Keys to a healthy sandwich

Ham, cheese and salad sandwiches on wooden board

1. Choose the bread

Best choices:

  • Wholemeal
  • Wholegrain
  • Multigrain

Also try:

  • Rye bread
  • Sourdough
  • Fruit bread
  • Mini dinner rolls, rolls or bagels
  • English muffins or crumpets
  • Flat breads/wraps, pita or tortilla
  • Focaccia or Turkish bread
  • High fibre white bread

2. Choose the spread

Choose low fat and reduced salt where possible.

  • Hummus, spring onion dip, tzatziki, vegetable based dips, salsa
  • Cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta
  • Creamed corn, mashed avocado
  • Pesto, mayonnaise, sweet chilli sauce, cranberry sauce, gherkin spread, chutney, mustard, relish
  • Tomato sauce
  • Margarine

3. Add some vegetables

  • Coleslaw
  • Chargrilled zucchini, eggplant, capsicum
  • Shredded lettuce, baby spinach leaves or salad mix
  • Grated carrot
  • Thinly sliced vegetables (e.g. tomato, cucumber, capsicum)
  • Beetroot
  • Corn kernels

4. Add some protein

  • Chicken or turkey
  • Tuna (in springwater) or salmon
  • Egg, boiled, scrambled, sliced or mashed
  • Lean ham or pastrami
  • Grated cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese
  • Roast beef, beef rissoles or burgers
  • Baked beans (salt-reduced)
  • Peanut butter (if policy allows)
  • Baked falafel
  • Sliced meatballs or bolognaise sauce

Healthier ingredients

1. Bread2. Spread3. Vegetable4. Protein
WholemealMayonnaiseColeslawRoast chicken or turkey
Pita breadPestoChargrilled vegetablesRoast chicken
Mini dinner rollsSalsaCorn kernels and grated veggiesTuna
BagelChutneySaladRoast beef
SourdoughCream cheeseTomatoLean ham
English muffins (toasted or open sandwich)NoneBaked beansGrated cheese
Wrap (pita or tortilla)HummusSaladGrated cheese
High fibre white breadMargarineGrated carrotGrated reduced fat cheese
Fruit loaf or raisin breadCream cheeseGrated carrot and sultanasCream cheese
Fruit loaf or raisin breadHoneyBanana and currantsRicotta

Fresh tips

  • Cut sandwiches into triangles or squares to make it easy for little hands.
  • English muffins make great healthy pizza bases. Split the muffin in half and use each piece as a base. Try making faces out of the toppings – this makes adding veggies more fun!
  • Include bread and fillings in lunchboxes and allow children to construct their own sandwich.
  • Children are more likely to try new sandwich combinations if they have catchy names, such as:
    • Zebra or tiger sandwich: One slice of white bread and one slice of wholemeal bread with your choice of toppings. It’s a great way to add wholemeal/grainy bread to the menu!
    • Traffic light sandwich: Two slices of bread spread with red, orange and green fillings. Cut the sandwich into fingers, and then cut three circles out of the top slice of each finger to reveal the ‘traffic lights’.
    • Pinwheel or sushi sandwich: A slice of bread with a spread and fillings (e.g. avocado, cheese and grated carrot), rolled up, cut in half and displayed with the filling showing.

For more information please phone 1300 22 52 88 or email

Except where otherwise indicated, the images in this document show models and illustrative settings only, and do not necessarily depict actual services, facilities or recipients of services. This document may contain images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In this document, ‘Aboriginal’ refers to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. ‘Indigenous’ or ‘Koori/Koorie’ is retained when part of the title of a report, program or quotation. Copyright © State of Victoria 2016

Written and reviewed by dietitians and nutritionists at Nutrition Australia, with support from the Victorian Government.

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Healthier ingredients

Small changes can make a big difference to the foods and drinks in your early childhood service.

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