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There is no denying the power of the keto diet. By cutting carbs from your meals, you force your body to burn fat at an accelerated rate. Unlike almost any other diet, you don’t have to pay too much attention to how much you eat. Instead, you just need to build your meals around fat and protein, both of which are very filling.
But what if you want to eat out? Or maybe grab a meal on-the-go? Can you do that on keto, and if so, what are your best keto Subway options?
Eating out on any diet can be tough, but if you order smaller-than-normal portions and skip dessert, it’s usually quite doable. Keto is different in that your focus should be on what you eat rather than how much. This means that a lot of so-called diets friendly options are not suitable for keto dieters, even if they are low in calories.
Subway makes sandwiches which, of course, means bread. Bread, along with rice, pasta, potatoes, and breakfast cereals, are carb foods that are definitely off the menu with keto.
Does this mean you can’t dine at Subway with keto, or are there some Subway low carb options? The good news is that, while you’ll have to skip the bread and sandwiches at Subway, there are still options workable for keto diets.
The best low carb options at Subway
Because Subway is a franchise, its restaurants are all-but identical all over the world. That’s good news because each one has the same menu made with the same ingredients. There might be small local variations but, as a rule, what’s available in one restaurant is available in all of their outlets. This makes planning your trip to Subway really easy, and you can even go online and check the menu to discover the best low carb choices before you head to your nearest outlet.
This is very useful if, like a lot of dieters, you find your willpower starts to weaken when you are faced with a big menu full of food you are not supposed to eat. Instead of arriving at your chosen Subway entirely unprepared, choose your meal online so that, when you get to the counter, you know exactly what you want to eat. You could even order your meal in advance!
But, what CAN you eat at Subway? The first rule to observe is to skip the bread! If you want to go low carb at Subway, bread is forbidden. Bread is made with wheat flour, and wheat flour is high in carbs. The 6-inch subs all have between 30 to 45 grams of carbs and even the lowest carb bread at Subway, the low-carb flatbread, has more than 25 grams of carbs per serving. The Subway gluten-free roll has 49 grams of carbs. Just a few mouthfuls of any Subway bread will kick you out of ketosis and put the brakes on your fat loss progress.
Does that mean you can’t have anything from the sandwich menu? Not so fast! If you have sufficient willpower, there is nothing to stop you ordering a sandwich and then just putting the bread to one side. Enjoy the freshly-prepared filling and toss the bread in the trash. You will need to exercise some self-control, but this a viable option if you really can’t resist the sandwich menu.
Alternatively, ask your server to wrap your chosen filling in lettuce leaves instead of bread. Lettuce is pretty much calorie and carb-free. It’s an excellent way to keep your filling together and makes it easier to eat your breadless sandwich. The keto diet is so popular now that most servers will be aware of low-carb dieting and your request shouldn’t be all that unusual.
The best low-carb filling options at Subway are:
- Tuna Salad (7 net carbs, 24g fat, 15g protein)
- Veggie Delite® (7 net carbs, 1g fat, 3g protein)
- Chicken Salad (8 net carbs, 4.5g fat, 23g protein)
- Turkey Breast (9 net carbs, 2g fat, 12g protein)
- Roast Beef (8 net carbs, 3.5g fat, 19g protein)
- Black Forest Ham (9 net carbs, 3g fat, 12g protein)
- Subway Club (9 net carbs, 3.5g fat, 18g protein)
- Spicy Italian (9 net carbs, 23g fat, 14g protein)
- Chicken and Bacon Ranch (11 net carbs, 40g fat, 32g protein)
- Cold Cut Combo (9 net carbs, 11g fat, 12g protein)
- Steak and Cheese (12 net carbs, 8g fat, 18g protein)
Please note: These figures are for the filling only and do not include bread. Remember, all types of bread are off the menu at Subway if you want to stay true to your keto diet.
If throwing away the bread or lettuce wraps is unappealing, there is another Subway low-carb option – their delicious salads. In fact, salads are probably your best choice when eating at Subway.
Subway offers 15 different salad options, all of which are packed with very low carb and carb-free veggies, and good sources of protein. You will, however, need to take care when ordering your sauces and dressings. Plain oil and vinegar are fine, but some of the other dressings contain enough carbs to derail your diet, and usually in the form of sugar.
If there is anything wrong with Subway salads, it is that they tend to be low in protein and fat. This means that you may find that you feel hungry a couple of hours after eating. Because of this, you may want to customize your salad to make it more filling. Adding more protein and fat will not affect your weight loss progress but will make your meal more satiating.
Consider doubling up on the meat on your salad, adding more cheese, or including more oil or guacamole. These added extras will increase the price of your meal, but you’ll feel much fuller for longer as a result.
One of the best things about Subway is that you can customize your order, so it’s just the way you like it. This is good for keto dieters because, with a few smart choices, you can create some great low-carb options. However, those same choices could mean that you accidentally consume too many carbs and undo the benefits of keto.
Subway dressings are a good example of hidden carbs, and many of them contain enough carbohydrate to kick you out of ketosis. Because of this, it’s crucial that you consider your choice of dressing carefully, so you don’t ruin your intention to eat low carb.
Subway vinaigrette dressing is always going to be your best option as it’s basically vinegar and oil. If you are finding it hard to make a low-carb decision, this is your best choice. It works well on all salads, so there is no need to worry that it won’t enhance the flavor of your meal.
Other Subway dressings contain varying amounts of carbs, and some of them are quite low. Providing the rest of your meal is all-but carb-free, you should be okay to add some sauce to your meal to liven up the flavor. However, you should avoid the following as these dressings are a little too carb-heavy and could undo your keto diet.
- Sweet Onion Sauce – 18 grams of carbs
- Barbecue Sauce – 9 grams of carbs
- Sweet Chili Sauce – 9 grams of carbs
- Hickory Sauce – 7 grams of carbs
- Honey Mustard Sauce – 7 grams of carbs
Foods to avoid at Subway
While it is entirely possible to eat keto at Subway, there are some foods you need to avoid if you want to stay in ketosis. Bread is the obvious keto diet-buster, but there are other foods and beverages you need to steer clear of too.
On the meat and filling front, you need to think twice before ordering meatballs, tuna, and chicken teriyaki. Meatballs sound like they should be keto-friendly but, unfortunately, are made with meat and breadcrumbs. This means they contain enough hidden carbs to disrupt ketosis.
Tuna is another ingredient that should be keto-friendly but isn’t. At Subway, tuna usually comes pre-prepared with mayonnaise. While some mayonnaise is made with nothing more than eggs and oil, Subway mayo contains sugar. That makes it a no-go for keto dieters.
Chicken teriyaki is covered in a sauce made with sugar, so that means it’s also high in carbs.
With that in mind, make sure you avoid the following:
- Meatball marinara sandwiches, salads, and wraps
- Sweet onion chicken teriyaki sandwiches, salads, and wraps
- Tuna sandwiches, salads, and wraps
From a health perspective, it’s also a good idea to avoid processed deli meats and stick with the freshly grilled options instead. Deli meats contain things like trans fats and nitrates. Both of these ingredients are very unhealthy – especially if you eat them a lot. No, they won’t knock you out of ketosis, but if you value your health as well as your weight, you shouldn’t eat them too often.
Most subway side dishes are also high in carbs. These are the foods that you know to avoid on the keto diet, but it’s worth repeating for clarification: Cookies, chips, and all sweetened beverages are off your keto-diet menu.
Instead, skip the cookies and high-sugar soda and wash down your meal with plain water, unsweetened iced tea or coffee, or diet soda instead.
It’s good to know that, if you need keto-friendly food on the go, you can rely on Subway. You’ll have to forgo their sandwiches, but there are still plenty of low-carb options to choose from. Because the food is freshly prepared and you can customize your meal to suit your needs, Subway is actually one of the better keto diet options when you need food in a hurry.
Of course, your best diet option will always be preparing your food in advance. That way, you’ll have absolute control over what you eat. One way to do this is to plan your menu and then do some batch cooking so that you make most of your food in advance. Pop your prepared meals in the freezer or fridge, and you’ll always have keto-appropriate food ready to eat.
Unfortunately, as effective as this option can be, it’s also time-consuming and is not always practical. You might even make your meal and then forget to take it with you when you head out to work the next day.
You could skip your next meal, combining intermittent fasting with the keto diet, but that’s not everyone’s cup of unsweetened iced tea! And that’s where Subway can help – providing you stick to their low-carb options of course!
With a franchise in most major cities and towns, it’s good to know that, if you want an easy but healthy grab and go meal, Subway is here to help. Just skip the bread, focus on the salads and meats, and add a low-carb dressing and you are good to go.