooms, hummus, roasted zucchini,
roasted eggplant, and roasted peppers (the roasted vegetables are usually
higher in fat because they are brushed with olive oil). Make sure you
remember to add, “No cheese of any kind.” Also, tell them to skip the
mayonnaise and the olive oil dressing. Your choice of dressings is limited
to mustard, and maybe, if you’re lucky, a low-fat salad dressing.
Look for a place that caters to the health
conscious consumer. Here is the sandwich menu from the Washington Deli,
1990 K Street NW, Washington, DC. (Tell them to leave off the cheese and
any added oils.)
Mock Deli Sandwich: Delicious
mock "turkey," "ham," "smoked turkey," "bologna," and more with leaf
lettuce and served on a variety of vegan friendly breads with dairy-free
Veggie Lovers Sandwich: Grilled red peppers, zucchini, squash, baby spinach, sprouts and hummus
served on a variety of pita pockets, tortilla wraps, bread, and rolls.
Greek Sandwich: Cucumbers,
tomatoes, olives, leaf lettuce, feta cheese and yogurt sauce served on
heese and yogurt sauce served on
pita pockets and tortilla wraps.
Mexican Wrap: Diced
tomatoes, guacamole, grilled red and green peppers, grilled onions, and
salsa in assorted tortilla wraps.
Falafel Sandwich: Falafel,
hummus, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and hot peppers (optional) served on
pita pockets and tortilla wraps.
Tofu Burgers (or Lentil Burgers or
Portobello Burgers): Tofu (or Lentil or Portobello) burger,
grilled veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms, etc.),
tahini/mustard/chutney/vegenaise as dressing.
BBQ Seitan Wrap: BBQ Seitan,
lettuce, diced tomatoes, grilled onions, soy cheese in a tortilla wrap.
Burgers and Hot Dogs
These days most restaurants offer “veggie
burgers” on their menu. Unfortunately, most contain dairy (cheese) and
eggs. For example, one very popular item with restaurants is the
Gardenburger made by Gardenburger, Inc. of Portland, Oregon, which
contains dairy and egg whites. Even if the restaurant makes their own
“veggie burgers,” you still need to ask about the ingredients.
you still need to ask about the ingredients.
Burger King recently introduced a burger
made from grains, vegetables (no soy), and spices called the “BK Veggie.”
It does contain some oil (and I’ve been told it is grilled on the same
grill as their beef burgers – what risks could this bring along with the
taste of the real thing?). The burgers are made to order, so ask for the
right toppings, like onions, pickles and tomatoes; and maybe some ketchup
and mustard. Each patty is 120 calories with 4 grams of fat (30% fat).
The bun is 160 calories and 4 grams of fat (17% fat). No trans-fats are
Chili’s (Grill and Bar – Family Restaurant)
also serves a black bean veggie burger, which does contain some egg
whites. In very small print under their list of regular burgers on the
menu, you will find the option “Black bean burger substituted upon
request.” Be sure to tell them no cheese and no mayo. Ask for mustard,
ketchup, pickles, onions and lettuce, instead.
Giants’ fans can get soy hot dogs at the
baseball park in San Francisco. A bun made from refined wheat flour is
your choice. Load your veggie dog up with mustard, ketchup, relish and
onions (and sauerkraut, if you must) and you will never miss the meat.
Many other ballparks around the country also offer “veggie dogs”.
All across the East Coast, lower Midwest
and California you will find a chain called “Great Wraps.” Here you can
get hot tortilla and hot pita wraps made vegetarian. They serve a
“Portobello mushroom wrap” and a “veggie and cheese wrap.” Order it
without the cheese or dairy-based sauces. There are also many other
chains and independent shops that make pita bread sandwiches and wraps.
Be forewarned that most of these wraps have a considerable amount of fat
in the tortilla shell and if you have the option of a “low-fat” shell you
will save many calories of unwanted fat. Pita bread is usually the
Peanut Butter and Jelly
No question about it, the traditional P & J
sandwich is high fat and sugar, but it can be made healthier by leaving
off the butter – and this may be the best you can do when trying to order
for a child on the road or at home. Ask for “natural” peanut butter,
rather than the varieties made with hydrogenated oils.
n the varieties made with hydrogenated oils.
Pack and Go
Don’t overlook the simple idea of packing
your own homemade sandwiches in a brown bag or cooler for work or play for
a simple and inexpensive meal. To avoid the “soggy sandwich” problem,
pack the tomatoes and any other juicy vegetables in small plastic bags and
add them to the sandwich just before you eat it. Start with a bean-based
sandwich spread or homemade veggie burger between healthy sliced bread or
buns and take along assorted toppings to add later.