Sandwiches are convenient options for any of the day's meals, but oversized sandwiches with calorie-rich meats and dressings can be bad for weight loss. If you make or order them right, however, sandwiches can also be nutritious and within your calorie budget. So you do not have to avoid them entirely if you are trying to lose weight. Use portion control and choose nutrient-dense ingredients to make a healthy sandwich that fits your diet plan.
Weight loss is all about calories in vs. calories out, and some sandwiches provide more calories than you need to lose weight. A crispy chicken sandwich with bacon and cheese from a restaurant contains 696 calories, while a 12-inch tuna sub with cheese has 1,033 calories. In comparison, a sandwich with two 1-ounce slices of whole-wheat bread and 2 ounces of sliced turkey breast contains only 208 calories and less saturated fat and sodium. You can lower the calorie count of nearly any sandwich by purchasing your own ingredients and making it at home.
Include Some Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient for tissue repair and muscle synthesis. Harvard University explains that it is also a filling nutrient because it slows the emptying of food from your stomach so that you feel full for longer after eating. Tuna, chicken breast and ham are lean proteins because they are low in fat and calories but rich in nutrients such as iron and vitamin B-12, making them nutritious additions to sandwiches. Low-fat cheese is a high-protein source of calcium, and beans provide protein and dietary fiber. Avoid high-calorie items, such as full-fat cheese and bacon.
Load Up on Vegetables
Vegetables are high in dietary fiber, and eating more of them can help you control your weight, according to the University of Michigan. Piling plenty of vegetables onto your sandwich makes it bigger and more satisfying without adding a lot of calories. Add roasted red pepper strips and sun-dried tomatoes to a sandwich with low-fat mozzarella cheese on whole-wheat bread, or stuff sprouts and fresh spinach leaves into a pita pocket sandwich that contains hummus.
Make Healthy Swaps
Choosing whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates gives you more nutrients, such as dietary fiber and magnesium, and helps you control your weight, according to the publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010." Make your sandwiches for weight loss on whole-grain bread, bagels, English muffins, tortillas or pita bread instead of their refined white counterparts. Another healthy swap you can make to help lose weight is to use fresh fruit instead of sugar-laden jam. Or you can sub in avocado slices or hummus instead of butter to make your sandwich less dry.