The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy, plant-forward approach to eating that’s become popular far beyond the coastal region that it hails from. Today, many in the US follow a Mediterranean diet inspired by the eating habits of those living in countries like Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Greece. Why? Because they’re onto something.
Focusing on a diet that’s rich in whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fish and seafood, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats like olive oil can support a healthy body weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol, and even decrease risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. It’s a flexible diet that doesn’t rely on strict rules but rather on balanced nutrition.
So if you’re on the Mediterranean diet, how easy is it to eat out and honor the foods that are encouraged (while avoiding those that aren’t)? At certain restaurants, it can definitely be done. And if you’re a Subway fan, you may be wondering if the popular sandwich chain is one of them. Here’s everything you need to know, and everything you can order there.
Mediterranean diet-friendly items available on the Subway menu
The key to honoring the Mediterranean diet is to try to stick to fresh, unprocessed whole foods. There are certain foods that should be avoided or limited on the diet, like refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, and red meat, and others that should be eaten in moderation, like poultry and dairy.
So what does that mean at Subway? First, it’s best to stay away from any breads or wraps to avoid refined carbs. If you’re going to opt for a sandwich, choose the Hearty Multigrain as your bread option (but for the purpose of this Mediterranean-diet-friendly list, we’re avoiding Subway breads). For your proteins, stick to poultry, fish, or vegetable-based choices – like Subway’s Veggie Patty, which is available at select locations. Just beware that even Subway’s lean meats and poultry contain processed additives, so be sure to consume these sparingly. And since added sugar is a big no no, you’ll also want to skip out on any items that include sweeteners or added sugar; that means things like baked goods, certain condiments or dressings, and sweetened drinks.
Otherwise, most of Subway’s ingredients are up for grabs! With lots of menu items that fall under their Salads or No Bready Bowls, there are plenty of meals for you to order without worrying about the bread. And since Subway’s extensive ingredients allow for a choose-your-own-adventure of bowls and salads – with tons of veggies to choose from – you’ve got options when it comes to building your own lunch or dinner.
A few caveats, since the Mediterranean diet is fairly flexible depending on the individual. Cheese is allowed in moderation, so we’ve kept those on the list. Obviously the less processed the better; we’ve included the better-for-you choices like fresh mozzarella, provolone, or swiss, which will be your best options if you’re springing for dairy. And when ordering a salad or bowl, just be sure to replace any condiments or dressings with the more diet-friendly ones listed below (we recommend mustard, oil, and vinegar as the safest bets).
According to Subway, you’re guaranteed to “eat fresh” at this go-to sub shop. So here it is, folks: the complete list of Subway items and ingredients that you can feel good about ordering while on the Mediterranean diet. Bon appetit!
|Buffalo Chicken Salad|
Grilled Chicken Salad
Oven Roasted Chicken Salad
Oven Roasted Turkey Salad
Rotisserie-Style Chicken Salad
Veggie Delight Salad
Veggie Patty Salad*
|No Bready Bowls|
|Buffalo Chicken Bowl|
Grilled Chicken Bowl
Oven Roasted Turkey Bowl
Oven Roasted Turkey & Ham Bowl
Roast Beef Bowl
Rotisserie-Style Chicken Bowl
Veggie Patty Bowl*
|Meats + Proteins|
Oven Roasted Chicken
Oven Roasted Turkey
|Veggies + Cheeses|
|Sides + Extras|
|Condiments, Sauces + Dressings|
MVP Parmesan Vinaigrette
Oil and Vinegar
Roasted Garlic Aioli*
Red Wine Vinegar
Freshly Brewed Iced Tea (Unsweetened)
Yes, Subway’s tuna salad is one of the better-for-you protein options while on the Mediterranean diet, since fish is a lean protein that’s encouraged in moderation. Just keep in mind that Subway uses soybean oil in their mayo (and not olive oil), the consumption of which is a bit contradictory – so it’s left up to the individual since the diet is flexible.
The healthiest option of Subway’s sub, flat bread, and wrap options is the Hearty Multigrain bread. In addition to enriched flour, the bread is made with beneficial ingredients like whole wheat flour, rye, oats, millet seed, flaxseed, and sunflower seeds. It’s low in calories and sugar while providing a good source of protein and fiber.
Yes, since Subway’s Veggie Patty doesn’t necessarily is plant-based and doesn’t contain any problematic ingredients, it’s considered acceptable as a protein option if you follow a Mediterranean diet.