Prawn, egg, cheese or chicken? The healthiest sandwich filling revealed by dietician

Peak picnic season is here, with the humble sarnie still the nation’s favourite packed lunch. Brits put away an incredible 11.5 billion sandwiches each year, but what are the pros and cons of some of the most popular fillings? Dietitian Nigel Denby has put together this bite-sized guide:

CHEESE: This is a good source of calcium for healthy bones. But be mindful of the salt and saturated fat content which can easily send a sarnie’s stats soaring above that packet of crisps you’re probably also enjoying with your lunch.

EGG: Eggs are nature’s complete protein, containing all of your essential amino acids. They are also packed full of other important nutrients like iron and fat-soluble vitamins. Always a great choice.

HAM: While this is a good source of protein, it’s pretty high in salt and low in vitamins and minerals, so not as good as lean beef or fish.

PRAWN: Prawns are low in fat, but are often given a bad rap for containing cholesterol. But the amount in shellfish has almost zero impact on your own blood levels of cholesterol, so there’s no need to worry about choosing it for your sandwich.

BEEF: Lean beef provides plenty of iron, which helps take care of healthy blood supplies. Iron is one of the key minerals that large groups of the population are lacking, so this is an easy way to top up your stores.

SALMON: Packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids (a type of fat that’s actually good for your cholesterol levels and heart), one serving a week will give you all the omega-3s you’ll need – canned, smoked and fresh are all good.

TUNA: This used to count towards your omega-3 intake but more recently we have discovered the levels of this essential fatty acid just aren’t high enough in tinned tuna for it to count. Canned salmon, sardines and pilchards are much better.

BACON: Bacon is guaranteed to add a good deal of salt to your sarnie with little added benefit of vitamins and minerals – fine for an occasional treat but not daily.

SAUSAGE: Most sausages contain only small amounts of lean meat and plenty of fat, salt and fillers, so there’s very little health benefit to filling your sarnies up with them on a regular basis.

CHICKEN: This white meat is one of the leanest protein sources around, plus it contains B vitamins, selenium and phosphorus, so it’s perfect for a lunchtime filler.

VEGGIE: If you’re eating a vegetarian sarnie, make sure your filling contains some protein or you might find yourself feeling hungry again not long after lunch and snacking unhealthily. Houmous is a good option.

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