Tacos with avacado, corn and salsa.
Two bread-like options are whole grain (or corn to avoid gluten) pitas and tortillas. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Sandwiches make convenient lunches, but those two slices of bread can really eat into your day’s calorie allotment.

What’s more, typical white bread doesn’t provide much in the way of nutrients.

If you’re trying to cut down on carbs, go gluten-free, or simply reduce your intake of refined grains, try these tasty alternatives.

Bonus: You can replace the saved calories with more of the fillings or just bank them for another meal.


Our Take

When it comes to low-sugar lifestyles, bread can actually be a happy component—especially when it’s paired with protein-packed ingredients, noted Jessica Corwin, a registered dietitian for Spectrum Health Healthier Communities.

So how can you tell if a certain bread is a smart choice?

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Look for bread that has:

  1. A simple, clean ingredient list with whole grains listed first.
  2. 100 calories or less.
  3. At least 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

To save you the hassle of sifting through the encyclopedia of ingredient labels on bread packages, we’ve done the legwork for you.

Two bread-like options are whole grain (or corn to avoid gluten) pitas and tortillas. Pitas provide a pouch for your fixings, while tortillas let you roll them up into a handy package.

They work great with scrambled eggs for breakfast, and even leftovers from a stew dinner.

Just be sure to read labels and look for low-fat varieties to get the calorie savings.

Lettuce leaves make a great sandwich wrap with just one or two calories a piece. Tall varieties like romaine, red leaf and green leaf lettuce are ideal because you can fold in the ends before rolling them up to make a tight pouch.

Some vegetables make perfect “containers” for sandwich fillings. Try scooping the seeds out of a cucumber, zucchini, tomato or bell pepper and stuff with tuna salad.

For a protein boost, use hard-boiled egg white halves. Replace the yolks with cubes of lean meat.

Finally, large, thin slices of turkey, chicken and roast beef can be filled with lettuce and tomato and wrapped up to go.

And to add a taste twist, try hummus or mashed avocado as a substitute for mayo.