Sandwiches are such a primal, nostalgic food- most of us grew up eating them regularly in our school lunchbox. Every culture has its own version. In fact, they are probably the world’s most ubiquitous food. Sandwiches and wraps are so convenient, hence their popularity. Just throw your favorite things into an edible and portable container and voila: food on the go! There’s a reason they are the office worker’s favored choice. The problem is that eating bread (or tortillas, or pitas) every day can be hard to stomach day, so to speak. Most commercial bread is pretty low-quality and more and more of us are choosing to live a gluten-free or yeast-free lifestyle.
We decided to go on a quest to find the best sandwich/wrap alternatives around town. We found six options that are ideal replacements for loaf slices, pitas, tortillas and flatbreads. If like us, you try to ensure that your diet is full of healthy proteins, veggies of all colors and nourishing fats, then you will love these healthy wrap choices. You can still enjoy the feel of a sandwich or wrap, without all the negatives. All of the following are vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, corn-free and refined-sugar free. Bonus: Most of them are paleo-friendly and many are raw too.
Go Asian style with rice paper wrappers! You know them as the cover for spring rolls but these thin, flexible wrappers make for great sandwich rolls: just soak in warm water, and then stuff to your hearts content. Filled, they last well in the fridge or when you are on the move. The Blue Dragon Spring Roll Wrappers from Little Giant (HKD 20 for a pack of 12) are made from rice flour, tapioca flour starch, water and that’s it! No preservatives, no artificial ingredients… just the basics. At 35 calories a wrapper, this is a truly light solution. Go one step healthier with Star Anise Foods Vietnamese Brown Rice Spring Roll Wrappers from Just Green (HKD 49 for a pack of 8), whose ingredients include nothing more than brown rice, salt and water, with an added kick of organic green tea for extra antioxidant power. We also love that they are certified non-GMO. These wrappers are larger than the Blue Dragon ones, so their calorie count is higher (98 per unit), but you can fit a whole lot more in them, so you only need one for a decent lunch.
One of our favorite recent discoveries is the WrawP Organic Gluten-Free Flat Bread at Spicebox Organics (HKD 93 for a pack of 3), which are sort of like a wrapper version of dehydrated vegetable and flax crackers that you can get in raw food stores everywhere, but with more give than a cracker. Made from zucchini, apple, flax seeds, coconut, black salt and various spices, WrawPs are certified USDA organic and completely raw. Each one comes in at 110 calories, which sounds like a lot but actually they are surprisingly filling and again, you only need one. We also love that they come in a variety of flavors including Original (our preferred choice) to Spirulina, Spicy, Asian and Energizing Morning.
The paleo community has been onto a healthy wrap secret for sometime in the form of coconut wraps. There are only a few companies in the world who make these, one of them being our very own Hong Kong health foods brand Green Vitamin. The wraps are made from a blend of coconut meat, coconut water and coconut oil with Green Vitamin’s version adding in some psyllium husk, coconut sugar and Himalayan salt for good measure. On iHerb, you can find Sunfood Raw Vegan Organic Coconut Wraps (USD 12.98 for a pack of 7) and Julian’s Bakery Paleo Wraps Coconut Wrap (USD 9.99 for a pack of 7), both of which come in at 70 calories a wrap, or you can go local and opt for Raw Coconut Wraps by Green Vitamin (HKD 98 for a pack of 5). Oh and did we mention that all three versions are organic?
It’s the year of sea veggies and one of the healthiest no-brainer wrap options is nori, a type of edible red algae seaweed made popular by Japanese sushi culture: it’s what your maki rolls are wrapped with. Nori wrappers make a crisp, umami-filled solution for your favorite fillings. We love the Ojio Seaweed Nori Wraps at Berrytime (HKD 31.01 for a pack of 100), grown and harvested using a proprietary drying process that prevents contamination. At 10 calories, you can afford to indulge a little.
GemWraps Sandwich Wraps by South Stream Seafoods (HKD 53 for a pack of 6) are another awesome low-carb and low-calorie option that you may not have discovered yet. Packed with antioxidants and made from nothing but fresh vegetable and fruit purees, and with flavours like Carrot, Mango Chipotle, Tomato and Kale Apple, GemWraps are a colorful and healthy addition to any lunchbox. The company’s website is also filled with delicious, healthy recipe ideas if you want some inspiration.
Finally, this is kind of a cheat option but we use it all the time so we think it’s worth sharing: Organic Rainbow Swiss Chard by Evergreens Republic (HKD 50 for 300 grams). These large, sturdy leaf with multicolor spines make for great wraps. They hold their shape, keep sauces well and are the low-calorie winner at approximately 9 calories per leaf. Not to mention that chard is another of kale’s ultra-nourishing cruciferous cousin so you can definitely feel extra good about this wrap choice.
Image credits: Coconut Wraps by Green Vitamin Facebook page, Rice Paper Rolls by Lettuce Be Healthy (lead photo), Nori Seaweed Wraps by One Green Planet, Swiss Chard Wraps by Guiding Instincts, GemWraps by NewGem Foods Facebook page and Julian Bakery.