Is Subway Healthy?

Choices are key at this sandwich chain.

October 17, 2022

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Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The first Subway opened in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1965 where local guests were served freshly made, customizable and affordable sandwiches. Today Subway restaurants are in more than 100 countries with more than 37,000 restaurants. Chances are if you’re on the road when hunger strikes, you’re probably close to a Subway. Is this sub shop a healthy option or should you keep driving?

How to Order a Healthier Sandwich at Subway

Subway’s menu has always focused on providing customers with healthy options. The fact that you can customize your sandwiches and portions makes it already healthier than other establishments who give you little to no choices.

If you’re trying to build a healthier sandwich, opt for multigrain bread, which includes fiber. When it comes to protein, go for leaner options such as black forest ham (130 calories per 12-inch sub serving) or oven-roasted turkey (110 calories per 12-inch sub serving). For cheese, go for either provolone, American, Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack for between 80 to 110 calories on a 12-inch sub – or opt for no cheese. Then, pile on the veggies – lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, cucumbers, or spinach. Olives, jalapenos, banana peppers and pickles can also be added. Sauces can be trickier, but some lighter options are yellow mustard for 20 calories, honey mustard for 40 calories or buffalo sauce for 10 calories per serving — all for a 12-inch sandwich.

So if you chose a 6-inch sub with oven-roasted turkey and provolone cheese, all the veggies, and mustard, that would be 315 calories and provide a well-balanced meal with grains, dairy, lean protein and vegetables. That’s way better than many of the other options available.

Subway has also expanded their healthier fare options to salads, no bready bowls (basically the subs without the bread) and wraps.

Ingredients You May Want To Skip

Eating healthy at Subway is really about how you build your sandwiches. You certainly can build a not-so-healthy sandwich that can clock in at 800 or more calories. You can opt to add calorie-heavy ingredients like bacon, pepperoni, large amounts of mozzarella and smashed avocado for between 140 to 170 calories each for a 12-inch sub. Other add-on meal options include chips and a cookie. You don’t need either but if you on occasion opt for one, it can be part of a healthy meal. However, eating several bags of chips and several cookies in one sitting can certainly sabotage even the healthiest sandwich or salad.

The sodium amount will also be on the higher side in many of your sandwiches due to the sodium in the deli meat, cheese and bread. If you’re trying to control your sodium intake, there’s a veggie sandwich option, or better sodium deli meat options including ham, oven-roasted turkey and roast beef. You can also hold the cheese to skip more sodium.

Bottom Line: Healthy eating at Subway is what you make of it. There are many ways to build a sensible sandwich, salad or bowl. To do so, go to Subway’s website and do a little research before you order.

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