Subway has gotten a lot of PR mileage out of billing itself as the healthy alternative to other fast food options. And I think the company is sincere in that positioning. As a journalist who writes about marketing and PR (my day job, when I’m not writing for this blog which is more my labor of love), I’ve interviewed Subway officials over the years and think they sincerely believe they do offer healthier choices.
So what do I eat when I go there? I love roast beef so you’d think I opt for Subway’s 6-inch roast beef sandwich. One of those is 310 calories with 840 milligrams of sodium, according to Subway nutritional information, and a six-inch will not fill me up. I would normally either order double meat or a foot-long. But a foot-long is 630 calories with 1,690 mgs of sodium, basically a day’s worth of salt. So I never order that anymore, even when the foot-long promotion is going on for a lower price.
Instead, I opt for a roast beef salad. That comes in at a mere 140 calories and 500 mgs of sodium. I usually ask for extra lettuce, spinach and low-cal things like cucumbers and banana peppers to bulk it up a bit.
And dressings? Forget them, I opt instead for a little bit of oil and a lot of vinegar as my only dressing. I actually grew up in an Italian-American household where that was one of our few healthy eating habits, we never ate prepared salad dressings, only oil and vinegar. One teaspoon of vinegar has 8 calories. Stay away from the croutons, they’re calorie bombs.
If you can go to somewhere with a build-your-own salad bar, that’s a great choice too, just stay away from dressing and too many olives (salt again).
Next: Back to McDonald’s