Gone are the days when a bitter, wilted salad was considered the only “healthy” option for lunch—but you still might feel hesitant to reach for the fully loaded sandwich between the quinoa bowl and veggie noodles when trying to make a smart lunch decision.
But according to nutritionist Amy Shapiro, RD, it might be time to rethink your relationship with bread.
“Whole grains provide a ton of nutrients including B vitamins, minerals (iron, zinc, copper, magnesium), antioxidants, protein, and fiber, which all are important for overall health—as well as digestion and even weight maintenance,” Shapiro says. “They have also been shown to help lower the risk of heart disease, some forms of cancer, diabetes, and obesity.”
Sounds like the green light to hit the nearest grocery store and start meal planning, but before you go ham on a ham sandwich, consider this advice.
“I always caution people to add grains into their diets cautiously, because all grains are not created equal,” Shapiro says of choosing the right bread. “I recommend whole grains and very minimally processed products.”
Shapiro has a detailed checklist for selecting the best loaves to stock your pantry, starting with labels that are organic and low in added sugar. You should also look at the ingredient list to make sure it doesn’t include any enriched flours, fillers, or artificial colors and flavors.
All six varieties of Dave’s Killer Bread fit that profile, with every seedy slice packed with up to five grams of protein and fiber, and five grams or less of sugar (its Powerseed variety is sweetened with fruit juice and has only one gram of sugar per slice). Most importantly, all loaves lack sketchy artificial add-ins. (And if you needed further convincing, the company also works to expand employment opportunities for people with criminal backgrounds, which make up one of three of Dave’s Killer Bread’s more than 300 employee partners at its Oregon bakery.)
Powered with grains like spelt (said to aid digestion and even balance your hormones), amaranth (loaded with vitamins A, C, E, K, and B), and flax (rich in omega-3 fatty acids), it’s basically a hangry person’s win. Oh, and don’t forget about triticale—which Shapiro calls a “super cereal” thanks to the higher fiber and minerals—and magnesium-filled sunflower seeds, a known anti-inflammatory.
Impressed by the long list of nutrients hiding in the grains you’ve been avoiding? Shapiro says breakfast and lunch are especially easy to grain-ify, with plenty of grab-and-go options.
“Better yet, make your own sandwich on whole grain bread…and dig in confidently knowing the ingredients there,” Shapiro says.
Scroll down for five killer sandwiches recipes that will revolutionize your lunch situation—and make you the envy of the office.
The Killer Rainbow Veg
Recipe by Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD
Yields 1 sandwich
2 slices Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed
1 Tbsp honey mustard
2 slices Swiss cheese
1/4 cup shredded carrots
4-5 slices roasted red pepper
1/4 cup shredded purple cabbage
2 pieces romaine lettuce
5-6 slices cucumber
1. Spread honey mustard evenly on both pieces of Dave’s Killer Bread.
2. Layer cheese, carrots, roasted red pepper, purple cabbage, lettuce, and cucumber on one slice of bread.
3. Place the other slice on top and dig in! (Isn’t that easy?)
Vegan Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Recipe by Michelle Dudash, RDN
Yields 2-3 sandwiches
One batch of salad makes enough for two full-sized sandwiches or three smaller ones made with Dave’s Killer Bread thin-sliced varieties. Also, torn fresh herbs like basil or dill add a punchy pop of flavor, if you happen to have some hanging out in your garden or fridge—and a double batch of salad will stay fresh for about five days, providing satisfying lunches all week.
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
2 tsp tahini (or unsweetened almond butter)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp salt and pepper
2 slices Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Whole Grains & Seeds
3 slices dill pickles
1/4 avocado, sliced
1/3 cup alfalfa sprouts
1. Place salad ingredients in a bowl and mash with a fork until all of the chickpeas are halved or mashed, forming a thick, chunky paste.
2. To assemble, lay the pickles down the centerline of the bread. Spread on 1/2 cup of the chickpea salad, add the avocado and sprouts, and finish with the other slice of bread.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetable and Sriracha Hummus Sandwich
Yields 1 sandwich
1½ tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/8 tsp salt
1½ Tbsp olive oil
1/4 red bell pepper, cut into half-inch strips
1 mushroom, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 yellow squash, cut into quarter-inch strips
2 Tbsp hummus
1/8 tsp Sriracha
2 slices of Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed Thin-Sliced Bread
1 slice Colby cheese
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, continuing to whisk until emulsified.
2. Add red bell pepper, mushroom, and squash to the bowl and toss to evenly coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate for between 30 minutes to two hours.
3. In a small bowl, combine hummus and Sriracha. Set aside.
4. Coat a grill pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat.
5. Remove vegetables from refrigerator and pour off extra marinade. Add the vegetable mixture to hot grill pan.
6. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, turning once, until the vegetables are tender and their edges are slightly browned. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool.
7. Spread hummus over one slice of bread. Add cheese and layer veggies on top. Top the sandwich with the second slice of bread and enjoy!
Goat Cheese Sandwich with Pickled Beets & Arugula
Recipe by Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, Nutrition Communications Consultant at Shaw’s Simple Swaps
Yields 1 sandwich
2 slices Dave’s Killer Bread (21 Whole Grains & Seeds recommended)
2 Tbsp whipped goat cheese (or vegan cream cheese)
About 2 oz. sliced avocado
5-6 slices pickled beets
1/4 oz. alfalfa sprouts
1/2 oz. arugula
1/4 tsp olive oil (optional)
Dash of kosher salt (optional)
1. Toast bread until lightly browned.
2. Spread one tablespoon of goat cheese on each slice of toast.
3. Layer sliced avocado on one piece of toast and the sliced beets on the alternate piece.
4. Add sprouts, arugula and the optional drizzle of olive oil and sea salt.
5. Put slices together, slice in half and devour!
The Burrata Sandwich with Boom
Recipe by Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com
Yields 1 sandwich
2 slices of Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Whole Grains & Seeds
1/2 avocado, mashed
1 medium ripe heirloom tomato, thickly sliced
4 slices Burrata cheese, thickly sliced
1 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
4 large fresh basil leaves
1 small cucumber, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Lightly toast Dave’s Killer Bread.
2. On a plate or cutting board, spread half of the mashed avocado on one slice of the bread.
3. On top of the avocado, layer the tomato, burrata, sun-dried tomato, basil, more tomato, and finally cucumber.
4. Drizzle balsamic glaze over layered toppings.
4. Spread the remaining mashed avocado over the other piece of Dave’s Killer Bread, add salt and pepper if desired, and place this slice of avocado toast on top of sandwich.
5. Slice whole sandwich in half and prepare for sandwich nirvana.