Sandwich Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Condiments and Bread Choices Increase Calories in a Sandwich

Turkey sandwich
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
In This Article

Do you pack yourself a sandwich for lunch every day? Bringing a homemade lunch to work with you is one of the easiest ways to lose weight when you're on the job. But toppings like avocado, mayonnaise, and even mustard can change the nutrition and the calories in a sandwich.

A "healthy" sandwich can easily set you back 400 to 500 calories if you're not careful. It's easy to cut calories from your sandwich if you are armed with smart nutrition information and a few savvy tips.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one sandwich (155g) with ham, cheese, and spread (mayonnaise).

  • Calories: 361
  • Fat: 16.7
  • Sodium: 1320mg
  • Carbohydrates: 32.5g
  • Fiber: 2.3g
  • Sugars: 5.13g
  • Protein: 19.3g

A typical sandwich you make at home includes bread (for one large, thick slice of whole wheat, toasted (39 grams), add 119 calories), one or two of your favorite condiments, and lunch meat. You may even add a few veggies for crunch and flavor. If you make that sandwich at home you can control the ingredients, cut calories, and boost nutrition. 

But what if you pick one up at the market? It's harder to control sandwich calories when you buy them pre-made. The nutritional value and calorie counts can vary significantly.

Typical Sandwich Calories 

  • Turkey sandwich calories can range from 160 to nearly 500 calories depending on the amount of meat you add and the condiment choices. 
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich calories range from about 350 to 500 depending on how much peanut butter you use. A single serving of peanut butter is just two tablespoons. (Hint: you can make a healthier peanut butter and jelly sandwich).
  • Peanut butter sandwich calories are more reasonable as long as you control the amount of peanut butter you use. A PB sandwich on white bread usually ranges from 200-300 calories.
  • Nutella sandwich calories are similar to peanut butter sandwich calories, ranging from about 300 to 500. A single serving of Nutella is about two tablespoons and it provides 200 calories.
  • Ham sandwich calories are generally (more) diet-friendly when you omit the cheese. You can make one for under 200 calories, but if you add butter—as many people do—and enjoy it on a french baguette your sandwich will top 400 calories or more.
  • Subway sandwich calories vary significantly from 230 to nearly 1000 calories. It's smart to compare Subway nutrition facts to find the healthiest choice if you like to eat there.
  • Egg salad sandwich calories are sky-high due to the fact that the filling is full of fat. Egg salad alone can add 350 calories. Add bread and you might have a sandwich that tops 500 calories.
  • Chicken salad sandwich calories are comparable to egg salad calories, ranging from about 400 to 600 calories, or more.
  • Egg and cheese sandwich calories usually range from about 250-over 400 calories. These popular breakfast sandwiches often come on a croissant or a biscuit and that can drive the calories higher. You can find a healthier breakfast sandwich by checking ingredients and calorie counts online before you dine in.

So how do you keep your sandwich from derailing your diet? Use this guide to cut calories from your sandwich.

How to Cut Sandwich Calories

With just a few tweaks and healthy swaps, you can create a nutritious and healthy sandwich that is lower in calories but still full of flavor and lasting satisfaction.

Choose Low-Calorie Sandwich Bread 

Delicious, thick, crusty bread, bagels, baguettes, croissants, and hearty rolls can be full of fat and calories. These choices might also boost your starchy carb intake for the day. Instead, choose diet-friendly bread or a bread alternative. (All calorie values following are confirmed from the US Department of Agriculture FoodData Central database or the MyFitnessPal app.)

  • Arnold Bakery Light - 100% Whole Wheat Bread: 60 calories per slice
  • Nature's Own Wheat Bread: 110 calories for two slices
  • Pepperidge Farm Light Style Bread: 45 calories per slice
  • Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran, and Whole Wheat Flour Pita Bread: 60 calories per pita
  • La Tortilla Factory Low Carb, High Fiber Tortillas: 50 calories per tortilla

If you prefer a more natural approach, try making a sandwich with no bread at all. Wrap your healthy sandwich filling in bibb lettuce or make a sandwich using a peeled and seeded cucumber as the shell. They don't travel as well as traditional sandwiches but if you carry them in a plastic container they aren't as messy.

Choose Diet-Friendly Sandwich Meats

Once you've chosen your healthy bread, you'll build your sandwich around a meat or meat-free filling. Get creative and combine different choices to find new flavors.

However, be wary of meat or fish spreads that sound healthy. Many brands of salmon spread, for example, contain protein and healthy nutrients, but the fish is often combined with cream cheese so the spread is very high in calories. 

  • Thinly sliced deli ham (from Tops): 60 calories per serving
  • Thinly sliced deli turkey (from Tops): 60 calories per serving
  • Thinly sliced deli roast beef (from Great Value): 30 calories per serving (three slices)
  • Thinly sliced deli-style rotisserie chicken breast (from Tops): 60 calories per two-ounce serving
  • Grilled eggplant, three slices: 30 calories (grilled without oil)
  • Grilled portobello mushroom, one cup (homemade): 42 calories (grilled without oil)

If you are watching your sodium intake, look for healthier low-sodium lunch meats at your local market.

Load Up on Diet-Friendly Veggie Toppings

Pack your sandwich with as many naturally fat-free or low-fat toppings as possible. These nutrient-rich veggies add spice, flavor, and crunch to your sandwich so it tastes more filling and decadent.

  • Banana peppers
  • Green peppers sliced thin
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Jalapeno peppers sliced thin
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Plain or grilled onions
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Basil leaves
  • Alfalfa or bean sprouts
  • Iceberg lettuce, spinach, bibb lettuce, or greens of your choice

Choose Low-Calorie Condiments 

The spread that you choose for your sandwich takes up the least space in your low-calorie sandwich but can provide the most fat. If you add plenty of toppings from the list above then you may not want to add any spread at all. 

  • Yellow mustard (1 tsp. Wegman's): 0 calories
  • Dijon mustard: 5 calories
  • Ketchup (1 tablespoon, Simply Heinz): 15 calories
  • Relish (Vlasic Squeezable Homestyle): 15 calories 
  • Avocado or guacamole (Wholy Guacamole, 2 tablespoons): 50 calories
  • Barbecue sauce (Dinosaur, 2 tablespoons): 25 calories
  • Olive tapenade (Trader Joe's): 40 calories 
  • Avocado (1 medium): 1600 calories 
  • Jelly (apple, 1 tablespoon): 50 calories 
  • Salad dressing (Wishbone, 2 tablespoons): 90 calories 
  • Pesto (25 g): 80 calories
  • Tahini (Sabra, 1 colher): 90 calories
  • Aioli (chimichuri aioli, 1 tablespoon): 60 calories
  • Butter (Land O'Lakes, 1 tablespoon): 100 calories 
  • Olive oil (organic, 1 tablespoon): 120 calories 

Highest Calorie Choices

So what are the worst sandwich choices for your diet? Usually, the sandwiches you buy in convenience stores or order at restaurants are highest in fat and calories. Deli sandwiches can also derail your diet. A 10-inch classic Philly Cheesesteak from Wawa, for example, provides about 790 calories and 29 grams of fat.

Most of the time, restaurant, and deli sandwiches are oversized and include the condiments that are highest in fat and calories.

If you order a sandwich when you're on the go, cut it in half. Share one half of the sandwich with a friend or wrap it up and take it home for a later meal. 

A Word From Verywell

When you're first getting started, cutting sandwich calories might seem complicated and unfamiliar. But once you get the hang of it, crafting a delicious lunchtime meal is fun.

Fill your refrigerator with as many healthy choices as possible. Then get creative and see what you come up with. The time you invest in packing a healthy lunch can make your workday more satisfying and your long-term health goals a reality. 

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  1. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Ham and cheese sandwich, with lettuce and spread. FDC ID: 338652. Food Code: 27520320. FDC Published: 4/1/2019. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service 2020 https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/338652/nutrients

  2. US Department of Agriculutre, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Bread, whole wheat, toasted. FDC ID: 339613. Food Code:51300120. FDC Published: 4/1/2019. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service 2020 https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/339029/nutrients