5 Sandwich Swaps That Could Save You Hundreds of Calories

By , Kirsten Nunez
When it comes to sandwiches, anything goes. They’re basically blank canvases waiting to be adorned with your favorite fixings and toppings. In turn, you can easily experiment with different ingredients—and enjoy all of them in every bite.
There’s just one catch, though: If you’re not careful, those very ingredients can turn your sandwich into an energy-dense meal. After all, much like carbs and fats, all sandwiches are not equal.
Luckily, it’s possible to make one that’s low in calories and full of flavor. It comes down to replacing traditional sandwich fixings with lighter, more wholesome ingredients. Before you know it, you can have your sandwich and eat it, too.

1. Use hummus instead of mayonnaise.

Mayo might be a sandwich staple, but it’s also high in the calorie department. Just one tablespoon of regular mayonnaise has 94 calories! Needless to say, it alone can ruin an otherwise healthy sandwich.  
Try hummus instead, which has just 36 calories per tablespoon—almost a third of mayo. Plus, as a stellar source of plant-based protein and fiber, hummus will keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day.

2. Choose whole-grain bread instead of white bread.

For an easy sandwich swap, use whole grain in place of white. It’s a simple switch that will cut out refined carbs, one of the best things you can do for your health. Fueling up on complex carbs instead will power you through the day, plus you'll see the caloric load of your sandwich drop as well. And as for the calories you do eat? They’ll be more nutritionally dense, thanks to the fiber, vitamins and minerals in whole grains.

3. Reach for a bread replacement.

Yes, your mother always made your sandwiches with Wonder bread with the crusts cut off, but bread is not your only option. If you want to keep the focus on the flavorful ingredients, opt for a high-fiber, whole-grain tortilla instead. Tortillas are especially useful for holding together "loose" ingredients—like beans or peas—and messier fillings, such as avocado egg salad.
For an even lighter option, grab a leafy green to use as a wrap. They’re not only low in calories, but full of vitamins and minerals, too. What more can you ask for? Try Swiss chard, collard greens or kale for a sturdy base. You can even use smaller leaves to make mini “sliders.” If you need some inspiration, check out this tasty sesame chicken lettuce wrap recipe.

4. Substitute portobello mushrooms for deli meat.

Ditch the processed deli meat for “meaty” veggies like portobello mushrooms. This simple swap will not only help you cut back on calories, but you'll also be avoiding the preservatives and sodium that hide in deli meats.
All it takes is some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and spices to dress up portobello mushroom caps. Then, just roast them in the oven or throw them on the grill before popping them on your sandwich (grilled portobello burgers, anyone?) and allowing them to be the star of the show.
If you’re not a fan of mushrooms or have an allergy, try vegetables like eggplant and cauliflower.

5. Add flavor with spices.

While condiments can elevate a sandwich, they’re often jam-packed with calories and sodium. Some sauces, like ketchup and barbecue sauce, are also hidden sources of sugar.
Reach for spices and herbs, instead. With the right combination, you can add low-calorie flavor to your favorite sandwich. For example, if you love ranch dressing, make a homemade ranch seasoning mix. You’ll need spices like parsley, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, chives and black pepper. Sprinkle it on your sandwich fillings or mix with olive oil and add a light drizzle. If you love tomatoes on your sandwich, adding some basil leaves the mix will add an extra burst of complementary flavor. Mix and match and experiment until you find the combos that you love.

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GEORGE815 7/6/2021
Thanks Report
FRAN0426 6/14/2021
Thanks for the article. I save calories on some of my sandwiches but no using and spread. I put a couple of large romaine leafs on the sandwich. The crunch and the water content is just enough for me. Report
thanks Report
ERIN_POSCH 6/6/2021
thx Report
ETHELMERZ 6/6/2021
If only everyone in the family agreed with these different choices! Report
JERRYGIRL4 4/23/2021
Good reminders on how to save calories! Report
EVIE4NOW 2/7/2021
thanks Report
FISHGUT3 12/22/2020
thanks Report
DEE107 11/7/2020
thanks Report
ELRIDDICK 9/26/2020
Thanks for sharing Report
EVILCECIL 8/20/2020
Good ideas. Report
i love these ideas Report
Great ideas! Report
Thanks for sharing Report
Thanks for sharing. Great information. Report
Great ideas! I never thought of a portabello mushroom as the "meat" of a sandwich. I'll be giving that a try! Report
Good to know Report
Thanks Report
Use swiss chard in place of bread. Have you SEEN swiss chard? Also: Using leafy greens in place of bread used to be called a walking salad. It's good, don't get me wrong, but it's a salad at that point. Report
Hummus, yum Report
Thank you. Report
Thanks Report
Some good ideas Report
I have good allergies, these lists always try to kill me. Report
I* love whole grain bread! Report
These all sound yummy Report
Thanks Report
thanks Report
Nice ideas. Report
Awesome...thanks! Report
I love using roasted red pepper hummus instead of mayo. It saves a lot of emtpy calories, provides a smidge of nutrition, and tastes so much better, too! Report
Sometimes I choose to make a small whole wheat wrap or open face sandwich. Report
Thanks for sharing Report
I use bread made with protein, from navy bean flour. Report
Great ideas! Report
Excellent ideas Report
I make my own homemade hummus. I make plain, sun-dried tomato, etc. yum! Sometimes I use light mayo in measured portions and sometimes the hummus for my sandwiches. I don't disclude any foods, just eat in measured controlled portions. Report
Good ideas Report
Sometimes I eat my sandwich open face. Lately been using Target's everything mini bagels,100 cal
w/ hummus for breakfast or deli meat at lunch. A piece of fruit makes a decent meal.
If I'm craving a grilled cheese sandwich I make a quesadilla instead. One slice (or shredded) colby-jack cheese on a corn tortilla in the microwave then topped w/ salsa & bit of scallion.
My favorite was always tunafish w/ tons of mayo on English muffin & cheddar melted over both halves. Sometimes I would eat two!!! Now I make the tuna w/ seasoned rice vinegar & eat it on a bed of salad greens. Then have either a half pita, matzoh, or a portion of club crackers alongside. So many healthy options when a person decides to make changes for health & wellbeing. 🐨 Report
I like to substitute seasoned greek yogurt for mayo just as platinum755 mentioned, and have used steamed carrots in place of "meat". I even do just veggie sandwiches. I really liked your article. Report
Yum. Thanks for the substitutes Report
My favorite sandwich of all time is one I invented myself. I use a whole wheat pita putting 3TBS. of hummus inside. This is followed by bean sprouts, thinly sliced avocado, romaine lettuce shredded along with diced fresh tomato. Even if you find yourself cheating on this and eating two, at least you're cheating on something super healthy. Cheers! Report
I use mushrooms as a meat sub all the time! Report
So glad to see this article, I thought I was weird using hummus instead of mayo. Trader Joe's eggplant hummus my favorite. Also I use Mission low carb tortill as 60 calories,toast, fold in half and cut in half like regular sandwich. Report
I would never have come up with some of these on my own. Thanks! Report
Thank you. Report
Some of these ideas are very helpful. Thank you Report
Great suggestions! Try hummus, there are many kinds of hummus. Report
Good info. Report