Sandwiches Without Bread

Patient Expert

If you want to control your carbs, then sandwiches are one of your biggest food problems. Using bread for making sandwiches was a wonderful idea to keep our hands from getting greasy from the good stuff inside.

But using bread is a bad idea when we want to cut back on our carbs. And now we have even better ideas.

Most bread comes from wheat flour, which is one of the highest glycemic foods there is. Few foods will spike our blood glucose more and faster than wheat flour.

Corn tortillas are a substitute for some of us. Corn is only moderately high glycemic. Rye is the only other bread that I can think of that is reasonably low glycemic. Still, all tortillas and rye bread are made from grain, which I completely avoid on my very low-carb diet.

But each of these breads still has too many grams of carbohydrate for anyone following a very low-carb diet. Sometimes people use a lettuce leaf to wrap their sandwich or burger. But I've never been a fan of a lettuce sandwich.

The best sandwich solution that I have ever found are soy wrappers. My low-carb vegetarian friend, Barry, turned me on to them.

Made from non-GMO soybean protein, these thin wrappers have as little as half a gram of carbohydrate each. One flavor, sesame, has one gram of carb. These wrappers are so thin -- and have so few carbs -- that I often use two of them for one of my favorite lunches, bratwurst (or meat or tofu hot dogs) with Dijon mustard and sauerkraut.

The American branch of Yamamotoyama Japan, which Kahei Yamamotoyama established in 1690, markets these useful "Sushi Party Soy Wrappers."They come in two sizes. I prefer the smaller "half sheet" size, because the half sheets come in a resealable package and the bigger ones (the "full sheets of 7 1/16" x 7 7/8") don't.

Some East Asian markets carry them. Yamamotoyama also offers them online. It's an idea that would have made the Earl of Sandwich proud.

Update February 6, 2010:

Toasted sushi nori is another great way to make a sandwich. Each sheet has just 5 calories, essentially all from protein, and no net carbs. One sheet provides 70 percent of our daily iodine requirements. Nori is a "sea vegetable," formerly called seaweed. Using a sheet of nori to wrap up a half an avocado is my favorite way to eat it. Thanks to Shelly Young, who writes here at on diabetes and mindfulness, for introducing me to this tasty addition to my diet.