THE GUIDE TO WHAT YOU CAN EAT AT SUBWAY AS PART OF A LOW SODIUM LIFESTYLE
With more locations than any other quick-service restaurant, Subway® is the largest restaurant chain in America by store count. On July 13, 2021, Subway launched their “Eat Fresh Refresh” which represents the largest menu overhaul in the company’s 56-year-history. The entire core menu was refreshed with more than 20 updates, 11 new or upgraded ingredients, six all-new or returning sandwiches, and four revamped signature sandwiches.
Subway offers a variety of lower-sodium menu items, making it possible for you to stay low sodium. But you must be disciplined – and educated – because there are a lot of add-ons (most of the condiments) and a few hidden sodium shockers (Roasted Garlic bread) that can quickly turn your order into a dangerously high-salt meal.
All of the items reviewed for this story appear on the national menu. The menu at your local Subway might offer additional items but if it is listed below, you can be sure it is available nationwide.
Nutritional values are listed in milligrams (mg) of sodium.
The first part of any Subway Sandwich is the bread. Which bread you choose can set you up for success in creating a low sodium meal. Bread, in general, is packed with salt but the sodium content in Subway’s bread varies wildly.
- 9-Grain Wheat: 270 mg for a 6 inch / 540 mg for a Footlong
- 9-Grain Honey Oat: 270 mg for a 6 inch / 540 mg for a Footlong
- Artisan Italian Bread: 310 mg for a 6 inch / 620 mg for a Footlong
- Artisan Flatbread: 290 mg for a 6 inch / 580 mg for a Footlong
Items You Must Avoid
- Roasted Garlic: 1230 mg for a 6 inch / 2460 mg for a Footlong. This bread should be renamed Roasted Salt bread because 12 inches of just this bread exceeds your maximum daily sodium intake. And that’s before you add any ingredients to your sandwich!
- Italian Herbs & Cheese: 500 mg for a 6 inch / 1000 mg for a Footlong
- Wraps! Their spinach wrap and tomato basil wrap each pack a salty punch with 780 mg and 730 mg of sodium respectively.
This list represents only the ingredients of your sandwich. Sodium values below need to be added to your bread selection.
- Chicken Strips: 210 mg for a 6 inch / 420 mg for a Footlong
- Roasted Chicken Patty: 280 mg for a 6 inch / 560 mg for a Footlong
- Rotisserie-Style Chicken: 280 mg for a 6 inch / 560 mg for a Footlong
- Tuna: 300 mg for a 6 inch / 600 mg for a Footlong – Note: While moderate in sodium, the Subway Tuna sandwich contains the highest fat content on their menu with 23 g of fat for a 6 inch and 46 g of fat for a Footlong. According to the Mayo Clinic, your target range for total fat is 44 to 78 grams a day if you eat 2,000 calories per day.
- Turkey Breast: 380 mg for a 6 inch / 720 mg for a Footlong
Items You Must Avoid
- Cold Cut Combo Meats: 710 mg for a 6 inch / 1420 mg for a Footlong
- Meatballs: 810 mg for a 6 inch / 1620 mg for a Footlong
- Italian B.M.T.® Meats: 890 mg for a 6 inch / 1780 mg for a Footlong
- Spicy Italian Meats: 900 mg for a 6 inch / 1800 mg for a Footlong
- “CALI FRESH” Turkey: 990 mg for a 6 inch / 1880 mg for a Footlong
- “CALI FRESH” Steak: 1000 mg or a 6 inch / 2000 mg for a Footlong
Unfortunately, not all Subways carry the holy grail of low sodium cheese: Swiss. If your Subway does, lucky you! That cheese choice will clock in at 30 mg for a 6 inch and 60 mg for a Footlong. But if you are like most people and can’t get Swiss cheese at Subway, there really aren’t a ton of great choices. Truthfully, your best choice is to skip the cheese.
- Shredded Monterey Cheddar: 90 mg for a 6 inch and 180 mg for a Footlong
Items You Must Avoid
- Everything else! All other cheeses deliver in excess of 100 mg of sodium for a 6 inch. Double that content for a Footlong.
Raw vegetables typically are low in sodium. So layer on the veggies. But avoid the following items from the veggie bar: pickles (115 mg of sodium for just 3 chips) and olives (25 mg of sodium for only 3 rings).
As you may know, sauces can sabotage your meal by adding a lot of unwanted sodium. So all sauces should be used lightly. Here are the sauces you can choose at Subway with little (under 100 mg) to no sodium.
- Oil: 0 mg
- Red Wine Vinegar: 0 mg
- Regular Mayonnaise: 65 mg for a 6 inch / 130 mg for a Footlong – Note: Regular mayo has 35% less salt than light mayo but double the calories and more than double the fat content. In general, it is best to avoid mayonnaise but it is true that the real stuff is less salty than the light version. That’s because when they lower the fat content to create the light mayo, they add extra salt to “improve” the taste.
- Sweet Onion Sauce: 75 mg for a 6 inch / 150 mg for a Footlong
- Honey Mustard: 80 mg for a 6 inch / 160 mg for a Footlong
For the most part, a salad will be a wise choice at Subway. By eliminating the bread, you significantly lower the sodium content. Sodium values include protein plus lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers, and olives. Salad dressing is not included unless noted.
- Veggie Delite®: 75 mg
- Oven Roasted chicken: 360 mg
- Rotisserie-Style Chicken: 360 mg
- Tuna: 380 mg
- Turkey Breast: 450 mg
- Roast Beef: 460 mg
- Subway Club®: 580 mg
- Black Forest Ham: 580 mg
Not Great Choices (but potentially better than a sandwich)
- Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki (includes Sweet Onion dressing): 630 mg
- Meatball Marinara: 780 mg
Items You Must Avoid
- Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt (includes Ranch dressing): 1000 mg
- Spicy Italian: 1000 mg
You essentially have one choice: Oil & Vinegar (0 mg)
Peanut Butter cookies contain the lowest amount of sodium (110 mg per cookie) while White Chip Macadamia Nut cookies contain the most (130 mg per cookie). Best to avoid the cookies or limit yourself to one.
Why haven’t we covered chips? Well, Subway does not have to publish nutritional information for chips because that information is printed on the bag. So be sure to read the back of the bag before you add them to your order.
All nutritional information is believed to be accurate as of the writing of this article. LoSoFoodie.com recommends you review Subway’s nutrition page for the most up-to-date values before placing your order. This website should not be considered medical advice. Always check with your doctor to understand your personal dietary needs.