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The Best High-Protein and Low-Calorie Subway Options in 2024

Subway has long been considered one of the healthiest fast food restaurants, and it’s easy to see why. Since you can build your own sandwich at Subway, it’s easy to customize your order to build the perfect healthy meal for your diet.

Subway wrapper

Highlights

  • The highest-protein option at Subway under 700 calories is the Steak & Cheese wrap with 570 calories & 43 grams of protein.
  • Subway wraps pack the same meat quantity as a footlong and the same veggie amount as a 6″ sandwich, optimizing protein content.
  • Bowls double the meat portion compared to salads, aligning with footlong sandwiches for higher protein intake while keeping calories low.

In this guide, I want to help you find the healthiest Subway sandwich for your preferences. Whether your goals revolve around building muscle or weight loss, I want to help you find the best healthy food at Subway to support your goals.

We’re going to look at the highest protein options, as well as the lowest calorie options. Finally, we’ll look at various customization options to help you build the ultimate healthy option for your diet.

And if that’s not enough, I have a breakdown of every sandwich and wrap so you can find the perfect option for your needs.

Subway is best known for its sandwiches, but they also offer bowls and salads, so we must look at the entire menu to get the whole picture.

Note: All menu images used in this breakdown are property of Subway

Subway Menu Options: How It Works

Before we dive into the best options to order, it’s helpful to understand how the Subway menu works.

By now, almost everyone on Earth is familiar with Subway. You choose a menu item, and then it is assembled in front of you so you can choose the exact ingredients you’d like.

Because of the endless customization options, no nutrition guide can ever be 100% accurate. All of the calories and macros you’ll find in this guide are based on menu items ordered as-is, and they will change as you alter the ingredients.

Don’t worry, there’s a section that breaks down the customization options because I want this to be thorough.

The most important thing to understand about ordering at Subway is the actual options that are available:

  1. Classic Sandwiches: This is what Subway was built on. You can order a 6″ or footlong of any Subway sandwich. There’s no tricky math needed; a footlong is simply two 6″ sandwiches.
  2. Subway Series Sandwiches: Subway offers a wide variety of specialty sandwiches known as the “Subway Series”. These differ from the classics, but the ordering options of a 6″ and footlong remain the same.
  3. Wraps: You can order any sandwich as a wrap. Wraps contain the same amount of meat as a footlong, and the same amount of fresh veggies as a 6″ sandwich, which means you end up maximizing your protein with wraps (which you’ll see below).
  4. Salads: If you want to ditch the carbs, you can order any sandwich as a salad. You’ll receive the same amount of meat as a 6″ sandwich, and much more veggies. If low-calorie is the goal, salad is the way to go. If you’re also looking to maximize your fiber intake, more veggies will lead to more fiber.
  5. Bowls: At first glance, bowls look identical to salads, so what’s the difference? With bowls, you get as much meat as a footlong sandwich, which means you are getting twice as much protein as you get with a salad. When you want to keep your calories low and still hit your protein goals, bowls are a great choice.

Now you’re a Subway pro. Let’s dive into the menu!

The Highest Protein Options at Subway

If your goal is to eat high-protein, Subway has a ton of options available to you.

For this guide of high protein Subway sandwiches, I didn’t want to simply look at the most protein, because that will come with a significant amount of calories. For example, the most protein you’ll find in a Subway sandwich is “The Beast” with 80 grams of protein.

That would be seriously impressive if it weren’t for the fact that this same sandwich also contains 1,500 calories.

So, to help you find macro-friendly (and diet-friendly) options, I decided to cut this guide off at 700 calories. So, these are all the highest-protein options under 700 calories.

It’s no surprise that wraps and bowls dominate this category. A Subway wrap uses the same amount of meat as a footlong sandwich, so you end up getting quite a lot of protein. Bowls offer the same contents as a wrap, but by removing the tortilla you’re saving nearly 200 calories.

If you want as much protein as possible, you’ll want to go with a footlong sandwich, but that is going to come with a substantial calorie increase as well. Scroll down further along in this post for a macro breakdown of all Subway footlong sandwiches.

Subway Wrap With The Most Protein

Steak & Cheese Wrap

570 Calories, 20g Fat, 55g Carbs, 43g Protein

Subway Bowl With The Most Protein

Steak & Cheese Bowl

380 Calories, 19g Fat, 12g Carbs, 42g Protein

Subway 6″ Sandwich With The Most Protein

The Monster

580 Calories, 30g Fat, 42g Carbs, 36g Protein

The Lowest Calorie Options at Subway

For some people, calories are the main concern over protein, so we must look at some of the lowest-calorie options on the Subway menu as well.

Since I wanted to look strictly at the lowest calorie menu items, some of these options are more macro-friendly and protein-packed than others.

It’s no surprise that the salads at Subway contain the fewest calories. With under 200 calories in most Subway salads, it’s easy to gravitate towards those as a diet-friendly option.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that these salads are very basic and do not include any salad dressing or sauce. Once you customize your salad, assuming you add other ingredients such as cheese, salad dressing, or other toppings, those calories will increase.

If you’re curious to see how many calories are in each type of dressing, there’s a section on that below!

Subway’s bowls (The No Bready Bowls) are similar to salads, but they are described as everything you’d get in a footlong, served in a bowl. Because of this, the focus is on extra protein, so the calories end up being on the higher side for some of them.

The Grilled Chicken bowl contains 35g of protein and only 200 calories thanks to the lean chicken breast, making it one of the healthiest options on the menu.

If you are watching your carbs and want to avoid the bread, any salad or No Bready Bowl will have very minimal grams of carbs, making them great options.

For a low-calorie sub, the 6″ Veggie Delite is technically one of the healthiest Subway sandwiches, but it contains very little protein with only 10g. If you want a macro-friendly option that contains a good amount of protein, the 6″ roast beef sub is a great option.

With 310 calories and 25g of protein, it’s a great way to get protein without a ton of calories.

Lowest Calorie 6″ Sandwich

Veggie Delight

210 Calories, 3g Fat, 39g Carbs, 10g Protein

Best Low-Calorie Option for Protein

Grilled Chicken Bowl

200 Calories, 4g Fat, 9g Carbs, 35g Protein

Calories & Macros for All Classic Subway Sandwiches

The classic sandwiches at Subway are the sandwiches that have stood the test of time and that we have all come to know and love.

When Subway boomed in popularity in the early 2000s, sandwiches such as the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki and Meatball Marinara were staples for my younger self.

All of the calories & macros listed above are for a footlong sandwich, so if you’re looking for a 6″ option, you simply need to cut everything in half (literally, in this case).

I like looking at the footlong options here because they are still surprisingly low in calories for the amount of food you get. Sure, 600-700 calories may seem high for some people, but considering how filling an entire 12″ of sandwich is, that’s not bad at all.

That being said, some options are definitely better than others…

Subway Classic Sandwich With the Most Protein

Grilled Chicken Footlong

580 Calories, 8g Fat, 80g Carbs, 54g Protein

With under 600 calories and an impressive 54 grams of protein, the grilled chicken footlong is one of the most macro-friendly options on the Subway menu.

Subway Classic Sandwich With the Lowest Calories

Veggie Delite

210 Calories, 3g Fat, 39g Carbs, 10g Protein (for 6″ sandwich)

Considering there is no meat on this sandwich, it comes as no surprise that the calories are so low. If you’re strictly worried about calories and not protein, the Veggie Delite sandwich is the way to go.

If you want to keep the calories down but still want a decent amount of protein, a 6″ Oven Roasted Turkey is a great option. With 270 calories and 22 grams of protein thanks to lean turkey breast, it’s a very macro-friendly option.

Calories & Macros for All Subway Series Sandwiches

If you’re looking for more than what the classic Subway sandwiches offer, the “Subway Series” has what you need. These sandwiches offer a wide variety that certainly does not skimp on the fillings.

Some of the Subway Series sandwiches are massive, with many of them consuming more than 1,000 calories in a footlong. Compared to the classic sandwiches, where every single footlong is under 1,000 calories, it’s clear that these pack in the fillings.

There are many cases where high-calorie is not a concern, such as if you are bulking, in which case these sandwiches may be a great option.

But for everyone else, it may be worth considering opting for a 6″ version of these Subway Series sandwiches.

Subway Series Sandwich With the Most Protein

The Beast

1,460 Calories, 88g Fat, 94g Carbs, 54g Protein

Subway Series 6″ With the Most Protein Under 500 Calories

All-Pro Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki

430 Calories, 11g Fat, 55g Carbs, 30g Protein

Calories & Macros for all Subway Wraps

Ordering your favorite sandwich as a wrap is a fantastic way to lower the carbs while keeping your meal handheld. The ultimate carb-saver is ordering a salad or bowl, but a wrap is the next best thing.

Let’s look at the Black Forst Ham Wrap to see how it differs from the sandwich.

Black Forest Ham Wrap: 440 Calories, 11g Fat, 56g Carbs, 30g Protein

Black Forest Ham Footlong: 560 Calories, 8g Fat, 84g Carbs, 40g Protein

With a wrap, the carbs come down quite a bit, which also comes with a reduction in calories. Unfortunately, the protein does come down a bit when you order a wrap, but it remains high in most cases.

A wrap at Subway contains the same amount of meat as a footlong, so it’s a great way to create an easy macro-friendly meal.

Subway Wrap With the Most Protein

Steak & Cheese Wrap

570 Calories, 20g Fat, 55g Carbs, 43g Protein

Subway Wrap With the Lowest Calories

Veggie Delite Wrap

330 Calories, 8g Fat, 57g Carbs, 10g Protein

Customization Options For Any Macro-Friendly Subway Meal

Subway customizations

The amazing thing about Subway is that you can customize your order however you’d like! Since you can swap out the bread, cheese, sauces, and veggies, you can build countless healthier options for yourself.

Starting with the bread, you have the option of Italian bread, flatbread (typically used for Subway breakfast), multigrain bread, Italian herbs & cheese, or a wrap. All of the nutrition facts are fairly similar for the bread options, but Italian bread is the lowest calorie option with only 160 calories for a 6-inch sub.

As far as the cheese is concerned, most options are going to be interchangeable in terms of macros. For a 6″ sub, American cheese will add 40 calories, while pepper jack, Monterey jack, and provolone will all add 50 calories.

For this guide, I chose to leave the fresh vegetables out, because they are all essentially calorie-free! Green peppers, black olives, red onions, banana peppers, etc, will all add 5 calories at most to your sandwich, so it’s not enough to stress about.

Where the calories can make a difference is in the sauce or dressing choice you make. The cream-based sauces, like mayo, ranch, and garlic aioli, all contain 80-100 calories per serving.

If you add mayo to a footlong sandwich, that’s going to add an extra 200 calories!

If you want a low-calorie sauce option, mustard or honey mustard are two of the best choices. It’s surprising to see that the teriyaki sauce from the sweet onion chicken teriyaki is one of the lower-calorie options as well as most teriyaki sauce tends to be high in sugar.

Macro-Friendly Subway Tips

I hesitate to call these hacks because they are not necessarily secrets. However, there are some great tips you can utilize to get the most bang for your macro-buck at Subway. Here are some of my favorite tips:

  1. Ask for “less” sauce or dressing. This will essentially cut the sauce in half, which can be a huge calorie saver if you are adding something like mayo or garlic aioli.
  2. Go with double meat on a 6″ sub. To keep the calories lower, you’ll want to stick with a smaller 6″ sub, but you can get double protein on any sandwich! In a lot of cases, the caloric impact is pretty minimal, too. For a Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sub, ordering double meat will add 110 calories and an extra 16g of protein.
  3. Order a protein bowl with a side of flatbread. My favorite thing to do at Chipotle is ordering a bowl with a tortilla on the side and then assembling my own burrito, and this is the same idea! The protein bowl maximizes the protein you’re getting, and by getting a flatbread on the side, you can assemble your own little sandwich.
  4. Skip the cheese. I know this isn’t much of a trick, but it’s one of my go-to’s. I don’t find that cheese adds much flavor to my sandwich, and by leaving off the cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese, you can save yourself some extra calories.
  5. Be mindful of sides. Instead of chips, go for the apple slices. Or, stick with maximizing the lean protein in your meal and skip the side altogether.

Conclusion: How Healthy Is Subway?

Like all fast-food restaurants, Subway is only as healthy as you make it.

From an ingredients standpoint, it’s tough to say that Subway is not an overall great choice. I mean, they’ve coined the term “Eat Fresh” for a reason, and they have lots of great, fresh ingredients available to you.

If we’re talking about strictly calories and macros, Subway is one of the best fast-food restaurant options I’ve come across.

While you can certainly make substitutions at most places, the substitution options at Subway are nearly endless. Because of this, you can build the perfect meal to fit your goals and your specific macros.

When it comes to eating high-protein fast food, Subway has some of the best options out there! And while a lot of those options come with a ton of calories, there are some incredible low-calorie options available as well.

It all comes down to your preferences, but when looking at the menu, I would say that Subway has lots of amazing options for almost anyone. Whether you’re in the mood for a Spicy Italian, Roast Beef, BLT with extra bacon, or a low-calorie Veggie Delite sandwich, there’s something for everyone.

Share The Love

DA

Tuesday 19th of September 2023

This is really good and detailed, can't believe you made these. Thanks for helping me decide what to order from Subway and being able to track my calories

Ky

Sunday 29th of January 2023

I’m wondering how y’all make these charts because I wanna customize my own

Matt

Monday 30th of January 2023

Hey Ky- I make them from scratch in Photoshop, so unfortunately there's not really a template. But check out Canva, because they might have some templates you can use as starting points

About Matt Rosenman

With over 15 years of experience in health and fitness, Matt Rosenman is the expert voice behind Cheatdaydesign.com. Matt’s philosophy is simple: no foods are off-limits, and a healthy lifestyle shouldn't be complicated or restrictive. As a former certified personal trainer with a bachelor’s degree in Health Behavioral Sciences, Matt brings well-rounded expertise to his blog. From revamping classic recipes with a nutritious twist to breaking down fast food menus, his goal is make healthy living less confusing for everyone. Featured in major publications and with a strong following on social media, Matt is committed to making “healthy” uncomplicated—no matter where you are in your health journey. Join Matt on his mission to simplify health without sacrificing flavor. Learn More