Health Battle: Bologna and Cheese vs. Peanut Butter and Jelly

Compares the Great American Lunchtime sandwiches for nutrition.

Health Battle: Bologna and Cheese vs. Peanut Butter and Jelly


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     It’s lunchtime and you want an inexpensive, fast lunch food that will keep you going. But what’s healthier? Today we compare the two great American lunchtime sandwiches, bologna and cheese and the ‘PB&J,’ or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. NOTE: Comparisons are based on two pieces of white bread, one slice bologna, one slice American cheese with one TBSP mayonnaise or mustard, versus two pieces of white bread, one TBSP grape jelly and one TBSP peanut butter.

Calories – PB&J weighs in at 236 calories. A plain bologna and cheese sandwich has only 224 calories, but a tablespoon of mayonnaise raises this to 278. 

Fat – The sandwiches are even at ten grams of fat each, with two exceptions. First, mayonnaise will add another five grams of fat to the bologna and cheese sandwich. Second, the bologna itself has one tenth of a gram of trans fat, the current villain of the nutrition world.

Sodium – Bologna and cheese has over triple the amount of sodium of the PB&J, carrying 762mg, or about a third of your recommended salt intake for the entire day! At 250mg of sodium, peanut butter and jelly is the clear choice.

Cholesterol – Bologna and cheese has 29mg of cholesterol without mayonnaise, 33mg with. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich has no cholesterol, giving it another advantage.

Fiber – There is a surprising lack of fiber in these foods, something that could probably be corrected by substituting wheat bread for white. The bologna and cheese sandwich has no fiber, the PB&J two grams.

Nutrients – The bologna and cheese sandwich contains fair amounts of selenium (16% RDA), phosphorous (17% RDA) and calcium (14% RDA), as well as lesser amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Grape jelly has an almost total lack of nutritious value, consisting almost entirely of sugar. Peanut butter is a decent source of protein (about 6% RDA per TBSP), and a variety of nutrients if it is of the vitamin and mineral fortified variety.

The Winner? Low in sodium and cholesterol free, completely free of trans fat and full of nutrients (see paragraph above), the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is the healthier choice.

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  1. I’ll choose to eat PB&J then since it’s healthier. Wonderful post Christian :)

  2. I’ll take the PB&J for the caloric intake…Trying to gain weight….

  3. Very tasty. Nice article

  4. Personaly i like pb&j

  5. 2 years later .. PBJ!

  6. Thanks for the comparison. I came to this site in my attempt to show my son that jams have no fiber, as compared to fresh fruit, and found a different (but “fruitful”) comparison.

    One note – Food is more (or less) healthful , people are healthy/healthier (or not so).

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