National Hoagie Day

May 4th is National Hoagie Day, but many of us would like to celebrate this typically decadent sandwich every day. Whether you call it a hoagie, a sub, a wedge, a hero, an Italian sandwich, or a grinder, this overstuffed, tasty and savory treat is a favorite for many. A dietitian’s rule of thumb is that a traditional hoagie provides a whopping 100 calories per inch. You do the math! The good news is, with a few adjustments and a couple simple hacks, you don’t have to sweat this popular “big stuffed” sandwich.

  1. Consider the bread: Typically, hoagies are served on a large roll made with refined flour. Get a dose of fiber with a whole-grain option. And remember, portion sizes count. Opt for a smaller roll or divide a large roll into several servings.
  2. Look beyond the bread: Who said a hoagie needs to be served on a roll? Big, crunchy pieces of lettuce can be used in place of bread. This option has the added bonus of providing fewer calories along with the benefit of some extra produce.
  3. Go easy on the deli meats: Traditional Italian subs are high in fat and sodium. Check out the lower fat, lower sodium meat selections available at McCaffrey’s deli counter. Request the meat to be sliced very thin. Less is more when piled high. Or, stuff you hoagie with leftover sliced grilled chicken. Consider a healthy tuna salad made with low-fat mayo and lots of vegetables for a delicious hoagie filling.
  4. Just say cheese: Thinly sliced cheese can go a long way on a hoagie. Pick a cheese you enjoy that is flavorful, but watch how much you use. Consider cheese part of your protein package, rather than an add on.
  5. Add some crunch: Lettuce, onions, and tomatoes are hoagie staples, but do not stop there. Try adding a few slices of pickles. They are low in calorie and loaded with flavor and texture. If you are watching your sodium intake, try adding a few slices of fresh cucumbers instead.
  6. Pile on the vegetables: Grilled or roasted vegetables, like mushrooms, zucchini, and eggplant, make great alternatives to meat for a tasty vegetarian sandwich. And even you are not going for a full veggie option, loading your sandwich up with vegetables will provide a big nutritional boost.
  7. Think beyond the basics: Hoagies do not have to consist of turkey, cheese, lettuce, and mayo. Add some flavorful spreads, like pesto, tahini, or baba ghanoush. Try adding sliced apples, pears, or berries for some sweetness. Don’t forget about “meat free” proteins, like nut butters and bean spreads. Get creative.
  8. Add an avocado: A few slices of avocado will provide a creamy dose of healthy fat. You won’t even miss the traditional mayo.
  9. Add flavor without the calories: Add a surprise to your hoagie with a squeeze of fresh lemon or a leaf or 2 of basil. Or just add a sprinkle of your favorite spices to your sandwich. This technique may also keep the saltshaker at bay.
  10. Balance Counts: Build a healthier hoagie and add color, flavor, and nutrition to your diet, along with some fun. Remember sides count too.

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