Nine Sandwich Alternatives

Say Buh-Bye to Bread

North Americans eat about the same number of sandwiches made with bread (containing wheat) as there are people living on the continent—daily! That’s a LOT of bread! How did the sandwich come to be and why is it so popular?

The word sandwich was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century aristocrat from England. Apparently he was a gambler and had asked his cook to bring him meat between two pieces of bread so he could eat without needing to use a fork yet not get his hands dirty while playing cards. Then others started to order “the same as Sandwich!”

Thus the sandwich was created out of a desire for convenience (and laziness), and we’ve continued the trend for centuries! There is something comforting about eating food in a neatly wrapped package. It’s tidy, portable and versatile, like a miniature suitcase packed with your favourite things. It’s also about the sensory experience of being able to eat with your hands. In spite of the trend, we can still enjoy our “sandwich” without the carby bread. With summer nearing an end and the return to school and work, you can have your sandwich and eat it too, but why not try switching up the “suitcase” you wrap your food in? Instead of going for wheat-filled bread, bagels, buns and wraps, try healthier allergy-friendly options, like these below.

Paleo wraps  
Often made of coconut meal, these are low in carbohydrates, free of refined sugar and a good source of healthy fats. Fill them with your favourite nut and seed butter spreads, veggies and hummus, or just about anything else you love!

Lettuce or collard green wraps
Collard green leaves are stronger than lettuce. Try putting savory meatballs inside with veggies and spices. You can also try diced chicken, avocado, tomatoes and vegan cheese.

Japanese hand rolls (made with nori paper)
Play around with different quinoa or brown rice dishes, fish, avocado and cucumber. Add a touch of toasted sesame seeds, gluten-free soy sauce substitute (made from coconut sap, there are several brands available in health food stores) and wasabi.

Sweet potato
Sweet potato makes a great bun or bagel replacement! Cut the sweet potato in half and layer it with assorted cheeses and chives or your fave fresh herbs. Bake in the oven and you’ve got a sweet, cheesy treat!

Grilled eggplant
Try using eggplant instead of sliced bread. This works well with barbequed sliced steak or chicken, spinach or kale, onion and red pepper.

Sliced apple or banana  
Spread some nut or seed butter between two slices of apple or banana and drizzle a touch of pure honey.

Grilled or lightly sauteed portobello mushrooms
Use as a bun and fill with assorted meats and guacamole or sliced vegan cheese.

Sliced cucumber  
Slice the long way so your cucumber looks like a hot dog bun. Nut or seed butters work well here. You could also try sliced meat, diced avocado and sauerkraut.

Sliced endive or red pepper  
Fill these veggies with your favourite fresh dips such as hummus, baba ganoush or tzatziki! Top with diced organic tempeh for extra protein.


Lisa Cantkier is a holistic nutritionist and lifelong celiac who specializes in food allergies and special diets. For more information, visit

Categories: Allergies & Special Diets