How many calories are in roast beef lunch meat?

Roast beef lunch meat is a popular deli meat that many people enjoy in sandwiches, wraps, salads and more. It provides a boost of protein and flavor, but many wonder just how many calories are packed into those convenient slices.

In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the calorie count in different varieties and servings of roast beef lunch meat. We will also look at how it fits into a healthy diet.

Calories in Roast Beef Lunch Meat

The calorie count in roast beef lunch meat can vary depending on the specific type and brand. Here is an overview of the average calories found in common roast beef lunch meat varieties:

Regular Roast Beef Lunch Meat

Regular roast beef lunch meat, such as typical deli-sliced varieties you find at the supermarket, contain around 40-50 calories per slice. A typical 1 ounce serving contains:

  • Calories: 43
  • Fat: 1.5g
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Protein: 7g

So if your sandwich calls for 2 slices of roast beef, you would be consuming 80-100 calories just from the meat alone.

Lower Sodium Roast Beef Lunch Meat

There are lower sodium options for health-conscious consumers watching their salt intake. These lower sodium roast beef slices contain a similar calorie count per slice:

  • Calories: 45
  • Fat: 1.5g
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Protein: 7g

Extra Lean Roast Beef Lunch Meat

For an even leaner choice, look for extra lean varieties of roast beef lunch meat. These typically contain around 35 calories per slice:

  • Calories: 35
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Protein: 7g

Going with the extra lean options can trim nearly 10 calories off per slice compared to regular roast beef.

Calories in a Roast Beef Sandwich

Knowing the calorie counts for the meat is useful, but how many calories are in a full roast beef sandwich? A typical roast beef sandwich on white bread with 2 slices of meat, cheese and condiments contains approximately:

  • Bread (2 slices): 160 calories
  • Roast Beef (2 slices): 80-100 calories
  • Cheese (1 slice): 110 calories
  • Mayo (1 tbsp): 90 calories
  • Lettuce/tomatoes: 10 calories

Total: Around 450-470 calories for the average roast beef sandwich

Here are some other common roast beef sandwich combos and their total calorie amounts:

  • Roast beef and swiss on rye with mustard: 380 calories
  • Roast beef and cheddar on whole wheat with light mayo: 400 calories
  • Roast beef and provolone on sourdough with oil and vinegar: 435 calories

As you can see, the bread choice, cheese and condiments can really impact the calories in a roast beef sandwich. Building your sandwich with nutrient-dense fillings and condiments over fatty options like mayo can trim some calories.

Calories in a Roast Beef Wrap

For a lower carb option, roast beef can be wrapped up in a flour tortilla or low-carb wrap alternative. Here’s the calorie breakdown for a typical roast beef wrap:

  • Wrap (1 large): 200 calories
  • Roast Beef (2 slices): 80-100 calories
  • Cheese (1 slice): 110 calories
  • Lettuce, tomatoes, onions: 20 calories
  • Light mayo (1 tbsp): 45 calories

Total: Around 475-500 calories for a roast beef wrap

Skipping the tortilla altogether by making a lettuce wrap is an easy way to cut calories. A lettuce wrap would have just the calories from the fillings, so around 300 calories total.

Calories in Other Roast Beef Meals and Snacks

In addition to sandwiches and wraps, roast beef can be enjoyed in a variety of lunches, dinners and snacks. Here are the calories for some other common roast beef meals:

Roast Beef Salad

  • Romaine Lettuce (3 cups): 30 calories
  • Roast Beef (3 oz): 130 calories
  • Tomatoes (1 cup): 30 calories
  • Cucumber (1 cup): 20 calories
  • Light Italian dressing (2 Tbsp): 70 calories
  • Croutons (1 oz): 100 calories

Total: Around 380 calories per salad

Roast Beef Roll Up

  • Roast Beef (2 oz): 85 calories
  • Cream cheese (1 oz): 100 calories
  • Bell pepper strips: 5 calories

Total: 190 calories per roll up

Open-Faced Roast Beef Melt

  • Bread (1 slice): 80 calories
  • Roast Beef (2 oz): 85 calories
  • Swiss cheese (1 oz): 110 calories

Total: 275 calories per open-faced melt

As you can see, enjoying roast beef without the bread significantly reduces the calories. Portion control is also key, as limiting roast beef to 2-3 ounces per serving keeps calories in check.

Nutritional Profile of Roast Beef

Now that we’ve covered calories, let’s look at the overall nutrition you get from roast beef:


Roast beef is an excellent source of protein. A 3 ounce serving provides around 21 grams of protein. This helps support muscle growth and keeps you feeling fuller for longer after eating.


Roast beef provides around 15% of your daily iron needs. Iron carries oxygen throughout the body and supports physical performance.


You also get about 28% of your daily zinc needs from 3 ounces of roast beef. Zinc supports immune function and wound healing.

Vitamin B12

Roast beef contains vitamin B12, which is important for nerve function and DNA synthesis. A serving provides about 45% of the recommended daily value.


Roast beef contains selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties that supports thyroid function.

So in addition to protein, roast beef delivers several important micronutrients. Choosing lean cuts helps maximize the nutritional benefit without excess saturated fat.

Roast Beef in a Healthy Diet

Roast beef can fit into a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation. Here are some tips for keeping roast beef healthy:

  • Limit roast beef to about 3-4 ounces per serving.
  • Choose leaner cuts like eye of round or top round.
  • Trim off excess visible fat before eating.
  • Build sandwiches and wraps with nutrient-dense breads, veggies and condiments.
  • Avoid adding extra cheese and mayo which can pile on fat and calories.
  • Enjoy roast beef as part of an overall balanced diet.
  • Pair it with side dishes like salads, roasted veggies, whole grains and beans.

While roast beef is high in sodium, you can limit the risks by keeping your overall sodium intake moderate. Drink plenty of water to help flush out excess sodium.

Portion control is key

Stick within the recommended 3-4 ounce serving per meal, which contains an average of 130 calories and 21 grams of protein. This one sensible portion of roast beef fits easily into a calorie-controlled diet.

Finding Lower Calorie Roast Beef Options

Here are some tips for picking lower calorie roast beef options:

  • Select extra lean cuts with minimal marbling. This trim excess fat.
  • Look for lower sodium options to minimize additives and preservatives.
  • Buy quality roast beef without added fillers or chemicals.
  • Check the nutrition label and select brands with less fat per serving.
  • Opt for hormone-free, uncured roast beef when possible.

Buying roast beef at the deli counter allows you to request thinner slices to keep portions smaller. Or consider pre-packaged thin sliced roast beef to easily control serving sizes.

Cooking roast beef at home can also help control calories, sodium and ingredients. Trim excess fat before cooking for a leaner homemade roast.

Healthy Roast Beef Sandwich and Wrap Ideas

Here are some ideas for lightening up your favorite roast beef sandwiches and wraps:

Sandwich Ideas

  • Use whole grain bread or rye bread
  • Layer on lots of veggies like lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado
  • Swap mayo for hummus or mustard
  • Use one slice of low-fat cheese or skip cheese altogether
  • Add spicy mustard or horseradish for flavor
  • Use one slice of bread for open-face sandwich
  • Switch to a lettuce wrap for lower carbs

Wrap Ideas

  • Choose lower carb wraps made with veggies or lettuce
  • Load up on veggie fillings and limit cheese
  • Use Greek yogurt instead of mayo for creaminess
  • Add crunchy vegetables like bell peppers, cucumbers, onion
  • Use hummus or avocado instead of fatty dressings
  • Sprinkle on herbs and spices instead of salt for flavor
  • Opt for mustard, oil and vinegar as lower calorie dressing

Healthy Roast Beef Recipes

To enjoy roast beef as part of a healthy diet, be sure to incorporate it into balanced recipes. Here are some delicious and nutritious recipe ideas:

Roast Beef and Quinoa Bowls

Flavorful roast beef served over nutrient-packed quinoa with fresh vegetables.

Roast Beef Cobb Salad

Mixed greens topped with roast beef, hard boiled egg, avocado, tomato and light dressing.

Roast Beef Stuffed Peppers

Lean roast beef and brown rice filling stuffed in roasted red bell peppers.

Roast Beef Zucchini Boats

Hollowed out zucchini boats filled with roast beef, tomatoes, herbs and Parmesan cheese.

Roast Beef Power Bowls

Harvest grain bowls with roast beef, kale, roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas and tahini dressing.

Roast Beef Lettuce Cups

Romaine lettuce cups filled with roast beef, carrots, edamame and peanut sauce.

Be sure to balance roast beef with nutrient-dense grains, healthy fats, and plenty of vegetables in your recipes. Proper portion sizes are key.

Is Roast Beef Healthy? The Bottom Line

Roast beef can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. Choosing lean cuts, controlling portions, and avoiding excessive processed meats are all important factors for health.

While roast beef provides important nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc, it can be high in sodium and saturated fat. Limit roast beef to a few times per week as recommended by most nutrition guidelines.

When shopping, look for high quality roast beef without lots of additives and fillers. And be mindful of your portion sizes. Stick to the recommended 3-4 ounces per serving for good nutrition without excess calories.

At the end of the day, roast beef is fine occasionally as part of an overall nutritious diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. By carefully choosing your roast beef and how it fits into your diet, you can enjoy it deliciously as well as nutritiously.

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