Fast food chains are incredibly popular in the United States. A recent survey showed that 8 out of 10 Americans eat at a fast food restaurant at least once a month. Common fast food styles are burgers, Tex-Mex, and sandwiches. One extremely popular sandwich chain is Subway. This restaurant markets itself as the healthy option. However, it is naive to take any company’s marketing strategy at face value. In reality, is Subway healthy or not? Let’s take a look.

is subway healthy

What Is Subway?

Subway is a fast-food restaurant chain whose main offering consists of sub sandwiches. Their menu also includes wraps, salads, baked goods, and beverages.

Subway began in 1965 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. When the company first started out, it went by the name of Pete’s Super Submarines. The name was changed to Subway just three years later. Today, Subway is one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world. Subway is also the largest single-brand restaurant chain in existence. They are now headquartered in Milford, Connecticut.

Subway’s marketing strategies are centered around presenting themselves as the healthy fast food option. Their advertising messages are that eating at Subway promotes healthy living and weight loss. However, this marketing strategy could be considered a little deceiving. It’s very easy to eat a very high-calorie meal at Subway if you don’t pay attention.

What Are the Subway Menu Items?

These are some of the types of sandwiches Subway offers:

  • Black Forest Ham;
  • Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt;
  • Cold Cut Combo;
  • Italian Hero;
  • Italian B.M.T.;
  • Meatball Marinara;
  • Oven Roasted Chicken;
  • Roast Beef;
  • Rotisserie-Style Chicken;
  • Spicy Italian;
  • Steak & Cheese;
  • Subway Club;
  • Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki;
  • Classic Tuna;
  • Turkey Breast;
  • Veggie Delite.

You can also get additional vegetable toppings and condiments on any sandwich. Each sandwich also has an equivalent salad version. Subway also offers specialty breakfast sandwiches, which include:

  • Egg & Cheese;
  • Bacon, Egg & Cheese;
  • Black Forest Ham, Egg, & Cheese;
  • Steak, Egg, & Cheese.

Sides at Subway include apple slices, chips, and cookies. The drinks you can get include milk, soda, juice, sports drinks, and coffee.

The Dangers of Subway

  1. Opting for the foot-long sandwich is not always the best idea: The company’s marketing strategies show the foot-long sandwich as the default version. However, many don’t realize that the six-inch sandwich is usually plenty of food. A six-inch sub has enough protein and fiber to keep most people full. Refrain from getting a foot-long sub unless you don’t put excessive fatty condiments on it and you don’t buy the unhealthy sides and drinks.
  2. The sides and drinks can be very unhealthy: Most of the sides are different types of chips and cookies. These are full of unnecessary sugars and fats with very few nutrients. It can be tempting to get these unhealthy snacks to accompany what would otherwise be a semi-healthy meal. These junk foods are arranged in a tantalizing way to encourage you to impulsively buy them. Almost all of the drinks are essentially sugar water.
  3. Getting extra cheese or sauces can make your sandwich less healthy: Toppings like olive oil and mayonnaise are fat-based. So while they do add more flavor to your sandwich, they also add more calories that not everyone needs.

Are There Benefits for Subway?

Despite how easy it is to fall prey to the unhealthy options at Subway, the sandwich chain is not all bad. There are plenty of healthy options, and you only need to educate yourself on what those are. Here are some easy ways to make sure your Subway order is healthful:

  • If you want a side, get apple slices rather than chips or cookies;
  • For a beverage, choose milk, diet soda, or black coffee;
  • Choose the six-inch sub rather than the foot-long.

The best menu items to pick really depend on your diet goals.

  • If your goal is to eat fewer calories, avoid the Meatball Marinara as this has the highest calorie count.
  • Also, if your goal is to eat fewer refined grains, opt for the salads rather than the sandwiches. The salads are slightly higher in calories than their sandwich equivalents. But they are also much lower in carbohydrates.
  • To reduce your sodium intake, stay away from the Spicy Italian.
subway exterior

If you are hungry and in a hurry and you pass-by Subway, take a wise look at the menu before choosing.

Switching to Slow Food

Basically, Subway is only the healthy option if you really pay attention to what you’re ordering. The company tries to entice its customers with unhealthy chips and desserts. After all, any company wants to sell you as many things as possible. If you want your Subway meal to be healthy, follow the simple guidelines mentioned in this article.

Do you know anyone that’s always eating at Subway? Send this article their way and see what they think. If you’ve noticed anything else about the healthiness of Subway’s menu, tell us in the comments!

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