I suffer from high blood pressure. But I don’t want to give up my favorite restaurant subs and deli sandwiches. Below are some healthy low-sodium options for those of us with low salt restrictions who crave a fast food sub or deli sandwich.
The Mayo Clinic recommends people at risk for heart attacks, high blood pressure, swelling, and strokes consume less than 1,500 mg of salt per day. That’s an average of 500 mg per meal. So just load up on veggie toppings and your sub is okay, right? Wrong! Six inch sub sandwiches can contain over 2,000 mg of salt after tallying bread, cheese, meat, and veggies. Check out my article here that describes how bread and cheese are two types of foods most people don’t realize are high in sodium.
For example, Subway brought back my favorite garlic bread. A six-inch loaf of garlic bread contains a whopping 1,240 mg of salt. Make your sub a Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt, Philly Cheesesteak, or Italian B.M.T and you add between 1,050 and 1,490 additional mgs of salt to your sub. Add American cheese and Chipotle Southwest sauce and your six inch sub now tops over 2,000 mg of salt, more than your daily sodium allotment. Make it a 12-inch and your sodium doubles to 4,000 mg of heart stressing sodium.
Quiznos offers the same high sodium subs. A large Black Angus Steak sub, including bread, cheese, and dressing contains 3,080 mg of salt. A large Baja Chicken sub with bacon, cheddar cheese and chipotle mayonnaise contains 3,540 mg of salt and a large French Dip contains 4,160 mg of salt. A large Ultimate Club (bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, mayo) contains a heart wrenching 5,820 mg of salt!
Jimmy John’s subs are also comparable in sodium content. The eight-inch Big John which includes roast beef, bread, and cheese has 1,070 mg of salt. The eight-inch Tuna contains 1,620 and the gourmet veggie club sandwich contains 1,760 mg of salt.
The Gargantuan, an eight-inch sub piled high with genoa salami, sliced smoked ham, Italian lunch meat capicola, roast beef, turkey and provolone contains a 3,414 mg of salt, more sodium than an average American should consume in one day.
So what low sodium options does a consumer have? Because of the sodium in bread, finding a sub sandwich under 500 mg of salt is difficult.
Six inches of Subway’s Italian Bread and 9-Grain Wheat Bread contain less than 300 mg of salt. A mini Italian or Wheat Bread drops your sodium down to 180 mg. A six-inch veggie sub contains only 280 mg of salt. The only other options for less than 500 mg of salt are the Kids Meal, Roast Beef, Turkey Breast, or Black Forest Ham which contain 410, 460, and 470 mg of salt respectively. Even on a mini loaf of bread, your miniature sub sandwich is over your allotted 500 mg of salt and that is before adding cheese or sauces.
Oil & Vinegar is a sodium free option to top your sub. Refrain from high sodium sauces, which range from Sweet Onion at 230 mg all the way up to Fat Free Italian at 720 mg of salt.
Quiznos has limited choices for less than 1,000 mg of salt. A small Veggie Guacamole sub contains 940 mg of salt. A small Honey Bourbon Chicken grilled flatbread (with no cheese) contains 780 mg of salt. The only option for less than 500 mg of salt is the small Harvest Chicken salad which contains honey-dijon chicken salad, apples, grapes, dried cranberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, and acai vinaigrette.
Jimmy John’s does not offer any subs with less than 1,000 mg of salt. The Roast Beef Slim contains 1,100 mg of salt and the eight-inch Turkey Tom contains 1,160 mg of salt. However, Jimmy John’s does offer the Unwich, which wraps any sub in a low carb (and low sodium) lettuce wrap. Doing without Jimmy John’s signature bread would significantly reduce a sandwich’s sodium content.
Eating fast food subs and deli sandwiches for less than 1,000 mg of salt is going to take determination and creative planning. But with a little bit of education and self-control, you can still eat healthy and enjoy your favorite sub sandwiches.