With almost 37,000 restaurants in 100 countries, Subway claims they have more restaurants than any other restaurant chain throughout the world. Subway also states they are committed to promoting healthy living, and have partnered with numerous organizations, including the American Heart Association (AHA), the National Institute of Health, and Produce for Better Health Foundation to further support this. The AHA Heart-Check icon, which appears next to some of Subway’s menu items, indicates that the item has been certified by the AHA for meeting its nutrition standards for calories, sodium, cholesterol, total fat, saturated fat, trans-fat, and other beneficial nutrients.
But what if your favorite Subway sandwich is not considered one of Subway’s healthier menu items? Does that mean it’s an unhealthy choice? Let’s take a look…
Keep in mind the following intake recommendations from the AHA when deciding what to order:
- Total fat: limit total fat intake to 30% or less of total calories (for a 2,000 calorie diet, this would be 60 grams of fat per day)
- Saturated fat: limit saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories (for a 2,000 calorie diet, this would be 20 grams of saturated fat per day)
- Sodium: limit to less than 2,400 mg/day
- Cholesterol: limit to less than 300 mg/day
Note that the nutrition information for Subway’s sandwiches are for the 6” size and are based on using 9-grain wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and cucumbers – any deviations from this will most likely change the nutrition values.
Subway’s Fresh Fit Choices menu items all contain six grams or less of total fat, less than 400 calories, and 900 mg or less of sodium. In addition, they all contain less than nine grams of sugar, except for the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich, which has 18 grams of sugar (due to the teriyaki sauce), plus has 900 mg of sodium.
You may be surprised to learn that the Tuna sandwich is not on the Fresh Fit Choices menu. This sandwich contains 470 calories and 24 grams of total fat, but only four grams of saturated fat and 620 mg of sodium, still making this a great choice.
What about Subway’s other menu items that are not part of the Fresh Fit Choices menu? The popular Spicy Italian sandwich contains only 480 calories, but has nine grams of saturated fat and 1520 mg of sodium. There is also the Big Philly Cheesesteak sandwich, which has 500 calories, nine grams of saturated fat and 1310 mg of sodium. Note that this sandwich also contains 85 mg of cholesterol, which is much higher than most of Subway’s other sandwiches.
Want some chips on the side? Be sure to read the nutrition label on the package, as Subway carries a large variety of chips, depending on the location.
How about Subway’s beverage choices? In addition to fountain drinks, Subway also has a variety of bottled beverages to choose from. Be sure to go with a diet selection though, as it will be much lower in calories, sodium, and sugar than the regular version. In the mood for some milk with your meal? Note that Subway does not carry whole milk, only low/reduced fat, but stay away from the flavored milk, as it is much higher in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar.
Overall, Subway has done an excellent job of offering a large variety of healthy menu items and is living up to its commitment of promoting healthy living. If you’re not sure what to order, stick with a Fresh Fit Choices menu item.