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Is Subway a Healthy Fast Food?

author image Kathryn Gilhuly
Kathryn Gilhuly is a wellness coach based in San Diego. She helps doctors, nurses and other professionals implement lifestyle changes that focus on a healthy diet and exercise. Gilhuly holds a Master of Science in health, nutrition and exercise from North Dakota State University.
Is Subway a Healthy Fast Food?
Submarine sandwich close up. Photo Credit Kheng ho Toh/Hemera/Getty Images

When you're trying to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, trips to a fast food restaurant can prove troublesome. But on hectic days when you can't find the time to cook a nutritious meal at home, a fast food meal might prove expedient. If you make careful choices, fast food can offer both convenience and heath. The Subway menu offers a variety of guilt-free choices.

Foods to Avod

The choices you make when ordering affect the overall healthiness of your sub sandwich. Avoid high-fat meats such as steak, bacon, meatballs and ham. Also avoid high-fat cheeses such as cheddar. Or ask the food preparer for half the usual number of slices. Condiments such as mayonnaise and special sauces can add calories and fat content to your sub. Whenever possible, avoid ordering white bread or wraps.

Healthy Options

Try a 6-inch sub on whole-wheat bread instead of a foot-long on white. The smaller serving size decreases your calorie and fat intake. The whole-wheat option adds fiber, which not only helps you feel fuller longer but also helps stabilize your blood glucose levels. Opt for lean meats such as chicken, or try a veggie sub. If you do not want to decrease the number of cheese slices on your sub, substitute lower-fat cheeses such as Swiss or mozzarella for cheddar. Instead of asking for mayonnaise, ask for mustard or low-fat dressing. There is no need to limit the number of vegetables you put on your sub.

Low-Fat Choices

Subway offers a separate menu of items that contain 6 g or less of fat. This menu consists of salads with calorie counts between 50 and 140 without dressing. Salad choices include ham, veggie, oven-roasted chicken and roast beef. Eight sub sandwiches on the low-fat menu include between 230 and 380 calories. Choices include 6-inch sweet onion chicken teriyaki, ham, veggie delight and turkey subs. The low-fat menu also offers a veggie flatbread sandwich and four mini subs.

Sides and Drinks

If you want to keep your Subway meal healthy, choose your beverages and side items wisely. A large sugar-filled soda could include more calories than your sandwich. Water will keep you hydrated for zero calories. Chips and cookies add lots of calories with scant nutrition. Salad or soup makes a wiser choice -- if you stay away from creamy soups. You can save some money and gain a healthy-eating buddy by splitting a 12-inch sub with a friend. If you wish, ask your food preparer for different toppings on each half and to wrap each portion separately.

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