Build Muscle With a Healthy Sandwich

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Beat the boredom of a plain turkey sandwich—and build lean muscle while you're at it—with this tasty alternative, recommended by New York Jets nutrition consultant Wendy Meyer Sterling.

Components

1 oz low fat Munster cheese
+ Spinach
+ Tomato
+ ½ avocado
+ Dijon mustard
+ 3 oz turkey
+ 1 whole grain bagel

The Breakdown

Bread Meyer Sterling recommends that carbs comprise 50 to 65 percent of your meal. "The higher your calorie requirements, the more dense, higher caloric bread I prefer," she says. Her recommended option: a bagel. Limit your fiber intake to six grams preworkout; more can prevent you from "effectively utilizing the carbohydrates," she says.

Turkey Protein pre-workout has preventative benefits of reducing muscle damage and promoting synthesis. She suggests that lean protein make up 10 to 15 percent of your meal. If you are attempting to increase lean muscle, add a few more ounces.

If you don't dig turkey, Meyer Sterling suggests equally lean protein-rich foods like chicken, tuna fish or reduced-fat ham. "What you're looking for is variety," she says. "You want to rotate through some of choices on a day-to-day basis."

Low fat Munster cheese Meyer Sterling thinks reduced fat cheese is a win-win choice, because it adds more protein and some calcium, which she says you need about 1,300 mg of daily. She recognizes that getting that much can be a challenge, but "adding in some kind of low fat cheese can really contribute to that requirement."

Spinach, tomato and avocado "The deeper, more vibrant the color, the more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants," Meyer Sterling says. Vitamin C and beta carotene, two nutrients in all three toppings, contribute to immune function; and "both are also powerful antioxidants, which play a role in reducing inflammation in the body," she says. In other words, antioxidants reduce muscle soreness.

Dijon mustard This is a good alternative to mayonnaise, which can be very dense. One tablespoon of mayo feeds your body 90 calories and 10 grams of fat; throw it on an eight- or 12-inch sub, and "that could add about 300 to 400 calories [and] about 30 to 40 grams of fat," Meyer Sterling says.

Sides Meyer Sterling suggests packing on healthy LBs by keeping the carb-to-protein-to-fat ratio the same but adding a few hundred extra calories daily, depending on your desired weight gain [500 extra calories a day equates to one pound per week]. She suggests a 12-ounce smoothie for extra calories, or if you're packing your lunch, a bag of pretzels.

Consume Two to four hours pre-activity. Meyer Sterling says the sandwich is also a solid snack option after a workout.

Nutrition Totals*
Calories 895
Protein 43g
Carbohydrates 127g
Fat 24g

*For a turkey sandwich on whole grain bagel with Munster cheese, avocado, spinach, tomato, Dijon mustard and a 12 oz. Mixed Berry Yoplait Smoothie


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock