So we all know Subway, the big sub sandwich fast food chain that started off as a meat-lover’s paradise, but has since changed their focus into healthier eating. With the new motto “Eat fresh” and a bunch of green leaves adorning the sub wrapping paper, Subway has become one of the most popular and successful chains in the world as a “healthy” fast food alternative.
Let’s take a look at the options you can pick from Subway and figure out what is really healthy and what’s not.
Foot-long vs 6-inch
Unfortunately, it is impossible to eat an entire foot-long sub from Subway and consider it “healthy.” It’s just too much bread. You’ll consume at minimum 85g of carbs and 1200 mg of sodium, which is close to what you should getting in an entire day.
None of the bread options are super healthy or far apart from each other, but the wheat and honey oat options are definitely the best. They both pack a lot of dietary fiber and are relatively low calorie and sodium. The main thing to avoid is Italian herbs & cheese. It is high calorie and high sodium and you haven’t even started adding meat to it yet.
The healthiest option here is to just have a veggie sub, but let’s be real. The best meat options are turkey, oven roasted chicken or roast beef. They are all lean meats with a lot of protein, healthy fats and fairly low calorie count. Any of the other meats though—ham, salami, pepperoni, steak, buffalo chicken, Korean pork, etc… are going to be considerably higher in sodium and saturated fat. According to the Academy of Nutrion and Dietetics, the average person should be getting somewhere around 1500-2300mg of sodium per day. If you choose any one of the latter meats, you could hit that number by midday.
This part is pretty much free reign. You choose any and as much vegetables as your heart desires. My only suggestion would be, if you’re trying to decide between lettuce or spinach, shredded lettuce is a pretty neutral food that isn’t going to hurt or benefit you if you eat it, but spinach contains a good amount of iron and vitamin A, making it the best choice.
Once again, there aren’t too many good options to pick from here. Vinegar and olive oil are the best two, but Subway also has sweet onion sauce, honey mustard, yellow and deli brown mustard, all of which are fat free. I’ll be the first to admit, I absolutely love spicy food. I’m extremely tempted to put sriracha and/or chipotle southwest on my sub every time, but beware that if you are trying to be healthy, those two sauces are egregiously high in sodium. Subway’s mayo and ranch are also pretty bad for you, both being really high in saturated fat.
My personal favorite
Bread: Honey Oat
Vegetables: Spinach, Cucumber, Red Onion, Bell Peppers, Black Olives
Sauce(s): Olive Oil and Vinegar
Just remember, take everything in moderation. If you’ve been eating well for a while, then it’s okay to splurge on the sauce, the meat or the bread choice every once in a while. Subway also offers the double meat option, so if a 6-inch just isn’t going to do it for you, then you could try having double meat for a while and it’ll still be cheaper than a foot-long and way better for you than eating all of that bread. Pretty much anything you choose to have at Subway is going to be better for your body than a double cheeseburger and fries at McDonalds or an XXL burrito from Taco Bell.
Remember the body you have is the only one you’re going to get. Keeping it in good health is going help you live a much longer and happier life. Much of today’s foods are processed and loaded down with carbs that increase our appetite, sugar turns into fat and sodium sky rockets our blood pressure. Don’t forget that Subway’s website also has a meal calculator, so you can know exactly what you’re eating. Counting your nutrients in every meal may seem like a hassle, in the end it’s going to be one of the most useful decisions you’ve ever made.