How many calories is a chicken salad sandwich on white bread?

A chicken salad sandwich can be a tasty and satisfying lunch option. But many people wonder just how healthy these sandwiches are in terms of calories and other nutrients. The number of calories in a chicken salad sandwich can vary quite a bit depending on the specific ingredients used, portion sizes, and type of bread. In this article, we’ll look closely at the typical calorie count for a chicken salad sandwich made with white bread.

Calories in Chicken Salad

To determine how many calories are in a full chicken salad sandwich, we first need to know the calorie count just for the chicken salad itself. Chicken salad is typically made by combining cooked, chopped chicken with mayonnaise or another creamy dressing, along with other ingredients like celery, onion, relish, and seasonings.

The calorie count of plain chicken salad depends on what exactly goes into it. A quarter cup of basic chicken salad made with chopped, cooked chicken breast and a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise has about 210-230 calories. If the salad has more mayonnaise or includes higher-calorie ingredients like nuts, dried fruit, or bacon, the calorie count will increase. On the flip side, using light mayonnaise or greek yogurt instead of regular mayonnaise can lower the calorie count some.

So we’ll estimate that a typical one-cup serving of chicken salad contains about 400-500 calories. This number provides a baseline for calculating the total calories in a full sandwich.

Calories in White Bread

In addition to the chicken salad, the type of bread used in the sandwich also contributes a significant number of calories.

White sandwich bread is made from refined flour, which gives it a light color and soft texture that many people enjoy. But refined grains like white flour tend to be higher in calories and lower in nutrients compared to whole grain breads.

A standard slice of basic white bread contains about 75-80 calories. Specialty white breads like brioche or challah tend to be slightly higher in calories. Whole wheat bread or multigrain bread provides more fiber and other nutrients while containing around 60-70 calories per slice.

For a chicken salad sandwich, there are usually two slices of bread – so that contributes about 150-160 calories using regular white bread. Let’s use 150 calories in our calorie calculation for the full sandwich.

Putting It All Together

Now that we know the approximate calorie counts for a typical chicken salad and two slices of white bread, we can estimate the total calories in a full chicken salad sandwich:

* 1 cup chicken salad: 400-500 calories
* 2 slices white bread: 150 calories
* **Total calories: 550-650 calories**

So a chicken salad sandwich made with one cup of chicken salad on two slices of white bread contains **around 600 calories** on average.

This calorie count is for a moderate portion – some deli sandwiches may contain even more chicken salad and therefore more calories. Using heavier breads like croissants can also increase the calorie count significantly.

Lower Calorie Options

There are several simple ways to lighten up a chicken salad sandwich if you’re looking to cut some calories:

* Use less chicken salad – try 1/2 cup instead of a full cup
* Choose whole wheat or multigrain bread instead of white bread
* Use light mayonnaise or plain greek yogurt for the chicken salad base
* Load up on veggies like lettuce, tomato, onion, and spinach
* Skip any cheese or bacon additions
* Opt for mustard instead of mayo-based spreads
* Pick a low-cal wrap instead of regular bread

Following some of these tips can shave approximately 100-300 calories off your chicken salad sandwich. Just cutting down to 1/2 cup of chicken salad and having an open-faced sandwich on one slice of bread could bring the total down to around 350 calories.

Nutritional Benefits

While the calorie count of a chicken salad sandwich is moderately high, the sandwich also provides important nutrients, especially when made with nutritious ingredients.

Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein. White meat chicken breast is low in fat and calories while containing around 25-30 grams of protein per 3 ounce cooked serving. Protein helps keep you full and satisfied, builds and repairs muscles, and provides lasting energy.

The vegetables in chicken salad, like celery and onion, add fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. By choosing whole grain bread and loading up on veggie toppings like lettuce and tomato, you can further increase the nutritional value of your sandwich.

Finally, chicken salad provides zinc, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. So while it’s not a low-calorie option, chicken salad can be part of a healthy, balanced diet when enjoyed in moderation.

Calories Compared to Other Sandwiches

How does a chicken salad sandwich compare calorie-wise to some other popular sandwich choices? Here is a quick calorie comparison (based on basic ingredients on white bread):

* Chicken salad sandwich: 600 calories
* Tuna salad sandwich: 550 calories
* Turkey sandwich with cheese: 500 calories
* Ham and cheese sandwich: 450 calories
* Peanut butter and jelly sandwich: 450 calories
* Roast beef sandwich: 400 calories

As you can see, a chicken salad sandwich is one of the higher-calorie options compared to other common deli or brown bag sandwiches. Only a tuna salad sandwich comes close in terms of calories.

But there are also many sandwich choices that contain way more than 600 calories, especially from fast food restaurants rather than made at home. For example, a six-inch Chicken Teriyaki sub from Subway has 760 calories while a Chick-fil-A Chicken Salad Sandwich has 710 calories. So a homemade chicken salad sandwich is still a reasonably healthy choice for lunch or a light dinner when portion sizes are controlled.

Chicken Salad Calories Without Bread

If you’re limiting carbs on a low-carb diet, you can still enjoy chicken salad without the bread. A cup of chicken salad by itself has about 400-500 calories.

Some lower-carb alternatives for serving chicken salad include:

* Over a bed of lettuce for a chicken salad lettuce wrap
* Stuffed in a pita or low-carb wrap
* Inside tomatoes or peppers instead of bread
* On top of cucumber slices or celery sticks
* With cut up veggies for dipping

Without the bread, a one-cup serving of chicken salad contains slightly fewer calories than a sandwich while still providing protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Just be mindful of any other high-calorie additions like bacon, nuts, or too much mayo-based dressing.

Calories in Popular Chicken Salad Sandwich Recipes

Chicken salad can be prepared in dozens of ways, leading to variations in calories, ingredients, and flavors. Here is the calorie count for some favorite chicken salad sandwich recipes:

Classic Chicken Salad Sandwich

* Chicken Salad: Diced chicken, mayo, celery, relish – 450 calories
* Bread: 2 slices white bread – 150 calories
* Total Calories: About 600 calories

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich

* Chicken Salad: Chicken, mayo, apples, grapes, curry powder – 510 calories
* Bread: On croissant – 200 calories
* Total Calories: Around 710 calories

Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwich

* Chicken Salad: Shredded chicken, hot sauce, blue cheese, celery – 530 calories
* Bread: 2 slices whole grain bread – 140 calories
* Total Calories: Around 670 calories

Waldorf Chicken Salad Sandwich

* Chicken Salad: Chicken, mayo, apples, walnuts, grapes – 640 calories
* Bread: On challah roll – 250 calories
* Total Calories: About 890 calories

Cajun Chicken Salad Sandwich

* Chicken Salad: Chicken, light mayo, cajun seasoning, bell pepper – 400 calories
* Bread: Whole wheat wrap – 110 calories
* Total Calories: Around 510 calories

So ingredient choices for the chicken salad itself and the type of bread or wrap used can cause the calories per sandwich to range from around 500-900. Lightening up the base and avoiding premium breads or wraps can lower the calories significantly.

Calorie Count for Sandwich Components

To get an accurate calorie count of any chicken salad sandwich recipe, it helps to know the calories in each component:

Chicken Salad (1 cup serving)

* Chicken breast, chopped (6oz) – 230 calories
* Mayonnaise (2 Tbsp) – 190 calories
* Celery stalks, chopped (2 stalks) – 10 calories
* Sweet pickle relish (2 Tbsp) – 40 calories
* Onion, chopped (2 Tbsp) – 10 calories
* Lemon juice (1 Tbsp) – 5 calories
* Salt and pepper – 0 calories

Bread (1 slice)

* White bread – 75 calories
* Wheat bread – 60 calories
* Sourdough bread – 100 calories
* Brioche roll – 140 calories
* Croissant – 200 calories
* Wraps (whole wheat or spinach) – 90-110 calories

Assorted Extras

* Lettuce leaf – 5 calories
* Tomato slice – 5 calories
* Bacon slice (pre-cooked) – 40 calories
* Cheese slice – 110 calories

Having an understanding of the approximate calories in chicken salad ingredients makes it easier to calculate the calories in any chicken salad sandwich combination.

Calories Burned from Eating a Chicken Salad Sandwich

Another way to look at the calorie count of a food is how much energy your body uses digesting and metabolizing it.

The thermic effect of food causes your body to burn some calories through the process of digestion. For protein foods like chicken salad, around 20-35% of the calories consumed get burned off through digestion and absorption.

So for a 600 calorie chicken salad sandwich, your body might end up burning:

* 20% of 600 is 120 calories
* 30% of 600 is 180 calories
* 35% of 600 is 210 calories

This means the net calorie intake of a chicken salad sandwich is closer to 420-480 calories after accounting for calories burned through digestion.

The protein in the chicken also helps you feel fuller longer compared to sandwiches heavy in refined carbs, which can lead to lower calorie consumption later in the day.

Should You Eat a Chicken Salad Sandwich If Trying to Lose Weight?

Chicken salad sandwiches can be part of a healthy weight loss diet, but portion control is key. A reasonable portion chicken salad sandwich contains around 550-650 calories.

To lose around 1-2 pounds per week, most people need to maintain a daily calorie deficit of 500-1000 calories through diet and exercise.

If your daily calorie target is around 1600-1800 calories, a 600 calorie chicken salad sandwich leaves you 1000-1200 calories for your other meals and snacks. This makes it easier to stay in your target calorie range for weight loss.

But if large sandwiches push you way over your calorie goals, consider these tips:

* Opt for a half sandwich of just 1-2 slices of bread
* Choose lower-calorie bread or wraps
* Load up on veggie toppings
* Pair with salad or broth-based soup
* Drink water or unsweetened tea instead of soda
* Split the sandwich and save half for another meal

As long as you account for the calories and include healthy sides, enjoying a chicken salad sandwich in moderation can definitely be part of a balanced weight loss diet. But they may not be the best choice if large sandwiches trigger overeating or make it hard to reach your calorie goals.

Healthy Chicken Salad Recipe Ideas

To lighten up chicken salad while maximizing nutrition, focus on increasing the ratio of vegetables to chicken. Try some of these tasty and healthy recipes:

Greek Chicken Salad – Chicken, light dressing, feta, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, spinach

Waldorf Chicken Salad – Chicken, greek yogurt, apples, celery, grapes, walnuts

Buffalo Chicken Salad – Chicken, hot sauce, light blue cheese, carrots, celery

Asian Chicken Salad – Chicken, light dressing, edamame, mandarin oranges, cabbage, ginger, almonds

Tropical Chicken Salad – Chicken, light dressing, pineapple, mango, bell pepper, onion, cilantro

Mediterranean Chicken Salad – Chicken, hummus, bell pepper, olives, feta, tomatoes, spinach, lemon juice

Cobb Chicken Salad – Chicken, light dressing, hard boiled egg, avocado, tomato, bacon, blue cheese

Mexican Chicken Salad – Chicken, salsa, corn, black beans, bell pepper, avocado, cilantro

Chicken salad is also excellent wrapped in lettuce leaves, stuffed in a pita or low-carb wrap, served over greens, or spooned into celery sticks or cucumber slices.

Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwich Combinations

You can reduce the calories in a chicken salad sandwich and increase the nutrition by making smart choices when it comes to the ingredients:

* Choose whole grain or sprouted grain bread
* Use light mayo or substitute greek yogurt or avocado
* Load up with extra veggies instead of cheese
* Top with lettuce, tomato, sprouts, onion
* Go easy on high-calorie add-ins like bacon or avocado
* Mustard has fewer calories than mayo-based spreads
* Try á la carte open-faced sandwiches
* Opt for side salad instead of chips or fries

A healthy chicken salad sandwich might include 1/2 cup chicken salad with light dressing on sprouted grain bread, topped with cucumber, lettuce, and tomato and served with a side salad. This simple meal provides a good balance of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients without excess calories, salt, sugar or refined carbs.


A chicken salad sandwich made with one cup of chicken salad on two slices of white bread contains around 600 calories on average. But the calorie count can range from 500-900+ depending on your specific ingredients.

To lighten it up, use lighter chicken salads with less mayo, whole grain bread, and lots of vegetable toppings. Sticking with a reasonable portion eaten along with fruit and veggies can make a chicken salad sandwich part of healthy diet. Just be mindful of high-calorie additions that can drive up the calories.

While not the lowest calorie sandwich option, chicken salad is tasty, satisfying, and delivers a good dose of protein. By paying attention to portions and ingredients, you can enjoy the flavors and nutrition of chicken salad sandwiches without going overboard on calories.

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