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How to Order Low Carb at Subway

Learn how to order low carb Subway like the experts.

Get my Subway low carb menu with full macros and nutrition stats for all 101 of 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

My first time into Subway I ordered a Cold Cut Combo Chopped 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.

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.

For my second low carb Subway order, I got a Chopped Tuna Salad with bacon, oil, and vinaigrette.

My low carb Subway tuna salad.

My low carb Subway tuna salad.

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.

To make matters worse, my salad was visually unappealing. I got the Spicy Italian Chopped Salad which comes with pepperoni and salami for the meats, along with my usual adds of onions, olives, lettuce, spinach and mayo on top.

spicy-italian salad

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.

What you should order

The best Subway sandwich for weight loss isn’t a sandwich at all. It’s a salad.

I recommend the Cold Cut Combo Salad with American cheese, oil & vinegar dressing, and extra mayo squeezed on top. The cold cut combo is one of the highest calorie meat combinations they offer and I personally love the taste of the different deli meats in there.

If you don’t like cold cuts, then a tuna salad or turkey / bacon / ham type combo would also work well.

What you can order

Chopped salads only, unfortunately. All the sandwiches are a no go.

Thankfully, the chopped salads are on the menu so ordering is easy. The sandwich artist asks you to pick a meat and cheese first. After that you’ll have the option to add lettuce and other sliced veggies like carrots, tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. From there you’ll get to pick a dressing.

Once you’ve selected your ingredients, the sandwich artist puts it all in a bowl and chops it together with a large blade.

After your sandwich artist finishes chopping your salad, I recommend asking for additional dressing or mayo so that the salad is more filling.

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.

What you should avoid

In case you’re new to low carb eating, I’ll start by saying that all Subway breads are off limits. Don’t believe me? 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.

Overall Ratings

I rated 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 probably 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 will be for McDonald’s. I ate low carb there starting this post, as well as several times before, and I’m excited to share my ordering guide.

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I’ll also report back with final results for how this low carb fast food experiment affects my health, well-being, and bank account. And you’ll 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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