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Food & Hunger

5 Delicious Ways to Get Your Sandwich on Without Destroying the Earth


Today is National Sandwich Day (yes, there really is a day for everything). The sandwich is a lunch staple for many around the world. It’s quick, affordable, and often quite bland. And while it’s easy to slap a cold slab of processed turkey, a tomato, and some romaine lettuce between two pieces of white bread, throw it in a plastic ziplock bag, and call it a day, there are better options out there. 

Here are five ~delicious~ and ~sustainable~ ways to spice up your sandwich game. 

1. Switch to heirloom wheat bread. 

Wheat production is intricately tied to the history of human development, going back to the Fertile Crescent in the fourth century BCE. In contrast with ancient wheat production techniques, modern short-stock wheat is water-intensive, reliant on chemical fertilizers, and massively mechanized. In other words, it’s not so great for the environment. 

Buying heirloom wheat brands, which are produced using traditional farming methods, supports local farmers and sustainable farming processes. Plus, they are better for your health, containing a more robust nutrient profile. Check out Bluebird Grain Farms, Carolina Ground, Community Grains, and Anson Mills.  

2. Try a plant-based cheese. 

While traditional cheese is, no doubt, delicious, the dairy industry contributes significantly to environmental degradation. In 2005, “dairy production accounted for 2.8% of all man-made climate-warming gases,” the New York Times reports. Add in harmful treatment of animals, and you’ve got yourself a moral dilemma. Vegan cheese may sound like an oxymoron, but it exists. Try these brands out for size. There’s also egg-free mayo if you want to go one step further.

3. Buy these packaged meats. 

It’s better to avoid meats in general, but if you are a hard-core carnivore, these 36 natural meats are a good place to start. 

4. Incorporate sustainable veggies.

Not all vegetables are created equal. Leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach are relatively low impact and can be grown year-round. Get creative with these veggies! 

5. Avoid plastic bags. 

According to EcoWatch, roughly 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. There are plenty of ways to avoid using plastic bags. Wrap your sandwich in parchment paper or wax paper, and then carry it in a cloth sandwich bag, an insulated lunch bag, or an old-fashioned lunch box. If it was cool in elementary school, it can be cool as an adult.