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Is Subway Really Healthier Than McDonald's, Burger King, and Others?


"Subway - Eat fresh." With this slogan, the sub shop promotes an image of supposedly fresh and healthy products. But are their sandwiches really healthier than food at other fast food chains? We've collected some facts and figures for you....

Are Subway's Subs Really Healthier Than McDonald's, Burger King, and Others?

Are Subway's Subs Really Healthier Than McDonald's, Burger King, and Others?

390,000 employees, 15.2 billion dollars in sales in 2010, more than 41,000 stores worldwide.  In the past several years, Subway has fought its way to being one of the top fast food restaurant chains, and it is currently the largest fast food chain (in terms of number) in the entire world. (McDonald's keeps the lead in sales.)

Much of the reason for Subway's success can be attributed to its reputation: it's built up an image of fresh and healthy food, in stark contrast to everything we know about so many other belt-busting fast food joints. But is it true that their subs are really that much healthier?

What Does Subway Promise?

The franchise was one of the first to jump on the "healthy" and "veggie" train, and they have always presented themselves as a company that promotes a healthy eating lifestyle. Through this, they want to distinguish themselves (and arguably do so successfully) from their "greasy" competitors such as McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut and offer an attractive alternative to heavy burgers and fries, chicken, or pizza.

And that's not the only way that Subway's concept differs from other fast food chains. Here, the customer is king, and you can individually create your sandwich, salad, or wrap according to your specific wishes. You can load up on meat or go totally meat-free, and you can even choose from more specialty types of ingredients such as everyone's favorite superfood, avocado. Not only can you handpick your fillings, but you can also choose your own bread and sauces.

And your sandwich is made right then and there in front of you, for you and anyone else around to supervise. Through this unique concept and branding, Subway promises a cleaner, healthier meal. But how good for your are their subs really?

Are Subways Really Much Healthier Than Other Fast Food Restaurants?

Where Subway definitely shines is in the freshness their production. This isn't to be mistaken with the freshness of their products; in that respect, they're not a lot different from most other fast food giants. Their ingredients contain plenty of preservatives to keep the food fresh over the long delivery journey. However, despite the fact that nothing is truly "fresh", their vegetables are relatively fresh and good quality.

However, the big plus with Subway is the direct preparation of the sandwiches and other menu items right in front of their customers. While people often fear how their burgers are being prepared at other competitors' establishments, you can be totally confident when you bite into a Subway sandwich that your sub was made just a few minutes before it was placed in your hands.

Just how good for you and low-calorie the sub is, in the end, depends on the composition – a factor that rests entirely in the hands of the customer. If you want to watch your waistline, stay far away from the meatball sub and opt instead for the veggie patty or lean poultry options. And don't forget to pile on some vegetables for vitamins and nutrients! Instead of asking for white bread, choose a darker, grainier bun, and avoid any cheese or sauces for a leaner sandwich.

If you put your sub together right, you can definitely cut down (at least somewhat) on calories and fat. On average, then, it's safe to say that Subway menus certainly offer more diet-friendly options than other fast food chains.

Here is our suggestion for the healthiest Subway order (lowest calorie count):

  • Veggie Delight (or Turkey)
    • on Whole Wheat Bread
    • with Mustard
  • Water
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

What is your go-to order at Subway? Let us know in the comments!

Here are 29 fast food faves you can make at home.

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Chef Tips and Tricks

VIDEO: Baked French Croque Monsieurs

Enjoy these super easy, cheesy, dumpling-style croque monsieurs!


  • 4 slices of bread
  • 4 slices of ham
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Flour
  • Egg yolk
  • Breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. On a large piece of plastic wrap, press one slice of bread flat with a rolling pin.
  3. Add one slice of ham, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Take the four corners of the bread, pull them in towards the center, pinch them together so that the bread maintains the shape.
  5. Envelope the bread in the plastic wrap. Gather and twist the ends on top to seal the sandwich dumpling.
  6. Repeat this step with the other slices of bread.
  7. Refrigerate.
  8. Remove the bread balls from the fridge and roll each one in flour, then egg yolk, then breadcrumbs.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Serve alone or with dipping sauces of your choice.

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