Is the spicy Italian from Subway healthy?

The Spicy Italian is one of Subway’s most popular sandwich choices. With spicy pepperoni, salami, and ham on freshly baked bread, it’s easy to see why this sandwich is a customer favorite. But is the Spicy Italian actually a healthy option for a meal or snack? In this comprehensive article, we’ll examine the Spicy Italian’s ingredients, nutrition information, and how it fits into a balanced diet. With over 40,000 Subway locations worldwide, the choices made at this hugely popular sandwich chain can impact the health and wellness of millions of customers daily. Read on to find out whether Subway’s Spicy Italian sandwich lives up to its image as a fresher fast food alternative.

Spicy Italian Ingredients

The foundation of the Spicy Italian sandwich is Subway’s Italian white or wheat bread. Toppings include:

  • Pepperoni
  • Genoa salami
  • Spicy ham
  • Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Banana peppers
  • Oregano
  • Oil and vinegar dressing

The meats and vegetables provide protein, vitamins, and minerals. The wheat bread offers fiber and nutrients that white bread lacks. However, the sandwich also contains processed meats high in sodium, saturated fat, and preservatives. The oil and vinegar dressing, though offering some healthy fats, adds extra sodium and calories. Overall, while the Spicy Italian contains some nutritious ingredients, it’s higher in processed foods than many other Subway options.

Spicy Italian Nutrition Information

Here is the nutrition information for a footlong Spicy Italian sandwich on 9-grain wheat bread with standard toppings, according to Subway’s website:

Calories 750
Total Fat 24g
Saturated Fat 8g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 55mg
Sodium 1920mg
Total Carbohydrates 85g
Dietary Fiber 8g
Sugar 6g
Protein 48g

A few things stand out from these nutritional facts:

– High in sodium at 1920mg – over 80% of the recommended daily value. Most dietary guidelines recommend limiting sodium to 1500-2300mg per day.

– Also high in saturated fat at 8g, which is 40% of the daily value. Saturated fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

– Provides 48g of protein per footlong sandwich, an excellent source.

– Low in sugar at just 6g.

The Spicy Italian has a fairly high calorie count at 750 calories for a footlong. It provides ample protein but is high in sodium and saturated fat from the deli meats.

How the Spicy Italian Fits Into a Healthy Diet

The Spicy Italian has some nutritional benefits but also drawbacks. Here is how it can fit into an overall healthy diet:

– Provides lean protein from the turkey and ham. Protein helps keep you full and aids muscle growth/repair.

– Vegetables like onions, lettuce, and tomatoes add fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

– Using 9-grain or honey oat bread boosts fiber intake compared to white bread.

However, there are some unhealthy aspects that are best limited:

– Processed deli meats raise cancer and heart disease risk, so shouldn’t be consumed daily.

– High sodium content can negatively affect blood pressure and heart health, especially for those with hypertension or at risk.

– Saturated fat content is concerning for heart health and levels should be kept low.

To make the sandwich healthier:

– Opt for leaner meat choices like turkey or roast beef instead of higher fat pepperoni and salami.

– Load up on veggie toppings like spinach, onions, peppers, cucumbers.

– Use mustard instead of mayo-based sauces.

– Choose whole wheat bread over white.

– Cut the sandwich in half or opt for a 6 inch to reduce calories.

– Pair it with healthy side options like apple slices, yogurt, or salad instead of chips and soda.

As an occasional meal, the Spicy Italian can fit into an overall balanced diet. But it shouldn’t be a daily choice due to the high sodium, saturated fat, and processed meat content. Choosing lean meats, extra veggies, and healthy sides helps mitigate the downsides. Portion control is also key to avoiding excess calories, fat, and salt.

Healthier Subway Sandwich Options

If the Spicy Italian isn’t the healthiest choice on the Subway menu, then what are some better options if you are watching your nutrition? Here are some recommended sandwiches for a more balanced meal from Subway:

Veggie Delite

Packed with veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, and onions, the Veggie Delite is low in calories, fat, and sodium. Excellent choice for vegetarians. Going light on the sauces helps further cut sodium. Can add avocado for healthy fats.

Turkey Breast

Turkey is a lean protein and lower in saturated fat than salami or pepperoni. Pair with lots of veggies and mustard instead of mayo.

Roasted Chicken Breast

Another good lean protein option, the roasted chicken can be paired with roasted veggies for more flavor. Skip cheese and sauces to limit sodium.

Chicken & Avocado Salad Sandwich

A lighter, healthier lunch option with grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, spinach and balsamic vinaigrette.

Veggie Hummus Wrap

Hummus provides protein and healthy fat. Combined with cucumbers, spinach, red onions, lettuce and tomatoes, it makes for a nutritious vegetarian wrap.

Choosing non-processed lean meats like turkey and chicken or plant-based proteins like hummus is healthier than deli meats high in saturated fat and sodium like those on the Spicy Italian. Piling on the veggies boosts fiber and nutrients. Controlling sauces and dressings prevents excess sugar and salt. With customization, Subway can provide nutritious sandwich options for an on-the-go meal.

Healthier Side Options at Subway

To make a meal at Subway as healthy as possible, it’s important to choose smart sides and avoid empty calorie soda and chips that many fast food joints offer. Here are some of the better options for sides at Subway:

Fresh Fruit Cup

Choose from fresh apples, grapes, bananas, and other mixed fruit. Provides vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Veggie Snack Pack

Hummus, carrots, celery, and cucumbers make for a protein and produce-packed side.

Green Peas

Peas offer vitamin C, K, and folate along with fiber. A cup also provides over 4 grams of plant based protein.


Subway offers a variety of salads like the Veggie Delite Salad topped with green peas, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. No matter which salad you choose, load up on the veggies.

Yogurt Parfait

Non-fat Greek yogurt layered with strawberries, blueberries, and granola makes for a protein and calcium-rich side.

Apple Slices

Fresh apple slices are portable, providing vitamins A and C along with 3 grams of fiber per medium apple.

Steering clear of fried, high calorie sides like chips and opting for fresh fruits, veggies, salads, and yogurt boosts the nutrition of any Subway meal.

Healthiest Subway Sandwich Orders

Based on all the nutritional considerations around meats, veggies, bread, sauces and sides, here are some of the healthiest possible orders at Subway:

6 inch Turkey Breast on 9-Grain Wheat

Loaded with all the free veggie toppings plus mustard and apple slices on the side.

Veggie Delite Salad

Packed with spinach instead of lettuce plus tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, green peppers and balsamic vinegar.

6 inch Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki

Go light on the sauce and pair with the green pea side and unsweetened ice tea.

Veggie Hummus Wrap

Filled with spinach, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. With apple slices and carrot sticks side.

6 inch Oven Roasted Chicken Breast

Topped with all the veggies and mustard on 9-grain wheat. With a yogurt parfait and unsweetened ice tea.

Choosing lean meats like turkey and chicken in smaller portions along with lots of veggie toppings is key for a healthier Subway meal. Controlling sauces, opting for whole wheat bread, and avoiding fried sides makes the meal more nutritious.

Tips for Eating Healthy at Subway

If you want to enjoy Subway without sacrificing your diet and health goals, here are some useful tips:

– Prioritize lean proteins like turkey, chicken, roast beef and avoid fattier meats like pepperoni.

– Get all the vegetable toppings you can handle to boost fiber and nutrients.

– Choose whole wheat or multigrain bread varieties over white.

– Limit sauces like ranch, mayo and dressings or choose lower fat options like mustard or oil & vinegar.

– Opt for lower calorie sides like apples, salads, yogurt or peas instead of chips and cookies.

– Stick to 6 inch subs or salad bowls instead of footlongs to control portions.

– Avoid soda and sugary drinks in favor of water or unsweetened tea.

– Check out Subway’s Fresh Fit menu for low fat, lower calorie options.

– Customize your order for maximum nutrition over standard menu items.

With smart substitutes and customization, you can enjoy Subway without sacrificing your health goals. Build your sandwich or salad with nutrition in mind.


The Spicy Italian is one of Subway’s most popular subs, with its blend of pepperoni, salami, and ham on fresh baked bread. While it provides some protein and vitamins, the high amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and processed meats are detrimental for health, especially in the larger footlong portion. As an occasional indulgence, a 6 inch Spicy Italian can fit into a healthy diet, but it shouldn’t be a daily habit due to the excess salt, fat, and cancer-linked deli meats.

Choosing lean meats like turkey and chicken, piling on the vegetable toppings, and opting for healthy sides like fruit, salads and yogurt can transform Subway into a nutritious meal option. Taking advantage of Subway’s customization, controlling portions, and avoiding fried sides and sugary drinks allows you to enjoy the convenience without sacrificing your health. The right choices turn Subway from fast food into a fresher option.

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