Jason’s Deli Nutrition: Top Choices for Athletes
Jason’s Deli is a popular restaurant chain frequented by athletes and sports teams for meals before and after competition. It can be helpful for athletes to know which items at Jason’s Deli best support their sports nutrition needs.
Let’s take a look at ideas for making healthy choices when eating out. Then we will explore Jason’s Deli’s nutrition information and identify the best choices for athletes.
Tips for Making Healthy Choices at a Deli
Prior to looking at the Jason’s Deli menu, let’s review some general tips to help athletes make healthy choices when eating at a deli or sandwich shop.
Foundation of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates should be at the foundation of an athlete’s sports nutrition meal plan. Athletes can get carbohydrates in their diets from a variety of foods, including: grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, beans and legumes, as well as milk and yogurt.
Ideas for Adding Carbohydrates to Your Meal
At a deli, consider the following ways to add carbohydrates to your meal.
- Choose sandwiches made on whole grain bread, buns, or wraps.
- Enjoy pretzels, baked chips, pasta salad, or a fresh fruit cup as a side with your sandwich.
- Load up your salad with a variety of beans, peas, and corn.
- Order a baked potato to have as your entrée or as a side item with your meal.
- Have crackers with your cup of soup.
- Order 100% fruit juice or low-fat milk to drink with your meal.
Include Lean Protein
Consuming lean protein throughout the day with meals and snacks is important for athletes. Protein supports athletes with building and maintaining lean muscle mass. In general, athletes should aim to consume ~25-30 grams of protein with their meals and snacks.
Consider the following ways for adding protein to your meal at a deli:
- Deli meat: Leaner options include turkey, chicken, ham, and roast beef
- Grilled chicken breast
- Smoked or marinated salmon
- Tuna (mixed with light mayo)
- Low-fat sliced cheese
- Salad bar: Hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, tofu, beans, diced turkey or ham
Choose Healthy Fats
Balance out your meal with a variety of healthy, unsaturated fats. The following foods contain unsaturated fats and are often available at sandwich shops.
- Avocado, guacamole
- Olives, olive spread
- Fatty fish: Salmon or tuna (contain omega-3 fatty acids)
- Salad bar: Nuts and seeds
- Salad dressings and other items prepared with vegetable oils (olive, canola, sunflower, safflower)
Athletes can limit their intake of saturated fats at a deli in the following ways:
- Choose broth-based soups over soups made with cream.
- Select lean deli meat options instead of Italian deli meats such as salami, pepperoni, and bologna, which tend to be higher in saturated fat.
- Request dressings and sandwich spreads be served on the side, so you can control the amount added to your meal.
- Choose lower fat condiments for your sandwich, such as mustard, Dijon mustard, and light mayonnaise.
- Limit cheese sauces, butter, and sour cream.
Jason’s Deli Nutrition: Top Choices for Athletes
Based on the information shared above, let’s now identify top choices for athletes on the Jason’s Deli menu.
All the menu and nutrition information included in this article comes from the Jason’s Deli® website. Menu options and nutrition information may change as products are updated. For the most current nutrition information, refer to the Jason’s Deli website.
Jason’s Deli Nutrition: Top Sandwich Choices
When looking at sandwich choices, athletes should focus on options that provide a good source of carbohydrates, have a moderate amount of protein, and contain a limited amount of saturated fat. To further increase the nutrient content of your meal, request a variety of vegetable toppings be added to your sandwich.
Top Sandwich Choices at Jason’s Deli
Here are several ideas for healthy sandwich choices for athletes at Jason’s Deli.
- Amy’s Turkey-O Sandwich
- Wild Salmon-Wich (contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids)
- Turkey Wrap
- Roasted Turkey Breast Muffaletta
Build Your Own Sandwich
Jason’s Deli offers customers the option of creating their own sandwich at the restaurant as well. When building your sandwich, consider including some of the healthier options listed below.
- Protein: Roasted turkey, smoked turkey, roast beef, ham, natural grilled chicken, egg, marinated wild salmon
- Bread: Multigrain wheat, organic wheat wrap, ancient grain bun
- Veggie Toppings: Organic field greens, organic spinach, leafy lettuce, tomatoes, red onion rings, cucumber slices, mushrooms, pico de gallo, sliced avocado
- Spreads: Yellow deli mustard, stone-ground mustard, honey mustard, balsamic vinaigrette, pesto aioli
- Healthy Add-Ons: Guacamole, organic roasted red pepper hummus
Jason’s Deli Nutrition: Top Bowls, Pasta, and Potato Choices
In addition to sandwiches, Jason’s Deli offers numerous other menu items that can help athletes meet their sports nutrition needs, including handcrafted bowls, pasta, and potatoes.
Modern Mediterranean Bowl
Jason’s Deli recently started offering handcrafted bowls on their menu. The Modern Mediterranean Bowl is a great choice for athletes, containing chicken, quinoa, hummus, and a variety of fresh vegetable ingredients.
When ordering the bowl, request the Greek dressing to be served on the side so you can control the amount added. You can further boost the carbohydrate content of your meal by ordering extra pita bread and a fresh fruit cup to enjoy on the side.
Jason’s Deli Nutrition: Pasta Options
Jason’s Deli has several pasta dishes that are high in carbohydrates and a good choice for athletes. With your pasta, consider ordering a trip to the salad bar, steamed vegetables, or a fresh fruit cup to increase the nutrient content of your meal.
- Chicken Pasta Primo
- Penne Pasta with Meatballs
- Zucchini Garden Pasta
Jason’s Deli Nutrition: Potato Options
Another great way for athletes to meet their carbohydrate needs at Jason’s Deli is with a baked potato. When ordering potatoes, consider requesting items that are high in saturated fat, such as butter and sour cream, be served on the side. This will allow you to control the amount added to your potato.
The Pollo Mexicano and the Texas Style Spud® are both options athletes can order at Jason’s Deli to help with meeting their sports nutrition needs.
Jason’s Deli Nutrition: Top Soup and Side Choices for Athletes
Once you decide on the type of sandwich or entrée you desire for your meal, it’s time to determine which sides to order. Here are recommendations for healthy soups and side items that athletes can enjoy at Jason’s Deli.
The following Jason’s Deli soups are great options for athletes.
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Hearty Vegetable Chili
- Homemade Beef Stew
With your sandwich, soup, or handcrafted bowl, consider ordering one of the following side items:
- Veggie quinoa salad
- Roasted corn and black beans
- Italian pasta salad
- Baked chips
- Steamed veggies
- Fresh fruit cup
- Salad bar
Jason’s Deli Gluten-Free Choices
The Jason’s Deli menu clearly indicates gluten-sensitive food items. It is important to note that Jason’s Deli is not a gluten-free environment. On the menu, the restaurant requests to let your server know if you have a gluten-sensitivity.
The following Jason’s Deli items are good choices for athletes who are gluten sensitive:
- Build Your Own Sandwich: Select gluten-free bread
- Modern Mediterranean Bowl: Request the bowl be served without the pita bread
- Pollo Mexicano
- Texas Style Spud®
- Hearty Vegetable Chili
- Sides: Steamed veggies, fresh fruit cup, roasted corn and black beans
Jason’s Deli Vegetarian Choices
Athletes following a plant-based diet can also find a variety of options to meet their sports nutrition needs at Jason’s Deli.
Consider trying the following Jason’s Deli vegetarian choices:
- Spinach Veggie Wrap
- Build Your Veggie Sandwich
- Modern Mediterranean Bowl: Request to be made without chicken
- Hearty Vegetable Chili
- Sides: Italian pasta salad, steamed veggies, fresh fruit cup, roasted corn and black beans
Jason’s Deli Nutrition: Catering for a Team
In addition to enjoying Jason’s Deli at the restaurant, their catering can be a great pre or post-game meal for athletic teams.
Breakfast and Pre-Game Catering
If you are catering breakfast for a team event, consider ordering the following:
- Breakfast Sammy Box: These flatbread breakfast sandwiches include a fresh-cracked egg, muenster cheese, and your choice of meat. For a leaner option, select ham to be included on the Breakfast Sammy instead of sausage or bacon.
- Blueberry and banana nut muffins
- Fresh fruit tray
Jason’s Deli traditional sandwich trays and fresh fruit platters are a great option for pre-game food to have available for athletes to snack on in the locker room.
Post-Game Catering Ideas
For a post-game meal, consider ordering the Pasta Feast, which comes with your choice of pasta, a salad, and herb focaccia bread. Another post-game meal option for the team is the Jason’s Deli Potato Bar. If you go this route, select healthier topping options for the potatoes such as grilled chicken or Hearty Vegetable Chili.
Ready to Eat!
You are now set with a variety of ideas for healthy menu items at Jason’s Deli. Remember to make choices that provide a good source of carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein, which can help you meet your sports nutrition needs.
For additional sports nutrition tips on dining out, check out my blog: 10 Whataburger Healthy Choices for Athletes.
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About the Author
Mandy is a Sports Dietitian Nutritionist in the San Antonio, TX area. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Licensed Athletic Trainer, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Mandy believes the key to reaching one’s full potential, both in everyday life and in sports performance, relies on a healthy nutritional foundation. Learn more about the work Mandy does here.