When you think “healthy meal ideas” rarely do the words “bread” and “sandwich” come to mind. And that’s exactly why it’s time for you to reprogram how you think about the healthiest foods to eat.
Your sandwich favorites tend to be limited to a short list of the classics: PB&J, grilled cheese, and [insert deli meat here].
There’s no denying the enjoyment those options, and there’s a time and place for each. But what if you wanted to eat sandwiches every day? Here’s how to make it happen: enter the chicken panini.
Eating the healthiest foods does not mean avoiding all carbs and foods that taste great. This flavored-filled chicken panini takes sandwiches to a whole other level. Nutrient-dense, macro-balanced and protein-rich, this lunch will become your new staple.
Why it’s a Healthy Recipe
Sprouted grain and seed bread is a better alternative to white- or wheat flour-based options. Although the bread does contain gluten—gasp!—the sprouting process breaks down the proteins (gluten) and carbohydrates in the grain. This makes it easier to digest and lowers glycemic index (if you worry about those things).
We added fresh basil not only for flavor, but because it contains flavonoids, which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The healthy fat in the avocado and the fiber in the bread will slow digestion, which helps you feel full for longer periods of time.
You can select a deli meat, but be aware that most contain fake flavors, sodium and preservatives to maintain freshness. Sure, it tastes good, but in terms of health, it’s better to stick to the real meat as often as you can, or go with an option that removes those drawbacks. (For a solid option, check out Applegate products.)
Serving size: 1 serving
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 2 slices sprouted grain and seed bread*
- 1 chicken breast**
- 1 slice beefsteak tomato
- ¼ avocado, in 4 thin slices
- 4 fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus ½ tbsp. for cooking the chicken
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. reduced-fat butter, optional
*We used “Food For Life” sprouted grain and seed bread.
**We recommend buying organic, free-range, antibiotic-free chicken breasts whenever possible.
- Rinse, dry and butterfly the chicken breast. Season each side with a ½ tsp. of sea salt, ½ tsp. pepper and ½ tsp. garlic powder.
- On a cast iron skillet or non-stick sauté pan, add ½ tbsp. of olive oil. Cook the chicken on medium heat for about 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat when it’s cooked through. Slice the chicken at an angle to make slices better fit for a sandwich.
- While the chicken is cooking, add the Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and ½ tsp. of olive oil. Mix it all up.
- Assemble the sandwich. On one side of each slice of bread, spread the butter. On the non-butter side, spread the mustard mixture. Layer the avocado slices, then the tomato, then the chicken slices and finally, the basil leaves. Top with the other slice of bread.
- Place the sandwich on a grill pan*, and firmly press to get those lovely grill marks. An informal, not-professional technique is to place a heavy plate or another pan on top. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side.
Nutritional Information & Macros
Macros per serving:
- 390 calories
- 14g fat
- 32g carbs
- 34g protein
Tags: best sandwich recipes, health foods, healthiest foods, healthiest foods to eat, healthy meal ideas, healthy recipes