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Low Carb SUBWAY Guide for Beginners

Learn how to order low carb Subway like an expert.

Get my Subway low carb menu with full macros and nutrition stats for all their low carb ingredients. It’s a great resource for anyone eating keto, low carb, low sugar, or diabetic friendly.

See pictures of my real-life low carb Subway orders.

If you’re wondering if the Subway diet works, the answer is yes, if you do it low carb.

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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.

low-carb-keto-subway

My cold cut combo salad resting peacefully in the passenger seat.

  • 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.

My low carb Subway tuna salad.

My low carb Subway tuna salad.

  • 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.

spicy-italian salad

  • 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.

Low Carb Subway Club Salad

My low carb Subway Club Salad.

  • 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.

Low Carb Subway - Roasted Chicken Patty Salad

My low carb Subway Roasted Chicken Patty Salad

  • 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.

Low Carb Subway - Italian BMT Salad

My low carb Subway Italian BMT Salad

  • 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.

Review my Subway Low Carb Menu one-pager if you want to see full macros and nutritional stats for all 101 of their low carb / keto friendly options.

It should be the perfect resource if you’re looking for a Subway sugar free menu or a Subway diabetic menu.

Overall Ratings

I rate Subway as low-carb friendly because you can create a low carb chopped salad by starting with a bed of shredded lettuce and then add meat, cheese, olives, salad dressing, etc. Some people call it a Subway sub in a tub. Their service is uninspiring, but that  varies by location.

  • Low carb friendly – Yes
  • Low carb options on menu – Yes, chopped salads.
  • Satiety of low carb options – Average. I felt pretty satisfied after both my cold cut combo salad and my tuna salad. I could have eaten a little more each time, but definitely would not have finished two whole salads. My third salad wasn’t very filling.
  • Taste of low carb options – Well Above Average. The ambiance in my nearby Subway is terrible, but the food is great. I’ve enjoyed all three of the salads I’ve eaten on this challenge and could see myself going back for more.
  • Price / value of low carb options – Average. I paid $6.29 for my cold cut combo salad and that includes $0.75 extra to get more meat added to my salad. My sandwich artist called the additional meat their “deluxe” upgrade. My second entree was a tuna salad with $0.75 of extra bacon add for $6.99. My third entree was a Spicy Italian salad and I paid $5.65.
  • Ordering experience – Below Average. My Subway restaurant needs a makeover and the sandwich artists ranged from socially awkward to downright intimidating. One of them tried to wear ear buds while taking my order.

Another thing to note about Subway is that they don’t currently carry full-size lettuce leafs so you can’t make a lettuce wrapped sandwich like you can at Jimmy John’s.

What’s next

My next low carb fast food guide is coming soon. Sign up to get it via email here:

Follow My Low Carb Fast Food Challenge

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You’ll also get some simple low carb recipes and other tips from me for all the times you’re not eating in a fast food joint.

Cheers,
Ryan
aka “Mr. SkinnyPants”

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54 Comments

  1. I find your guides useful and well formatted. A navigation portion on the main page to quickly get to different items without having to scroll past all the blurbs and pictures would be very helpful. thanks man!

  2. This is great to know! I knew Subway bars were off limits when eating keto but never thought about making a salad from the ingredients.

  3. Thanks so much! Have been eating keto for 3 weeks and I now feel I’ve got more options when traveling. I look forward to more posts from Mr. Skinny Pants.

    • I have been eating Keto for two weeks and I have to say I feel much better. More energy and my mind doesn’t feel cloudy now. I love sweets but the way I feel I don’t want any welli do but I don’t want to go back to no energy and cloudy brain

  4. Whats your opinions on the new wraps they have? I’ve had the chicken caesar and turkey/bacon/guac ones on the spinach wrap and they were both delicious. Curious if the tortilla wrap is still too many carbs if I’m trying to stay low carb.

    • There are no low carb option for any breads or wraps at Subway. Ryan makes that clear in his review. Even the mini breads are 24grams and up, net carbs. You can go to Subway’s web site, then hover your cursor over “menu and nutrition”, a cascade menu will drop down, then click on “nutrition information”. Once on that page you can click on “Nutrition Data Tables (USA) on the right. That will download their entire list of menu items.

      You will find all the carbs info there. Its always best to look at menus before you go to a place and never trust any breads or wraps unless you know whats in them. The spinach wrap sounds healthy, and if you aren’t concerned about carbs, it is, but its actually one of the highest carb items you can order at 46grams net carbs…higher than all of the 6″ sub rolls.

      I dont understand why its so hard for these restaurants to offer low carb wraps, they are readily available in the grocery stores and as low as 4 grams carbs for an 8” wrap (I’ve found one that is only 3 grams, but not in all stores). You can go to a grocery store, buy a package of low carb wraps, go to the deli, get your meats and cheeses, hit the salad bar for low carb veggies and mayo, etc. and feast on two or three wraps you made yourself for far less carbs than just one Subway Spinach Wrap alone with no fillings. If there is a nice grocery store in the same strip mall/center as the sub shop, its a better option, they usually have tables for dining now, and you can take your remaining low carb wraps home for more good eats!

      I’ve actually thought about taking my own low card wraps to a fast food place, but thought it would be weird. People already look at you like you are a bit weird for having no bread at a fast food joint as it is!

  5. Thank you…you have given us some great options! My nearest Subway is 4 minutes away. I’m gonna have to give it a try!

  6. Your reviews are very helpful. And you’re right, the employee makes a huge difference. I did a “sub in a tub” at Jersey Mikes and I got lucky encountering a manager who was totally in to the products. I had looked online, they have a great nutritional info guide…I wanted a specific sub-tub and when I went to the restaurant, it wasn’t on the menu. But the manager knew exactly the sub-tub I wanted, and knew it was named after their founder, it was his favorite sub.

    I think had I encountered anyone but her, the manager, I would have been greeted with shrugged shoulders instead of an “On yea, thats not on the menu, its roast beef and pepperoni with provolone, and what we do is roll them up, then slice it in to spirals and lay that on top of your lettuce”.

    The other employees watched her make my salad like it was a foriegn object to them, they had never seen one before.

    The luckiest thing I have found while low carbing, is a server or employee who knows what low carbing is. Most people are clueless and cant imagine why you are trying to order something so weird.

  7. You are so sweet and so thoughtful to help all of us that are trying to keep our weight under control thank you so very much!!!!
    I’m new at this are you subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols to get total net carbs??

  8. On your subway list it shows cold cut salad 9 net carbs but on the website when you show a picture of it you say it has five net carbs which is it??

  9. Hi Ryan, Just started getting your e-mail. Thank you for all your hard work. I will give Subway a try. Looking forward o your next review. 🙂

  10. Enjoyed the Subway overview & will be
    following your sound advice. I hate cooking so excited to have found you.
    Looking forward to more posts!
    Thx, Sharon

  11. Great article, Ryan! Although I’m a little late with my reply, I will definitely be subscribing so with any luck, I can keep up in the future. I also hope you will consider my offer… I’ll get to that in a moment…
    I’m fairly new to the low carb realm and I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated your advice. I’ve been experimenting intermittently for a few months now. I tend to do well, lose a few pounds- and then fall off the wagon due to lack of options (or knowledge of them). I have found a few entres that I absolutely love- so it isn’t such a chore to eat them frequently. I’m very pleased to have found your guide because it just so happens that I am employed by Subway. I now have an ace in my pocket to assist me in my journey toward better health. Oftentimes- when choosing my employee meals, I’m not very consistent with making smarter decisions. I can’t thank you enough for the motivation!
    Now… concerning my proposal… You mentioned something that raised concerns for me. I see that your ordering experience at Subway didn’t always meet your expectations. We just can’t have that. You see… as a Subway Sandwich Artist, it is my personal belief that my guests are the real artists. I’m just the brush to which they provide instructions for creating their masterpiece. (I know… that was corny… but no less true) Be it a personal preference, a religious observance, a particular food allergy or any other motivational factor- every single person has every right to be treated with the utmost respect and for any special requests to be fulfilled without question- providing that the establishment possess the means to accommodate them. Let’s be honest here… you are a paying customer. Without you, I wouldn’t have a job- meaning that I cannot satisfy my responsibilities and provide for my family. So… in a sense- you are my employer.
    I want to be perfectly clear in stating that my communication here does not represent the the opinion of Subway Restaurants or any of their affiliates. I am simply a low level employee- speaking on my own behalf and hopefully not violating any policies by doing so.
    I want to personally apologize for any frustration that you may have experienced during any of your visits to Subway. I hope you understand that the type of behavior that you described is not acceptable. Although I do not have the authority to offer a remedy for your unfortunate encounter(s), I would like to invite you to dine at the Subway restaurant for which I am employed. I know it’s a long shot for you to travel to Oklahoma just to eat at Subway but I wanted to extend the invitation nonetheless. Should you ever find yourself in Lawton, Oklahoma, I would be honored to serve you and do my very best to provide you with a much more positive experience. Additionally, anything you would like to order is my treat. It would be my pleasure to be your paint brush.
    Open-ended offer, my friend. Please feel free to let me know if you are ever passing through and we can coordinate from there.

    Thank you again for your helpful article! I’ll keep you posted on my progress throughout my low carb journey!

    Best regards,
    Ricky Lawson

  12. Good review and very helpful. I have been a Subway type for a while now but never for diet purposes. Now that I have ‘gone’ Keto …this review helps me. My way is similar to yours except that I am lazy…. I order the subs and eat everything except the bread! (they charge more for the same ingredients when they ‘make’ the salad). I like the cold cuts and/or tuna …mozzarella, olives, spinach, lettuce, mustard, oil (suspect it is not really pure virgin oil).. and avocado … Thank you.

  13. Thank you so much for doing this Ryan. It’s very much appreciated. Our Subway is….blah & the service is the same. However, I did read where you had gone to Taco Bell before. My family goes there every Wednesday night. Seriously. Every – Wednesday – Night. lol Anyway, tonight I got the Chicken Power Menu Bowl (minus the beans & rice) and added extra lettuce and guacamole. It was very filling & tasted ah-mazing! Thanks to you I’m able to go to Taco Bell with the family & not feel guilty.

  14. I work at subway and I wouldn’t add the olive oil, it is only 10% olive oil and 90% “other” aka canola or veg oil. Not good. I love addingchipotle or ranch and extra shredded cheese when I make my own!

  15. Great review for Subway. I have avoided going there because of all the bread. And I would weaken and order the meatball sandwich. Will definitely try one of these salads….and will plan on a stop to Jimmy Johns too. My poor husband hasn’t had a sub sandwich in months because I can’t have them….now its salads!!!! Yeah!