A large pastrami sandwich can contain a significant number of calories, depending on the specific ingredients and quantities used. Pastrami itself is a type of cured and smoked meat that originated in Romania and Turkey. It is made from beef brisket or other cuts that are brined, dried, seasoned with spices, and then smoked. Pastrami has a distinctively smoky flavor and is often served on rye bread or a roll with mustard in a classic deli-style sandwich.
Calories in Pastrami
A 3 ounce serving of pastrami contains:
- Calories: 232
- Total Fat: 18g
- Saturated Fat: 6g
- Cholesterol: 54mg
- Sodium: 979mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 1g
- Dietary Fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 13g
As you can see, even a small serving of pastrami packs a lot of calories, fat, and sodium. Pastrami gets much of its rich, smoky flavor from the curing and smoking process, which allows the meat to be preserved. However, this also concentrates the calories and sodium compared to fresh, unprocessed cuts of meat.
Calories in Bread
In addition to the pastrami, the type and amount of bread must be considered when determining the total calories in a pastrami sandwich. Some common options include:
- Rye bread: Around 83 calories per slice
- Sourdough bread: Around 86 calories per slice
- Whole wheat bread: Around 69 calories per slice
- White bread: Around 75 calories per slice
A large deli-style pastrami sandwich would likely use at least 2 slices of bread, and possibly more if it is stacked high. So the bread alone could add 150-200 calories or more to the total.
Calories in Cheese
Cheese is another common pastrami sandwich ingredient that can significantly increase the calorie count. Some popular cheese choices and their calorie counts include:
- Swiss cheese: 104 calories per ounce
- Provolone cheese: 98 calories per ounce
- American cheese: 49 calories per ounce
- Cheddar cheese: 114 calories per ounce
A large pastrami sandwich may contain 2-4 ounces of cheese. Going with a lower calorie choice like American can save a lot of calories compared to higher fat cheeses like cheddar or Swiss.
Calories in Condiments
Don’t forget to account for any additional condiments and toppings that are added to the pastrami sandwich. These can add calories too:
- Yellow mustard: 15 calories per tablespoon
- Deli mustard: 10 calories per tablespoon
- Mayonnaise: 90 calories per tablespoon
- Pickles: 5 calories each
- Lettuce and tomato: Less than 5 calories each
Going easy on high calorie condiments like mayonnaise and using more vegetables can help keep the calories down. But those little extras still add up, so be sure to factor them in.
Putting It All Together
Now let’s put this all together to estimate the total calories in a large pastrami sandwich:
|Pastrami (6 oz)||348|
|Rye bread (4 slices)||332|
|Swiss cheese (3 oz)||312|
|Deli mustard (2 Tbsp)||20|
|Lettuce and tomato||10|
As you can see in this example, a large pastrami sandwich made with 6 ounces of pastrami, 4 slices of rye bread, 3 ounces of Swiss cheese, mustard, lettuce, and tomato adds up to around 1022 calories. Of course, the exact amount may vary depending on your specific ingredients and portion sizes.
Lower Calorie Options
If you want to lower the calorie count of your pastrami sandwich, there are a few easy switches you can make:
- Choose lower calorie bread like whole wheat instead of rye
- Use reduced fat cheese like American instead of Swiss
- Limit the pastrami to 3-4 ounces instead of 6 ounces
- Use mustard instead of mayo for adding flavor
- Pile on fresh veggies like lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles
- Opt for a half or mini sandwich instead of a full large sandwich
With some simple substitutions like these, you could likely reduce the calorie count by 200-300 calories or more.
To make your pastrami sandwich as healthy as possible, here are some tips:
- Choose whole grain bread or rye loaded with seeds
- Limit cheese or skip it altogether
- Opt for mustard, hummus, or avocado spread instead of mayo
- Add spinach, arugula, sprouts, and other greens
- Include crunchy vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, radish, cucumbers
- Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar instead of creamy dressings
- Cut the sandwich in half or order a mini size
- Opt for a side salad instead of fries or chips
Making some of these simple changes can reduce the calories, fat, sodium, and refined carbs. While pastrami will never be a low calorie food, enjoying it in moderation on a well-balanced, portion controlled sandwich can allow you to still enjoy the flavors you crave.
Pastrami Sandwich Calories Compared to Other Sandwiches
Compared to other common deli and sandwich fare, a pastrami sandwich is on the higher end of the calorie spectrum. Here’s how it compares:
|Turkey and Swiss on Wheat||387|
|Ham and American on Rye||431|
|Roast Beef and Cheddar on Baguette||566|
|Pastrami and Swiss on Rye||1022|
|Tuna Salad Sandwich||368|
|Chicken Salad Sandwich||424|
|BLT on Toast||421|
As you can see, a pastrami sandwich generally packs about twice as many calories as lighter cold cut sandwiches like turkey, ham, chicken salad, and tuna salad. So if watching your calories is a priority, those are healthier and lighter options.
Portion Control is Key
At the end of the day, portion control is one of the most important factors in keeping sandwich calories under control. Even healthy, low calorie fillings can add up when large portions are consumed. Here are some tips for portion control:
- Order a half or mini sandwich instead of a full large sandwich
- Split your sandwich with a friend or save half for later
- Opt for a side salad instead of fries or chips
- Stick to just one sandwich instead of two
- Share an appetizer instead of each person getting their own
Using smaller plates, splitting portions, and avoiding mindless overeating can go a long way. If you’re dining out, look up nutrition information online and be mindful about portions and ingredients.
A large pastrami sandwich can certainly pack a caloric punch, with an average total calorie count around 1,000 calories or more. Exact amounts will vary based on portion sizes and specific ingredients used. Choosing lower calorie bread, cheese, and condiments can help reduce the calorie count. Controlling portions and sides can also prevent overindulging. While pastrami will always be a higher calorie choice, there are many ways to enjoy it in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.