Is a turkey sub from Jersey Mike’s healthy?

Jersey Mike’s is a popular sandwich chain known for its submarine sandwiches, also known as subs. One of their most popular offerings is the turkey sub, made with sliced turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and Mike’s famous oil and vinegar dressing. But is a turkey sub from Jersey Mike’s actually a healthy choice?

Quick Answer

Overall, a Jersey Mike’s turkey sub can be a reasonably healthy option depending on size and topping choices. Choosing a mini or regular size sub on wheat bread with lots of veggies and minimal condiments will provide a good balance of nutrients. Going with larger sizes or adding high-calorie toppings like mayo or bacon can tip the scales into less healthy territory.

Nutritional Value of Jersey Mike’s Turkey Subs

To determine how healthy a Jersey Mike’s turkey sub is, we need to look at its nutritional value. This will vary depending on the size of the sub and the toppings selected.

Here is the nutritional information for a Jersey Mike’s 7-inch regular turkey sub with standard toppings of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, oil, and vinegar on white bread:

Calories 560
Total Fat 18g
Saturated Fat 4g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 60mg
Sodium 1380mg
Total Carbohydrates 69g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 6g
Protein 34g

As you can see, a regular Jersey Mike’s turkey sub delivers a significant amount of protein from the turkey along with a range of vitamins and minerals from the fresh produce. However, it is also high in sodium, providing over half of the daily recommended limit in just one sandwich. The white bread is low in fiber and the standard toppings like mayo can make it high in unhealthy fats.

Mini and Regular Size Options

Jersey Mike’s offers its turkey subs in mini, regular, and giant sizes. The mini comes in at around 300 calories while the giant can top 1,000 calories. Sticking to a mini or regular portion will help control calories, fat, sodium, and carbohydrates.

Going Wheat or Wrap

Choosing whole wheat bread or a spinach wrap instead of white bread can give a boost of fiber, vitamins, and minerals while reducing the glycemic load of the carb-heavy white roll.

Loading Up on Veggies

Picking lots of fresh veggie toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers, and carrots will add more nutritional value and fiber with minimal calories.

Watching the Condiments

Jersey Mike’s standard vinegar and oil dressing adds flavor without too many calories, but other condiments like mayo and ranch dressing can pack in the fat and sodium. Mustard, hot peppers, or vinaigrettes are lower calorie options.

Comparing Jersey Mike’s Turkey Sub to Other Sandwiches

To better evaluate the health profile of a Jersey Mike’s turkey sub, it helps to compare it to some other popular sandwich choices.

Against Fast Food Burgers

Up against a traditional burger from a fast food chain like McDonald’s or Burger King, the Jersey Mike’s turkey sub is clearly the healthier choice. A basic burger delivers way more calories (250-500), fat (12-25g), and sodium (500-1200mg) than even a large turkey sub.

Against Subway

Subway is Jersey Mike’s biggest competitor in subs. Their turkey subs have a very similar nutrition profile to Jersey Mike’s, though Subway does have more whole grain and low-carb wrap options. Portion sizes are also smaller at Subway, so it’s easier to control calories.

Against Packaged Lunchmeat Subs

Prepackaged subs you find at a supermarket or convenience store are often made with highly processed turkey or ham lunchmeat, low quality cheeses, and few veggies. Jersey Mike’s turkey subs use higher quality ingredients and include more nutrition from fresh produce.

Against Salads

Compared to a salad with lots of greens, veggies, and lean protein, the Jersey Mike’s turkey sub falls a bit short in terms of fiber, vitamins, and overall nutrition density for the amount of calories. But it also provides satisfaction and staying power that a salad lacks.

Health Benefits of Turkey

Turkey breast meat, which makes up the bulk of a Jersey Mike’s turkey sub, provides some valuable health benefits:

  • High in protein to support muscle growth and satisfaction. A regular sub has about 34g protein.
  • Extra lean with minimal saturated fat and zero trans fat.
  • Source of B vitamins like niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
  • Contains the antioxidant mineral selenium.
  • Low in sodium compared to cured meats like ham or salami.

Potential Drawbacks of a Jersey Mike’s Turkey Sub

While turkey subs from Jersey Mike’s can be positioned as reasonably healthy, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:

  • High in sodium from the lunchmeat, cheese, bread, and condiments.
  • Higher carb load from the white bread.
  • Limited fiber without extra veggies.
  • High calorie count if oversized or loaded with fatty extras.
  • Minimally nutritious compared to whole food alternatives.

Tips for Making a Healthy Jersey Mike’s Turkey Sub

If you want to get the most nutrition and health value out of your Jersey Mike’s turkey sub, you can follow these tips:

Size Matters

Stick to a mini or half-size sub to control portions and calories.

Go Wheat or Wrap

Choose whole grain wheat bread or a spinach wrap for more fiber.

Pile on Produce

Get extra servings of veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, pickles, and banana peppers.

Sauce Lightly

Use oil and vinegar for flavor and skip high-fat sauces like mayo or ranch.

Say No to Bacon

Turn down unhealthy add-ons like bacon, which jacks up the fat, sodium and calories.

Go Easy on Cheese

Limit the amount of cheese or choose a lower-fat variety to cut down on saturated fat.

Watch the Sides

Avoid chips, cookies or sugary drinks and opt for healthier sides like apple slices or yogurt.

Balance Your Meals

Make sure to eat light the rest of the day to accommodate the sandwich. Aim for veggies, fruits and lean protein.

The Bottom Line

Overall, a turkey sub from Jersey Mike’s has the potential to be a nutritious lunch option in moderate portions. Sticking to small sizes, wheat or wraps, lots of vegetable toppings, and easy on the condiments will provide a good balance of protein, limited fat, and important vitamins and minerals. Going overboard on portion size or unhealthy extras can tip the scales into less healthy territory. A Jersey Mike’s turkey sub can be part of a balanced diet when ordered mindfully.

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