The good old sandwich makes for a great pre-run meal and a great recovery snack.  When well put together, it contains all the nutrients a runner needs. It contains energizing carbohydrates, protein to rebuild muscles, fats for energy, hormones and immune boosting vitamins and minerals.

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How to build a nutrient rich sandwich

Choose whole grain bread which is high fibre. Breads containing seeds has even more fibre and adds to your daily dose of healthy fats. Don’t limit yourself to plain bread – Other options can be brown pitas, tortilla wraps and bagels. South Africa has a variety of healthy breads available. Look out for the words “100% whole-grain”, “seeded” and “low GI”.

Nutritional information: 2 slices of bread will roughly energise you with 30g of carbohydrates. Note that other options may contain more carbohydrates e.g. Bagels can contain up to 47g carbohydrates per bagel – check the labels.

Swap the saturated fat butter and trans-fat rich margarine for more flavoury, healthier options. High protein choices include: low fat cottage cheese, hummus, bean salsa.
Healthy fat spreads can include: avocado mash, low fat mayonnaise, olive tapenade, almond butter, peanut butter. Other low fat choices: tomato salsa, low fat tzatziki, whole grain mustard.

Nutritional information: Depending on what you choose the spread can add to your protein or fat tally. Check labels for details.

The main part if your sarmie should be loaded with low fat proteins. Choose from grilled chicken breast, low fat ham, tinned tuna (in brine), smoked salmon or boiled egg. Note that cheese, although easy, is a high fat option. Try lower fat versions or choose a low fat spread when adding cheese to your sandwich.

Nutritional information: Roughly 100g of meat / half tin tuna / matchbox size cheese will add up to 15-30g of muscle building protein.

Veggies (or even fruit) will not only add immune boosting vitamins and minerals but also fibre and flavour! The options are endless – play with a variety if colours. Examples include spinach, rocket, cucumber, basil, baby tomatoes, grated beetroot, sweet pepper, peppadews, grated carrot. Fruit options can be dried apricots, sliced pears, sliced peaches or even figs.

Nutritional information: Mostly veggies won’t add to the calorie content, only to the wholesomeness and zest of your sarmie.

This is my favourite sarmie:
Whole wheat roll smeared with hummus or avo mash. Add spicy grilled chicken strips. Add quartered baby tomatoes, grated carrots and yellow pepper. Season with a little salt and black pepper and you’re fueled for your next run.

Or this “pizza-flavoured” wrap:
One whole wheat tortilla wrap, heat slightly in a pan. Smear with tomato, onion salsa with added basil pesto. Add grilled chicken, sprinkle with pitted black olives, add some mozzarella cheese. Heat for another minute until cheese has melted. Roll in a wrap and enjoy!

Article by Jeanne-Marié Louw (Dietician)
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