Sandwich Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Chicken, avocado, and tomato sandwich
Lisa Hubbard / Getty Images

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 you should be especially careful to make a diet-friendly sandwich. It's easy to cut calories from your sandwich with a few simple tips that take just 30 seconds or less to learn.

Sandwich Calories

Ham and Cheese Sandwich Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 sandwich (146 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 352 
Calories from Fat 139 
Total Fat 15.5g24%
Saturated Fat 6.4g32%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4g 
Monounsaturated Fat 6.7g 
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 771mg32%
Potassium 290.54mg8%
Carbohydrates 33.3g11%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 0g 
Protein 20.7g 
Vitamin A 6% · Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 13% · Iron 18%

A typical sandwich that you make at home includes bread, your favorite condiment, and lunch meat. You may even add a few veggies for crunch and flavor.

While it doesn't sound like those simple ingredients would provide too many calories, they can quickly add up. A typical ham and cheese sandwich provides nearly 16 grams of fat. An egg and cheese sandwich provides nearly 400 calories and 20 grams of fat and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich provides about 350 calories (although you can make a healthier peanut butter and jelly sandwich).

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

Choose Low-Calorie Bread

Delicious, thick, crusty bread can be full of fat and calories. So what's the easiest way to cut calories from your sandwich? Choose diet-friendly bread. Stay away from bagels, baguettes, croissants and hearty rolls. Many of these bread choices will send your calorie count through the roof.

Choose one of these low-calorie bread choices instead. They are easy to find in most grocery stores.

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 Filling

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. But 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.

Healthy Protein Choices

  • Thinly sliced deli ham: 60 calories per serving
  • Thinly sliced deli turkey: 60 calories per serving
  • Thinly sliced deli roast beef: 80 calories per serving
  • Thinly sliced deli chicken: 50 calories per serving

Vegetarian Choices

  • Grilled eggplant: 20 calories (grilled without oil)
  • Grilled portobello mushroom: 15 calories (grilled without oil)

Diet-Friendly Toppings

  • 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

Pack your sandwich with as many of the toppings as possible. These low-calorie veggies add spice, flavor, and crunch to your sandwich so it tastes more filling and decadent.

Choose Healthy Spreads

Hold the mayo! 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.

If you do add a spread, mustard is your lowest calorie option with just 3 calories per serving.

Creamy spreads have more flavor and sometimes even provide healthy fats, but they are very high in calories. So be careful about how much you use if you want to cut calories from your sandwich.

  • Olive oil: 119 calories per tablespoon
  • Olive tapenade: 30 calories per tablespoon
  • Avocado: 40 calories per tablespoon
  • Pesto: 80 calories per tablespoon

It's really easy to cut calories from your sandwich to create a healthy meal. Just fill your fridge with the best diet-friendly ingredients and experiment with new flavors to stay satisfied while you slim down.

Unhealthiest Options

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. An 8-inch Philly Cheesesteak, for example, provides about 710 calories and 24 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 in half. Share one half of the sandwich with a friend or wrap it up and take it home for a later meal.