Welcome to another Healthy Eating at…post! Today we are going to cover my favorite (and probably #1 spot when I need a quick lunch out) fast food type restaurants—Quiznos specifically, but this info can be used for any sub shop like Firehouse Subs, Subway and Jimmy Johns!
So yes, of course there is Subway,which isn’t too terribly difficult to navigate, but add in Quiznos, Firehouse Subs, Jimmy Johns, and Penn Station and things can get a little more complicated. So here are some general principles for healthy eating at a sub shop that you can use at any of these restaurants!
Sub Shop Pros
- There are normally healthy options out there—you just have to identify and choose them!
- Lots of veggies for toppings are awesome! Many shops even offer guacamole or avocado for a good source of healthy fats too!
- All of the websites I checked out (Quiznos, Firehouse, Jimmy Johns, Penn Station) had nutritional information available. Some menus highlight lighter options as well. Penn Station had the hardest menu to navigate, but it’s the smallest chain, so I’ll give it a small break.
Sub Shop Cons
- Add-ons everywhere! A little bacon, a little mayo, a little ranch, a little cheese—just a few quick decisions and you’ve sunk your “healthy” sub. (Haha! See what I did there?)
- Beware of combos! As always, adding a bag of potato chips, a cookie, and a soda can derail your healthy meal.
- I think the “Jared” culture has created a sort of safe zone at sub shops. You walk in the door and you feel like you’ve already made the healthy decision since you’ve avoided Burger King. But there are lots of healthy decisions still to be made and many pitfalls to be avoided!
Good Choices at Sub Shops
- Think simple. You can’t go wrong with a 6-8 inch turkey or ham sub on whole wheat bread with veggies. The general calorie range for this is between 450-600 depending on exactly what you put on it.
- Keep the fatty condiments like mayo and ranch off! Also bacon should just be avoided. If you want some more flavor add guacamole for a healthy dose of fats or a drizzle Balsamic Vinaigrette
- I don’t have a gripe against cheese. A lot of times I leave it off because I hardly taste it with everything else going on in my sub. But I’m not going to hate on your cheese.
- Chicken noodle soup (available at Quiznos and Firehouse Subs) is a great side choice on a cold day and ranges from 90-160 calories, depending on the size you get.
- Salads are generally a good choice. Steer clear of those fatty dressings and add-ons; load up on the extra fresh veggies!
Definitely Avoid at Sub Shops
- Two words: Meatball. Sub. Just don’t go there. So not worth it.
- Two other words: Double. Meat. Unless you’re Michael Phelps or marathon training, you don’t need that much protein.
- Chicken or Tuna Salad subs. You’re looking at 650-1000 calories for a medium sized sub. No joke! I’m not sure why the range is so big, it may be because of the size of the sub and the recipe used, but seriously not worth the risk and there’s little nutritional value in it since it’s basically swimming in mayo.
- Anything with steak, double cheese, bacon, pepperoni, and 4+ meats you are better off skipping. Remember Think Simple.
- Brownies or cookies, regular potato chips. You could wind up pounding an extra 200-450 calories on a bag of chips or a brownie. I’ll tell you what I’ve never had a brownie from a sub shop good enough to make me want to “spend” 300 calories on.
So if I walked into a Quiznos tomorrow here is what I’d order:
- Spicy Monterey Sub on whole wheat in small or regular (depending on how hungry I was feeling)—no cheese, piled on veggies, and I’d keep the chili sauce for 360 calories small or 570 calories regular.
- Small chicken noodle soup for 90 calories.
- Regular iced tea or water.
The whole meal if I got the regular sub would be 660 calories or 450 if I got the small, numbers I can definitely live with! (When aiming for weight loss I look for meals to be 500-700 calories.) I would get a serving of veggies, some good protein in the sub, and having a filling side that’s not devoid of nutritional value either. I’m hungry just thinking about it!
What would you order at a sub shop?
What’s your favorite sub place?
If you’ve missed some of the previous posts be sure to check out:
Healthy Eating at Qdoba (My most popular post EVAH!)
Healthy Eating at a Gas Station (Traveling for Thanksgiving? You need to bookmark this page!)