Earlier in the year was national sandwich week and a big celebration of this bread based product. …..and what’s not to like, it’s convenient, portable, quick to make and has plenty of filing options!
For many, it’s a lunchtime staple. In fact, according to the Flour Advisory Bureau sandwiches make up 50% of the UK’s annual bread consumption. Despite this statistic the sales of bread have fallen in the last decade and it is now thought that bread consumption currently stands at 2-3 slices per day. White is still the favourite and is 75% of all bread sales but wholemeal is increasing. So why is there a decline in bread sales? Perhaps salads are becoming more popular? Maybe the increase in people on gluten free diets is making an impact? But maybe mainly because bread has got a lot of bad press in recent years.
Despite the fall in sales, sandwiches have got a lot of nutritional benefits to them. When made with a heavy seeded bread and a protein rich filling such as egg, meat, cheese or fish the sandwich provides us with:
- Energy – to keep us going all day
- Protein – which helps us grow and repair
- Fibre – keeping digestive systems healthy
- Iron – helps with energy levels and healthy blood
- Zinc – important for a strong immune system
- Magnesium – helps the nerves and muscles work well
- Calcium – for strong bones and teeth
- Folate – Growth, healthy blood and energy
A further benefit of the humble sandwich is that it is filling and with a protein rich middle can keep us full for a long time to reduce the chances of a mid-afternoon slump and trip to the biscuit tin or vending machine
Lastly, sandwiches are quite cost effective and are very convenient in this time conscious era.
But what do we as a nation like in them? In last year’s National Sandwich Week a survey was conducted to find out the UK’s top fillings. Their findings were as follows:
- BLT (13% of all votes)
- Chicken & Bacon (11%)
- Tuna Mayonnaise (7%)
- Chicken Salad (5%)
- Bacon (5%)
- Ham Salad (5%)
- Turkey & Stuffing (5%)
- Cheese & Pickle (4%)
- Chicken & Stuffing (4%)
- Beef & Onion (4%)
What surprises me if that only 1 of the top 10 sandwiches was vegetarian! Cheese & Tomato came in at 12th with Egg at 13th as a nation we are very meat hungry at lunchtimes.
But, what about people who cannot eat bread based products? Does this mean that their only option for a sandwich is expensive gluten free bread? The answer is no and we really are only restricted in sandwich worlds by our lack of creativity. If you want to, or need to be gluten free and want to enjoy a lunchtime sandwich then these alternatives can help:
- Wraps made with greens or lettuce
- Grated sweet potato rosti
- Portobello mushrooms
- Aubergine slices
- Rice pancakes (the kind you make duck spring rolls with!)
So, enjoy your sandwich whether it be using bread or an alternative and embrace this national sandwich week 2015 to its fullest!