Subway was the first stop on my low carb fast food challenge because it’s less than a 1/2 mile from my house and has the most locations of any fast food chain in America — 44,000+.
They’re known for sandwiches, but thanks to their “choose-all-your-ingredients” layout, you can create your own low carb chopped salads pretty easily.
What to order
1. Cold Cut Combo Salad
My favorite is the Cold Cut Combo Salad. It comes with the Subway cold cut trio of meats (turkey, salami, bologna), sliced american cheese, and shredded lettuce. For additional flavor, I added spinach, olives, and banana peppers.
- Macros: 615 calories, 5g net carbs, and 20g protein
My sandwich artist smartly offered me the “deluxe” upgrade which meant she would add fifty percent more meat to my salad for $0.75. Gladly accepted.
The salad tasted great and felt more premium than I expected. It was good enough to lure me in a second time for another salad.
2. Chopped Tuna Salad with Extra Bacon
Another great option is the Chopped Tuna Salad with extra bacon, oil, and vinaigrette.
- Macros: 936 calories, 2g net carbs, and 32g protein.
I added some chopped spinach to my salad for free because it’s rich in magnesium which is helpful for preventing cramps and insomnia when on a low carb or keto diet.
I also added some banana peppers, olives, and mayo for flavor. This salad was really good. If I were trying to get full off this salad alone, I would have requested more oil & double tuna for an additional $1.50. Instead, I had to fill up by eating some sliced pepperonis and hot dogs back at the house.
My third ordering experience was the worst. The sandwich artist tried to make my order while listening to ear buds and greeted me with a stern look rather than a friendly smile. It didn’t feel welcoming.
3. Spicy Italian Chopped Salad
My third salad was visually unappealing. I got the Spicy Italian Chopped Salad which comes with spicy pepperoni and salami for the meats, along with my usual adds of onions, olives, lettuce, spinach and mayo on top.
- Macros: 712 calories, 5g net carbs, and 24g protein.
Notice how the meats are buried underneath the greens and the salad doesn’t look all that tempting. Ultimately, it tasted good but the experience was ruined by the unwelcoming Subway employee and the lackluster presentation of the salad.
My fourth time into Subway, I got 3 different salads to try. It was awkward because there was only one employee and he didn’t have much experience making salads so the process was terribly slow and created a long line. I could sense some frustration coming from the sandwich artist so I tipped him some money in his jar and apologized for holding up his line to try and smooth things over and brighten his day.
Here are the three salads I tried.
4. Subway Club Salad (Double Meat)
I requested a double serving of the Subway club meats (turkey, roast beef, and ham) on top of lettuce, one slice of American cheese, banana peppers, and olives mixed with olive oil & vinegar dressing. Once the salad is made, I ask the Subway sandwich artist to add some mayo.
- Macros: 532 calories, 5g net carbs, and 32g protein.
5. Roasted Chicken Patty Salad
Comes with a roasted chicken patty that the sandwich artist chops for you. I like it served on top of lettuce, with American cheese, olives, banana peppers, pickles, and with olive oil & vinegar dressing.
- Macros: 336 calories, 3g net carbs, and 17g protein.
6. Italian BMT Salad (Double Meat)
I requested a double serving of the BMT meats (salami, pepperoni, and ham) on top of lettuce, one slice of American cheese, banana peppers, and olives mixed with olive oil & vinegar dressing. Once the salad is made, I ask the Subway sandwich artist to add some mayo. Notice how the sandwich artist did a sloppy job with the mayo because he was getting frustrated by this point.
- Macros: 712 calories, 5g net carbs, and 24g protein.
What to avoid
In case you’re new to low carb eating, I’ll start by saying that all Subway breads are off limits. Here I’ve compiled the Subway bread carb count for each of their breads. The 6-inch subs all have 30 to 43 net carbs and the so-called Subway low carb flatbreads each have 30+ net carbs and therefore aren’t low carb at all.
Even the Subway gluten-free roll has 49 net carbs.
Likewise, all their chips, soups, sides, flatbreads, rolls, wraps, pizzas, bagels, and desserts have too many carbs.
While most of the vegetables and meats behind the glass are low carb, I did find some things you should avoid after reviewing online nutrition stats.
Salads to avoid:
- Sweet Onion Teriyaki Chicken Salad – 30 net carbs (due to sweet onion sauce)
- Meatball Marinara Salad – 21 net carbs (due to high carb meatballs and marinara sauce)
Meats / proteins to avoid:
- Falafel – 20 net carbs
- BBQ Pulled Pork – 18 net carbs
- Meatballs – 13 net carbs
- Orchard Chicken Salad – 9 net carbs
- Veggie Patty – 9 net carbs
Sauces / dressings to avoid:
- Sweet Onion Sauce – 18 net carbs
- Barbecue Sauce – 9 net carbs
- Sweet Chili Sauce – 9 net carbs
- Hickory Sauce – 7 net carbs
- Honey Mustard Sauce – 7 net carbs
Every other meat, vegetable, and sauce should be sufficiently for carb counter Subway goers.
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