Is Banh Mi Healthy? (3 Tips For Weight Loss) 

If you love Vietnamese food then you’ve definitely eaten some good Banh Mi in your life. Whether it’s from Lee's Sandwiches or your local Ma and Pa store somewhere in the 626, you’ll understand how delicious these sandwiches are. Although these sandwiches are delicious, are they healthy to eat?

Banh Mi is primarily a food item that has most of its calories coming from carbs and some fats. There are many fatty meats used in Banh Mi such as BBQ Pork, pate, or roast beef which can contribute to the already high calorie dish. This means that there is high potential to overeat which can cause weight gain as there is a poor balance of macronutrients.

We summed it down to three helpful tips and facts that will help you eat Banh Mi and still stay fit and healthy. 

  1. How Many Calories Are In Banh Mi?

  2. What Goes Into Banh Mi? 

  3. Make Sure To Eat High Protein Meals Before Or After Eating Banh Mi 

Let’s get into the details on what Banh Mi is and how many calories each delicious sandwich contains. 


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How To Lose Weight When Eating Banh Mi

Weight loss is really the concept of calories in vs calories out. I’m sure you’ve heard of this before but, to simplify what it means, it just asks you the question “do I burn more calories than I consume on a daily basis?” If you burn more calories than you consume then you will be in something called a caloric deficit which is the only way fat loss can occur. 

When eating something like Banh Mi you have to be mindful of what its nutritional content is and how many calories you consume when you eat this delicious dish. We’ll go over what the contents are in the next section below because what you need to know before that is how many calories you can consume as an individual. We have an in-depth guide for you to figure out how it is in our other blog “How To Actually Get A Six Pack After 30” so you can check that out before reading the rest of this article. Here is the link to the post. 

After you’ve figured out how many calories you need to consume on a daily basis, you need to make sure that you are exercising regularly and are building muscle throughout every week. This means that some resistance training is required and I understand that this can be intimidating for many beginners but we’ve all started somewhere! 

Muscle allows us to burn calories at rest which means we can eat more and still lose fat. This is really the goal with working out and is what keeps us healthy as our metabolisms increase. Eating more while still staying fit sounds like heaven to me! 

So, now that we’ve briefly discussed how to stay fit and lean while eating something like Banh Mi, let’s get into the details which will help you figure out if Banh Mi is the right choice for you. 


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How Many Calories Are In Banh Mi? 

Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich filled with a variety of meats and vegetables that usually contains a sweet and savory flavor. Although delicious we need to figure out the calories that go into a typical Banh Mi sandwich and see whether or not we can fit that into our diets. A typical Banh Mi pork sandwich usually contains 72 grams of carbs, 19 grams of fat, and 30 grams of protein. For a more detailed description of the food, here are the nutrition facts for Banh Mi. 

 
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This is not bad at all! Yes, it is a little high on the carbs but, as long as you are an active individual, carbs are a totally fine macronutrient to consume everyday. In fact, carbs are needed for you to function so please eat your carbs. Banh Mi is definitely something that you can fit into your diet as long as it’s in moderation. For example, 72 grams of carbs is fine for one meal, but, if you were to eat two of those or even one and a half, you can definitely eat way over 100 grams of carbs coming from one meal. 

The reason why carbs get such a bad rep is because they are easy to overeat. Carbs itself aren’t bad, it’s the act of overeating carbs that really gives us many health complications. As mentioned earlier, carbs are needed as they are the direct source of energy for us. Without them you’ll feel lethargic and low energy unless you go towards a keto diet which is a topic that we can save for a later article. What I’m trying to say is that something like that Banh Mi is totally fine to eat, just don’t eat more than one for a meal and you’ll be on track. 

Let’s look at the fats in the Banh Mi as well. There are 19 grams of fat in a typical Banh Mi which is not bad and edging towards the higher side. Fats are another macronutrient that you need to consume as it allows the absorption of certain vitamins and maintains healthy hormones in the body. However, just like the carbs in the paragraph above, it is easy to overeat these. Fat, well, turns into fat if overeaten. Actually carbs and fat are the most likely macronutrients to turn into stored fat so you need to make sure that you’re eating the correct amount that your body needs. 

Finally, let’s take a look at the protein. There are 30 grams of protein in this meal which is awesome. Protein allows the growth and maintenance of muscle which is why it’s so important for our diets. It is also the least likely to turn into fat if overeaten and allows us to feel satiated when eating our favorite foods. This is important because we never want to be hungry when dieting and always need to refrain from starving yourself. There is a huge difference between dieting and starving yourself. The tip here is to eat your protein and eat the correct amount of carbs and fats so you never feel too hungry. 

Banh Mi, although a little high in carbs, is actually not bad at all. 560 calories coming from a pretty decent ratio of all three macronutrients. This is totally fine to eat, just eat it in moderation!



What Goes Into Banh Mi? 

There are three components of Banh Mi that make it Banh Mi instead of a typical sandwich. Those three are the variety of proteins, the pickled veggies, and the delicious baguettes that sustain the sandwich. So, let’s get into each one of these components. 

Proteins

Banh Mi is traditionally served with pork but many times you can find a large variety of meats that you can put in there. These meats are something like beef, pork, chicken, chicken liver, deli meats, or even meatballs.  What we recommend is to either stick with the chicken or deli meats as these are the highest protein options with the least amount of fat compared to the others. If you’re splurging, however, feel free to get a combination of all of them! 

Veggies 

The veggies in Banh Mi are, in my opinion, what makes the sandwich so delicious. Vietnamese cooks have truly mastered pickling their vegetables which creates a sweet, acidic, and savory flavor all at once. These vegetables range from carrots, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and, sometimes, lettuce. If you’ve had Banh Mi before then you probably understand what I mean by how delicious these pickled veggies are. Our tip here is to eat as much of these as possible! 

Bread

The bread that goes into a Banh Mi is a traditional french baguette that is super crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. This is obviously where most of the carbs come from but it’s a necessary part of the dish. Our tip here is the same as the one we mentioned above, eat Banh Mi in moderation because you’re really eating these in moderation. 

Make Sure To Eat High Protein Meals Before Or After Eating Banh Mi 

There are only around 30 grams of protein in your typical Banh Mi sandwich as discussed above. So, our tip here is to make sure to add some healthy meals filled with proteins and vegetables on days where you are eating Banh Mi. 

For example, if you are eating Banh Mi for lunch then make sure for breakfast and dinner you eat things like chicken breast, eggs, fish and salad to start or finish your day. What you get from a typical Banh Mi meal is a ton of carbs so you want to make sure that you’re easing down on the carbs and eating a lot more protein and veggies. Avoid eating another meal with too many carbs and you’ll be good to go. 

So much of healthy eating is about balance and moderation. Be mindful of the three macronutrients and how many of these three you can consume. You don’t want all of your calories coming from fats and carbs (this is really east to do if you don’t track your calories). You want your calories coming from fats, carbs, and proteins in a amount that allows your body to thrive. 

There it is 

Our three tips and facts that will help you eat Banh Mi and still stay fit. To sum it up, make sure that you’re staying active and building muscle while eating high carb foods in moderation. Make sure to check out our other blogs if you love Asian food and want some tips on how to stay fit and healthy! 


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phillip pak

Owner & Founder of Aspire Fitness. Personal Trainer and Nutritionist Working out of Walnut, CA