When you want a meal that fills you up, is easy to customize, and is quick to make, there’s nothing quite like a ham and cheese sandwich. It’s a simple meal choice, but a good one, and depending on the ingredients you use, it can be very tasty.
But the ingredients you use to make your ham and cheese sandwich also have a big impact on the calorie count.
Choosing the right ham, cheese, and bread can transform your simple lunch into a nutritional meal. The wrong choices can also add a lot more calories, fat, and sodium.
A homemade ham and cheese sandwich will typically contain around 350 calories. In this guide, we’ll take a look at where these calories come from, and how to make the healthiest choice for you.
How Many Calories In A Ham And Cheese Sandwich?
There are a lot of variables when it comes to making a ham and cheese sandwich. Whether you make it at home or order it on the go, a ham and cheese sandwich can take many different forms.
Let’s begin by breaking down exactly what’s found in a ham and cheese sandwich, and how much this affects the calorie count.
A single slice of ham is likely to contain between 30 and 100 calories. The calorie level will vary depending on many different factors. For example, a slice of honey-glazed ham might have a higher calorie count than a standard deli ham.
The thickness of the ham will also play a key role in the calorie count. If you ask the deli to slice it thick, then you might be getting two slices in one.
If you prefer your ham to be flexible and thin, a single slice is going to contain fewer calories — but you might be tempted to add more slices.
Overall, you can expect the ham on your cheese and ham sandwich to add roughly 70 calories.
But it’s also worth noting that calories aren’t the only thing to consider when choosing ham. Some deli meats have high levels of sodium, to keep the meat preserved.
As with ham, it’s difficult to be sure of just how many calories are in your cheese. It’s going to depend a lot on the type of cheese you choose for your sandwich.
A slice of Swiss cheese is likely to add 100 calories to your sandwich (to learn more about how many calories are in cheese, read here). A slice of cheddar will often have a higher calorie count — around 113 calories.
Monterey Jack is generally between the two. Kraft American cheese contains around 60 calories per slice but does come with high fat and sodium levels.
Overall, you can expect cheese to add another 100 calories to your sandwich.
Two slices of white bread typically contain between 140 and 160 calories. Two slices of whole-wheat bread have a roughly similar calorie count.
Rye bread has a slightly higher calorie count, and two slices might add 160 to 180 calories, while sourdough bread has a higher calorie count again.
However, when it comes to choosing bread, don’t get caught up in the calorie count. Two slices of white bread might, on the surface, be a healthier choice.
However, white bread often contains lower levels of nutrients than other forms of bread. Whole-wheat bread generally has more fiber and nutrients, both of which are essential for a healthy diet.
Fancy a bit of mustard or a spoonful of mayonnaise? These ingredients help bring your sandwich together (and stop it from literally falling apart) but they also add to the calorie count of your chosen meal.
A spoonful of mustard will add around 10 calories to your sandwich. A tablespoon of mustard will add around 100 calories (although you might not need an entire tablespoon for a sandwich).
Finally, you might choose to add some salads, such as tomato and lettuce. These will add between 1 and 30 calories, depending on just what you use.
A standard ham and cheese sandwich is likely to contain around 350 calories. However, if you prefer a loaded sandwich with lots of toppings and plenty of filling, you might find your sandwich is closer to 500 calories.
How Many Calories In A Ready-Made Ham And Cheese Sandwich?
A ham and cheese sandwich is a fairly standard lunch order, so you might not stop and consider the calories if this is your go-to meal. However, depending on where you order your sandwich, you might be getting a hugely different calorie count.
Take a trip to Starbucks, and you can enjoy ham and swiss cheese on a baguette with Dijon butter. This is a high-protein menu option, containing 480 calories, 2g of sugar, and 23g of fat.
A footlong ham and American cheese sandwich from Subway contains roughly 600 calories. If you wanted to elevate your standard ham and cheese to a toasted steak and white cheddar from Panera, this contains around 940 calories.
Every restaurant and store will have a method for making a ham and cheese sandwich, which means the calorie count is immensely variable.
How To Make A Lower-Calorie Ham And Cheese Sandwich
If you want to make a healthier ham and cheese sandwich, then pay close attention to every ingredient you choose. The type of deli ham, cheese, and bread you choose will greatly impact the overall calorie level.
Look for ingredients that need just a small amount to deliver a big flavor. For example, pick mustard over mayonnaise. A sharp cheddar might have more calories than other types of cheese, but you don’t need much.
When it comes to bread, think beyond calories. Whole-wheat bread might have more calories than white, but it will also have more fiber and nutrients.
A ham and cheese sandwich is a classic lunch option, and something many of us will enjoy without even thinking about the calories.
You can expect a homemade ham and cheese sandwich to contain between 300 and 500 calories. If you choose to eat on the go, be aware of high-calorie sandwiches.
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