Subway High Protein Sandwich Options for Athletes

Subway High-Protein Sandwich Options for Athletes

Subway High-Protein Sandwich Options for Athletes

It can be helpful for athletes to have ideas for sandwiches at Subway that can support them with meeting their nutrition needs.

Let’s take a look at the protein needs of athletes. Then we will explore the Subway menu for high-protein sandwich options that athletes can enjoy as part of their sports nutrition meal plan.

Protein Needs of Athletes

Including lean protein in the diet is important for athletes. Protein has many essential roles in the body, including supporting athletes with building and repairing lean muscle mass.

To get the most benefit from protein intake, athletes are encouraged to consume protein throughout the day with several meals and snacks. Athletes should aim to consume ~0.25 grams of protein per kg of body weight at each eating occasion (1). 

In general, this calculates to be in the range of ~20-30 grams of protein at each meal/snack (depending on the weight of the athlete). In addition, athletes should include 20-40 grams of protein in their post-workout meal to support their recovery nutrition needs (1). 

It is important for athletes to remember that eating protein alone will not result in muscle gain. Protein intake must be combined with a well-planned strength and conditioning program to promote muscle growth.

Protein for Athletes

Building a Healthy Meal for Athletes

In addition to protein, athletes looking to build a healthy meal at a sandwich shop should focus on including foods that provide a good source of carbohydrates as well as healthy, unsaturated fats.

Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy needed to perform at its best. When possible, athletes should select whole grain breads or wraps for their sandwiches to be prepared on.

Healthy fats are necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, supporting optimal brain function, and helping to reduce inflammation in the body. Athletes can enjoy healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, and vinaigrette-based dressings on their sandwiches.

To further boost the nutrient content of the sandwich, athletes can pile on a variety of fresh vegetable toppings. Finally, with the meal, athletes should choose a nutritious beverage, such as water, low-fat milk, or 100% fruit/vegetable juice, to support their hydration needs.

Subway High-Protein Sandwich Options for Athletes

Now that you understand the protein needs of athletes, let’s look at high-protein sandwich options on the Subway menu.

When identifying the best high-protein sandwiches for athletes, it is important to also consider the saturated fat content of the sandwich. Saturated fat is associated with increased inflammation in the body (2). Thus, athletes should aim to limit the saturated fat content of their diet.

Thus, for the purposes of this blog, sandwiches that contain ≥ 20 grams of protein and ≤ 5 grams of saturated fat will be identified.

All the nutrition information included in this article comes from the Subway® website. Menu options and nutrition information may change as products are updated.  For the most current nutrition information, refer to the Subway website.

A Note on Sodium

It is important to note that many of the Subway high-protein sandwich options are also high in sodium. In general, consuming sodium in the diet can help athletes with replacing the sodium lost in sweat.

However, athletes who have been advised to restrict sodium in their diet should work with a sports dietitian nutritionist to develop an individualized plan for meeting their sports nutrition needs.

Subway High-Protein Deli Meat Sandwich Options

When selecting a deli meat sandwich at Subway, athletes should select a lean protein option. In general, turkey, chicken, ham, and roast beef tend to be lean protein options. Bacon and Italian deli meats, such as salami, pepperoni, and bologna, tend to be higher in saturated fat and thus less healthy choices.

The following 6” Subway sandwiches contain 20 or more grams of protein and limited saturated fat:

  • Black forest ham: 20 g protein
  • Oven roasted turkey: 22 grams protein
  • Roast beef: 25 g protein
  • Oven roasted turkey and ham: 21 g protein

The nutrition information above is for the 6” sub sandwich without cheese or dressings. Adding cheese will boost the protein content of the sandwich, but also add saturated fat. The different types of cheese offered at Subway contain varying amounts of protein.

  • American cheese: 2 g protein
  • Provolone cheese: 4 g protein
  • Swiss cheese: 4 g protein
  • Mozzarella cheese: 3 g protein
Lean Deli Meat

Subway Double Meat Sandwich Options

In addition to adding cheese, another option for increasing the protein content of the sandwich is by ordering double meat. The protein content for an additional serving of deli meat is listed below.

  • Oven roasted turkey: 11 g protein
  • Black forest ham: 10 g protein
  • Roast beef: 14 g protein

Subway High-Protein Chicken Sandwich Options

Subway offers a variety of sandwiches featuring boneless, skinless grilled chicken breasts. Athletes can opt for the plain grilled chicken sandwich, or change it up with grilled chicken marinated in sweet onion teriyaki sauce. For athletes who like spice, the buffalo chicken sub features the grilled chicken with Franks RedHot® Sauce.

In addition to grilled chicken, Subway offers rotisserie-style chicken, which athletes can enjoy on a sub with their choice of veggie toppings and dressing.

High-protein 6” chicken sandwiches at Subway include:

  • Grilled chicken sub: 27 g protein
  • Sweet onion chicken teriyaki sub: 26 g protein
  • Buffalo chicken sub: 25 g protein
  • Rotisserie-style chicken sub: 25 g protein

Similar to the deli subs, athletes can add cheese to the sandwich or order double chicken to boost the protein content.

The protein content of an additional serving of chicken is as follows:

  • Grilled chicken: 16 g protein
  • Sweet onion chicken teriyaki: 16 g protein
  • Buffalo chicken: 17 g protein
  • Rotisserie-style chicken: 15 grams protein

Subway High-Protein Steak Sandwich Options

For athletes who prefer steak, the Subway steak sandwiches can be a good high-protein option. The 6” steak, with American cheese, sub sandwich provides 26 g protein and 5 g saturated fat. Adding double steak to the sub will boost the protein content by an additional 17 grams.

Subway High-Protein Wrap Sandwich Options

The wrap sandwiches at Subway are a great high-protein option for athletes. Each wrap contains a footlong portion of the protein selected. Athletes can then fill their wrap with added cheese, a variety of fresh vegetable toppings, as well as dressings.

High-protein wrap sandwich options at Subway include:

  • Grilled chicken wrap: 42 g protein
  • Buffalo chicken wrap: 42 g protein
  • Sweet onion chicken teriyaki wrap: 41 g protein
  • Rotisserie-style chicken wrap: 38 g protein
  • Roast beef wrap: 38 g protein
  • Oven roasted turkey wrap: 32 grams protein
  • Oven roasted turkey and ham wrap: 30 g protein
  • Black forest ham wrap: 28 g protein
Subway High Protein Wrap Sandwiches

Subway High-Protein Breakfast Sandwich Options

Although not all Subway locations offer breakfast, there are locations that serve morning breakfast sandwiches. When selecting a high-protein breakfast sandwich, remember that bacon tends to be high in saturated fat and a less healthy choice.

Subway breakfast sandwiches that contain more than 20 grams of protein and are limited in saturated fat include:

  • Black forest ham, egg white, and cheese flatbread: 23 g protein
  • Steak, egg white, and cheese flatbread: 28 g protein
  • Black forest ham, egg white, and cheese wrap: 39 g protein
  • Egg white and cheese wrap: 29 g protein

With the breakfast sandwich, athletes can order low-fat milk to drink. The 7-fl oz container of milk served at Subway provides 7 grams of protein.

Milk is a source of high-quality, complete protein (1). In addition, milk provides 13 essential vitamins and minerals that are important for an athlete’s health. Thus, drinking milk with the breakfast sandwich is an easy way for athletes to boost the protein content of their meal.

Subway High-Protein Sandwich Options for Athletes

You are now set with a variety of high-protein sandwich options that athletes can order at Subway. As a reminder, in addition to protein, athletes should include carbohydrates and healthy fats, as well as a variety of vegetable toppings on their sub sandwich.

For additional high-protein ideas for athletes at restaurants check out my blog on high-protein options at Panda Express.

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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 has experience working with athletes at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. She 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.

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