Easy Ways to Cut Calories From Your Sandwich (2024)

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 mayonnaise, creamy dressings, and cheese can change the nutrition and the calories, fat, and sodium in a sandwich.

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

Sandwich Calories and Nutrition Facts

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


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.

The Healthiest and Unhealthiest Condiments

Favorite Sandwich Calories

The calories in a sandwich can vary widely based on the bread, fillings, and spread you use to make it.

  • Turkey sandwich calories: 160 to nearly 500 depending on the amount of meat you add and the condiment choices
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich calories: 350 to 500 depending on how much peanut butter you use. A single serving of peanut butter is just 2 tablespoons.(Here's how tomake a healthier peanut butter and jelly sandwich.)
  • Peanut butter sandwich calories: 200 to 300 for peanut butter on white bread
  • Nutella sandwich calories: 300 to 500; a 2-tablespoon serving of Nutella provides 200 calories.
  • Ham sandwich calories: Less than 200, with no cheese; with butter on a French baguette: 400 calories or more
  • Subway sandwich calories: 230 to nearly 1000 calories. Review Subway nutrition facts if you eat there often.
  • Egg salad sandwich calories: 350 for the mayo-based filling, plus about 150 for the bread
  • Chicken salad sandwich calories: 400 to 600 calories or more
  • Egg and cheese sandwich calories: 250 to 400 calories, or more if they're made on a croissant or a biscuit

19 Easy 300-Calorie Breakfast Ideas

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. Instead, choose a whole grain bread or bread alternative that has additional nutrient benefits such as healthy fats or fiber. If you are eating a heartier bread, consider making an open-faced sandwich and keeping your portion to one slice.

The following calorie values are 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

Or try making a sandwich with no bread at all.Wrap your sandwich filling in Bibb lettuce or make a sandwich using a peeled and seeded cucumber as the shell. And there are other options such as cauliflower wraps, brown rice wraps, homemade chickpea wraps, sweet potato, or flax wraps.

Choose Leaner Sandwich Fillings

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.

Calorie counts of popular sandwich fillings vary. Keep in mind that you should aim to limit the consumption of deli meat as it has been linked to certain cancers.

  • 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 low-sodium lunch meats at your local market.

The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Deli Meats

Load Up on Nutrient-Rich Veggie Toppings

Pack your sandwich with as many naturally fat-free and low-fat toppings (such as vegetables) as possible. Make yourself a goal to have at least 2 vegetable servings per sandwich. These nutrient-rich veggies add flavor, and crunch to your sandwich.

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

Choose Low-Calorie Sandwich 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 orguacamole (Wholly 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 (chimichurri aioli, 1 tablespoon): 60 calories
  • Butter (Land O'Lakes, 1 tablespoon): 100 calories
  • Olive oil (organic, 1 tablespoon): 120 calories

Highest Calorie Sandwich Choices

Usually, the sandwiches you buy in convenience stores or order at restaurants are highest in fat and calories. 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 condiments that are high 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 packinga healthy lunch can make your workday more satisfying and your long-term health goals a reality.

3 Sources

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. [Historical Record]: Ham and Cheese.

  2. US Department of Agriculutre, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central [Historical Record]. Whole Wheat Bread.

  3. Zhao Z, Feng Q, Yin Z, et al. Red and processed meat consumption and colorectal cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis.Oncotarget. 2017;8(47):83306-83314. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.20667

Easy Ways to Cut Calories From Your Sandwich (1)

By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer‚Äč, and fitness nutrition specialist.

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