Don’t scrimp on the veggies: VA dietitian discusses healthy variety of sandwiches


August is National Sandwich Month – and I’d like to celebrate it by finding new versions of my old favorites.

The common theory of how the sandwich was invented goes back to the year 1762, when the 4th Earl of Sandwich didn’t want to stop gambling long enough for a sit-down meal and his hosts put meat and cheese between two slices of bread so he could multitask.  Another theory is the Jewish religious leader Hillel the Elder (born around 110 BC) invented a “sandwich” during the observance of Passover: lamb and herbs on soft Matzo.  I’ll bet every culture has its own sandwich story.

And because of that diversity, there are many versions of a sandwich. Oh, yes: bread always comes to mind. But you can use a tortilla, a pita, naan (East Indian flatbread), portabella cap or even a leaf of lettuce if you’d like. The other thing, I love about a sandwich, is that it’s a way for me to sneak more vegetables into my day.  Here’s an example of a wrap recipe with chicken, vegetables and fruit.

Need more reasons to make your own “fast food?”  A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition done on Americans eating out at restaurants vs. eating at home showed total energy, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium intake were much higher at a restaurants. In addition, you know the sandwich is made exactly the way you like it!

Now that the farmers’ markets are in full swing, let’s get out there and find some innovative ways to fill our “bread” of choice. For more assistance improving your health by making quick and easy meals at home, ask for a referral to your VA PACT (primary care) dietitian. We’d love to see you!

Anne Koth headshotAnne L. Koth, is a registered dietitian at the Zablocki VA Medical Center  in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at


  1. Elisa Lam    

    That’s really great to know the history, never thought of finding it. But who are vegans, still have a lot of choices for foods. For sandwich there are some options that you pointed out here, I think already I taste some of them. The tortilla is a good choice indeed.

  2. Kathy stclair    

    This is great information however I don’t know about other Veterans, but I live on a very tight budget and being able to afford extra fruit and vegetables would be great though it is not within my budget.

  3. Stephen J. Osgood    

    Since it’s National Sandwich Month, just where does Peanut Butter and Grape Jam Stand, and let’s say on Wheat Bread? That old National Favorite! Oh yes, and with a glass of Chocolate Milk!

  4. Del Allegood    

    If I could be properly compensated for the Agent orange damage, affecting my major organs,perhaps I would be able to take advantage of the high paid information I recieve from the VA,like eat fresh vegetables and fruit.If I could afford them I would buy them. If I could work I would be able to buy them.Instead the VA employs doctors turning me down for compensation for the several major disabling things affecting my body.

  5. Viet Vet    

    So where is the information, other than the wrap recipe, on “…healthy variety of sandwiches.”? This is a typical bureaucratic article that fills space and says nothing.

  6. Derrick Glen Harvey    

    You are doing a wonderful job keeping us up to date. But I am a 69 year old veteran and I’m sure there are millions (like me) that can’t comprehend the amount of information that you send. It would be much easier for people like me to understand if it was presented with less text and no links like the above giving the back ground of sandwiches, Having to go to another link to find an example of a wrap recipe, And a link to read a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. We trust what you are telling us so please think about making it shorter and easier for us to read and understand. For instance: Just tell us that sandwiches are good for us , what are the best contents and we can get the best contents at the farmer’s markets.
    Thank you,

Comments are closed.