Washington offers a sea of sandwiches shops, so it’s an easy option for your midday meal. But NYC transplant Devon & Blakely, which has four locations in the District, distinguishes itself from the pack by focusing on super-convenient delivery service. More important, the chain offers wholesome ingredients for straightforward, simple sandwiches, which earns it props from this week’s registered dietitian Kendra Glassman.
“I think there are a lot of healthy options, and it’s easy for people to customize,” Glassman says. “I want to eat here!”
While the chain doesn’t post nutrition facts, Glassman was able to provide insight on some of Devon & Blakely’s many items. Read on for her rundown.
• Worst—Pressed Cuban: “‘Cuban sandwich’ is usually a keyword for ‘high calorie, high fat,’” Glassman says. “And the ham, Swiss, and pickles are all high in sodium, which is a concern for a lot of people.”
• Better—Roasted turkey: With Brie, cranberry chutney, arugula, and sweet onion on a pumpernickel baguette, this is a tasty, decent option. Improve it by asking for less Brie (which adds calories from fat) and keeping the sugary chutney on the side.
• Best—Smoked salmon sandwich or hummus and avocado: The simple smoked salmon, cucumber, tomato, and cream cheese on multigrain offers heart-healthy omega-3s and lycopene. Glassman says it’s a winner if you “go light on the cream cheese and ask for whole wheat, because multigrain isn’t the same thing.” Alternatively, the vegetarian hummus and avocado on seven-grain (plus toasted pine nuts, arugula, Parmesan, and tomato) offers great sources of protein and healthy fats. Our expert says the two options are equally nutritious.
• Worst—Cobb: Usually, cobb anything has too much going on to do you any favors. “It does have avocado, which is its saving grace, but it still also has bacon and blue cheese,” Glassman says. “It’s not horrible,” but she recommends avoiding adding any sides to this meal.
• Better—Chicken caesar: To improve this, our expert recommends swapping the flour tortilla for a whole-wheat one, skipping the croutons, and asking for light dressing.
• Best—Turkey and hummus wrap or Rio Grande fajita: The Rio Grande, paired with grilled chicken, “has this interesting black bean wrap, good fat from avocado, and lots of healthy vegetables,” Glassman says. “The hummus and turkey wrap has veggies, too, and hummus is a really great dressing. It’s just a matter of preference.”
BONUS—CREATE YOUR OWN SALAD
Devon & Blakely lets you choose from more than 50 toppings over your choice of three greens. Glassman’s perfect combination would be a mix of romaine and spinach, cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, broccoli, tomato, peppers, edamame, almonds, feta, and balsamic vinaigrette.
“I chose so many vegetables to get lots of vitamins, and picked different colors to get a spread of nutrients. I also chose the edamame and almonds for protein, but someone could get the chicken or tuna instead,” she explains.
In building your lunch, our expert says to pack on as many vegetables as you can and limit your extras, sticking to one choice of cheese or one crunchy topping. She also says to go for the fat-free or vinaigrette dressings.
The wraps are also generally wholesome, according to Glassman, as long as you relegate dressings to the side. And if you’re going to choose something else on the menu, be sure to balance meals with healthy accompaniments.
“Have fruit on the side. Or soup and a salad is always a good option, but be sure to go for broth-based and not cream-based soups,” Glassman recommends. “Here you can customize everything, and it’s great for people to be able to choose.”