Bread Substitutes – 3 Low-Carb, Healthy Substitutes for Sandwiches
I love bread. Most people do. Give me some Wonder bread and I’ll roll it up in a ball, pop it in my mouth and embark on a nostalgic trip that includes orange peanuts, memories of Bozo and playing with Slinkies on avocado shag carpeting. I love good bread too, Panera bread, Zingerman’s bread, Crust loaves, homemade sourdough, Texas toast, seven grain bread and every kind of starchy, unhealthy, fattening white bread there is. If you can roll it up and bounce it off the wall, that’s fine by me too. I love all kinds – with practically any and every ingredient. Thing is, my metabolism is misaligned with my desire for starch and chewy, super-satisfying goodness.
Mind you, I’ve tried healthy breads and gluten-free cardboard products and would rather have my sandwich served naked in a bowl with no top or bottom. My quest for a healthy sandwich-like food led me to the following three products, which you might also find useful. Whether you have sugar or gluten issues, or are just looking for healthy low-carb alternatives to eating bread, you might enjoy these bread substitutes in your lunch, for dinner or any time.
Romaine lettuce comes in large leafs, making it perfect for building sandwich-like creations out of healthy vegetables. Romaine makes especially nice tuna sandwiches and has practically no calories or carbs. Consider it a free food for making guiltless sandwiches and snacks.
Rice Paper Wraps (brown rice)
If you’ve ever had cold Thai spring rolls, you’ve eaten rice paper. Although hard to find, the brown rice ones are much more healthy and have a different flavor altogether. Brown rice has a low-glycemic load, and while it does have carbs, they are low compared to most breads. They are somewhat rubbery and noodle like and only require soaking in water for a few seconds before rolling your ingredients in them. This is my favorite bread substitute and it also fills a need for something noodle like, as my metabolism doesn’t like pasta either. You can put almost anything in them, including scrambled eggs for a healthy, tasty breakfast roll-up.
Brown rice paper wraps by Star Anise Foods are sugar free, gluten free, fat free and have only 96 calories and 22 carbs per serving (about three sheets).
High in iodine, kelp is a sea-harvested product that adds a hint of Japanese cuisine to your faux-sandwiches. Low in calories, these make a very healthy bread substitute with a distinct flavor all their own. Use them to get creative and feel free to use brown rice, quinoa, or other ingredients for your own sushi-esque non-sandwich creations. To use, simply spread the seaweed flat, add ingredients and roll. Very finely chopped items help sustain the shape of the rolls.
Along with iodine, kelp is a super-food, rich in anti-oxidants and has the highest calcium ratings of any natural food (even higher than milk).
All three of these bread substitutes are great springboards for creative non-sandwich making. Whether you’re pursuing a paleo diet, monitoring glucose, or looking for tasteful gluten-free alternatives to bread, you’re likely to enjoy experimenting with all three of these.
Bonus Recipe – Tuna Fennel Salad Brown Rice Paper Roll-up
- 1 can of drained tuna (or 4 ounces of fresh cooked)
- 2 tbs. of low fat Miracle Whip
- 1 tbs. of very finely chopped fresh fennel
- 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped fresh spinach
- 1/8 small onion very finely chopped
- 4 brown rice wraps
- Fresh parsley or vegetables for garnish (optional)
Mix the tuna, Miracle Whip, fennel and onion in a bowl. Prepare the wraps by soaking in a pie plate or lid with warm water. You don’t need to soak long – maybe five seconds. Carefully shake off some of the excess water and spread on a clean plate individually for building your roll-up.
Sprinkle a small amount of chopped spinach in a straight line across the center of the wrap, leaving plenty of spare space on the ends for folding. Carefully spoon your tuna mixture on top of the spinach. Then add a little more chopped spinach to the top. Be your own gauge for amounts here.
Fold the ends over towards the center, then carefully roll the wrap. Roll it tightly and squeeze it into a neat tube as you go. Set aside and then repeat for the other rolls.
You’ll find that as the roll-ups sit during the process, the water evaporates. Brown rice wraps are a bit sticky and rubbery, very much like rice vermicelli noodles and they have a very distinct flavor from the more common white rice counterparts.
After rolling all of your wraps, garnish if desired with some vegetables or herbs and serve and enjoy. If you’ve never thought to put fennel in tuna salad, you don’t know what you’re missing. Delicious tuna, fresh herbs and brown rice paper wraps (one of the best bread substitutes available) make for a delicious late summer snack.
Clutter Control Freak
P.S. You might like an OXO salad crisper to clean and store your romaine.