In the modern era, more and more people have become health conscious and always choose a healthy option when they are out for meals. Subway has positioned itself to be healthy hence popular with health conscious people.
However, subway is not completely healthy. Although they have a many healthy options but they also have quite a few calorie laden options that can complete your entire day’s requirement of fats and sodium and half a day’s calories.
If you are not careful while making your choices you can have a health disaster at your table.
Well Known Nutritionist Shamika Kulkarni helps us understand more about Subway and its health quotient.
Subway Health Quotient:
a) Vegetarian Subs
Shamika says, “While comparing the popular vegeatrian subs, the calorie content of Veggie Delite is minimum followed by Veg Shammi and Paneer Tikka as per the tables. The carbs in Veg Shammi and Paneer Tikka are higher than Veggie Delite. Paneer Tikka is high in its fat content.
The most recommended is Veggie Delite which is 99% fat free, high in fiber provided it is consumed without any sauces and condiments. For every additional sauce or condiment the caloric value will increase accordingly. To make a sub healthy add appropriate low calorie sauces.”
b) Non Vegetarian Subs
Shamika adds, "Chicken Tikka, Roasted Chicken and Chicken Seekh are the popular non vegetarian subs in India. Referring to the nutrition table for Roasted chicken / Chicken Tikka / Chicken seekh 6” subs, Roast chicken or Chicken Tikka Subs are healthy in the Non Veg variety with high protein and low fat content. The chicken seekh is higher in its fat than the other two. The values are true without addition of any sauces or condiments and will differ with addition of any sauces or condiments.”
c) Salad vs sub
“Subway offers the option of a salad or a sub. Choosing a salad to a sub which seems to be an obvious healthy option at first thought but when the caloric value is analyzed in detail it is found to be similar to the subs with a slight caloric difference. The calories from the bread are replaced by veggies but the sodium content is much lesser since the sodium from the bread is reduced. Hence, sub can be substituted by salad as an obvious healthy option but calorically does not have much difference, says Shamika”
Additional calories from sauces and condiments in a Subway:
Nutritionist Shamika helps to understand in details about the additional hidden calories that are gained from sauces and condiments.
“Calories per serving
- BBQ sauce – 30 cal
- Mayonnaise – 44 cal
- Mustard – 10 cal
- Thousand Island dressing – 73 cal
- South west – 94 cal
- Honey Mustard Sauces – 30 cal
- Sweet Chili Sauce – 41 cal
- Cheese slice – 40-60 cal are added
Sauces or dressings recommended in low calorie option are oil and vinegar, plain mustard, honey mustard, fat free sweet onion or light mayonnaise. BBQ and sweet chili sauces are low in calories and fats but very high in sodium content. Thousand island and south west dressing must be avoided as they high in calories as well as sodium.”
Choice of cheese:
“The addition of cheese to the subway sandwich adds another 40-60 calories to the original caloric value which is given without adding the sauces. Cheddar cheese adds 60 cal, Swiss, provolone, pepper jack add about 50 cal and American cheese adds about 40 cals. The addition of cheese to the sub also increases the sodium content of the meal. If at all one wants to add cheese choose low sodium and comparatively low calorie cheese says Shamika”
Choice of bread:
Shamika suggests, “The recommended choices of bread should be whole wheat bread, 9 grain bread or honey oat bread which has medium caloric range, good fiber content and reasonable sodium.”
How to have a healthy Subway:
Subs also can be made healthy if you choose wisely. Shamika recommends, “To make a sub healthy add lots of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, red onion, carrots as they are low in calories and fats and high in fiber. Pickles, olives, jalapenos are high in the sodium content hence should be avoided by people needing salt restriction.
However, olives and avocados although high in their fat content are healthy since they have mono unsaturated fats. Thus they are also recommended to be added if there is no sodium restriction.”
Subway also offers the complete meal option which includes cookies and a soft drink. This combination can definitely add the calories. Shamika adds, “The combo meals can definitely add to unnecessary calories since both are high in calories and low in nutrition value. The addition of a drink and cookies adds about 400-600 calories extra to the meal. It is recommended that the meal should comprise of sub as per the guidelines along with plain bottled drinking water so that no extra calories are added. People should not get carried away with the diet coke option as they do not fall in the healthy food bracket.”
Subway vs. Wada Pav vs. Mc Donalds Burger
Shamika says, “A single piece of vada pav gives about 300 cal. The ingredients in vada pav are potato and the pav made from refined flour. It provides very less fiber and other nutrients and since the vada is fried the amount of calories from fats is as high as 100 cal. The vegetable servings are also negligible except potato which is high in starch.Thus, vada pav is not recommended as a meal since it does not provide balanced nutrition at all. It can be consumed for enjoyment purpose sometimes but keeping the balance in the calories in the rest of the meals.
While choosing from Mc Donalds burger, the healthy variety which is lesser in calories will be Mc egg burger, Mc Aloo tikki and Chicken Mc grill. They are lesser in portion sizes and lower in calories and fats. Other varities in veg and non veg range from 400 – 800 cal with proportionate amounts of carbohydrates and fats. Adding fries and drink to the meal can increase the calorie level by double. Medium fries and drink can add up to 600 cal to the meal. Adding a shake can increase the calories by 200 – 400 cal.”
Subway, wada pav and Mc Donalds burger have similar calories. It is important to make healthy choices if you wish to save your calories and still have the enjoyment of having the meal.
The benefit of choosing a Subway is that you can make your choices which is limited in Mc Donald’s burger and restricted in wada pav
Verdict: Is Subway healthy?
Subway is a healthy option provided right guidelines are followed in choosing the bread, sauces, veggies and cheese. A 6” inch sub is always recommended to a foot long to avoid unnecessary loading of calories unless it is veggie Delite with low cal sauces.
1. Choose 6 inch sub or salad to a foot long
2. Preferred options would be veggie Delite, or chicken tikka which are considerably low in calories
3. Choose healthy bread options as mentioned
4. Cheese can be either Swiss cheese or provolone
6. Skip the soda, chips or cookies
7. Reduce sodium content of the sub by choosing appropriate bread having reasonable sodium content, do not add pickles, olives or jalapenos, add lots of fresh vegetables and low sodium sauces as mentioned. Addition of cheese also increases the sodium content of the sub.
Make wise choices and eat healthy at Subway or any place.