When you’re looking for a quick, tasty sandwich, Potbelly is a go-to option. With locations across the country, Potbelly offers subs, salads, shakes and more. But is it possible to find healthy options when dining there? Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts to determine what the healthiest choices are at Potbelly.
Sandwiches make up the bulk of Potbelly’s menu. Ranging from classics like turkey and ham to chicken salad and roast beef, the subs clock in between 400-700 calories typically. The sandwiches are loaded with veggies like lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers and more. The multigrain wheat bread offers a solid serving of fiber too. While the sandwiches do contain a good amount of protein from the meats and cheese, they’re often high in sodium. The ovens used to toast the subs also add a lot of saturated fat. So while tasty, the sandwiches aren’t the healthiest choice at Potbelly due to the high sodium and saturated fat content.
If you’re looking for a lighter option, the salads at Potbelly are a great alternative to the heaping sandwiches. Options like the Chicken Fresca and Uptown Salad provide plenty of veggies combined with lean protein like chicken or tuna. The base of leafy greens adds important vitamins and minerals. And you can get the salads without croutons or cheese to cut down on carbs, saturated fat and sodium. The light balsamic, oil and vinegar dressings are generally low calorie as well. Opting for a salad without creamy dressings or fried toppings is your best bet for keeping things healthy at Potbelly.
Another lighter option is the Pick-Your-Pair menu at Potbelly. This allows you to choose a half sandwich with either a salad or soup. Going this route allows you to get a taste of the signature subs but in a smaller portion. You also get nutrients from the salad or broth-based soup on the side. Some lower calorie soup choices are the chicken noodle, veggie or minestrone that pack a veggie punch. And selecting a salad like the Apple Walnut or Cobb instead of fries can help balance the meal. The smaller sub and nutritious side makes Pick-Your-Pair one of the more diet-friendly offerings at Potbelly.
Smoothies and Shakes
To satisfy your sweet tooth without overdoing it on calories or sugar, the smoothies and shakes at Potbelly are a good option. The chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes are made with real ice cream but do stay under 500 calories. If you want something lighter, the fruit smoothies made with sherbet and real fruit are delicious. Flavors like strawberry banana, mango and peach provide vitamin C and potassium. Avoid adding sugary mix-ins or toppings to keep the nutritional value high. Overall the smoothies and shakes make for a nice treat without derailing your diet when chosen wisely.
For a heartier but still healthy choice, Potbelly’s oatmeal hits the mark. The classic oats, raisins, brown sugar and whole milk provide fiber and protein to fill you up. Choosing milk over cream limits saturated fat. And the oatmeal contains potassium, iron and B vitamins for energy. The reasonable calorie count of around 300 makes a bowl of oatmeal one of the top healthier picks at Potbelly for breakfast or anytime.
Snacks and Sides
When it comes to Potbelly’s snacks, sides and add-ons, there are some better options than others for your waistline. The apple slices with caramel provide a sweet treat under 200 calories. The broccoli cheddar and garden veggie soups also make nutritious choices. And snacking on a pickle instead of chips can save you calories and fat. On the other end, the chili and baked potato soup are higher in saturated fat and sodium. The chocolate chip cookie and brownie contain lots of sugar and minimal nutrition. So beware of unhealthy add-ons and stick to nutritious sides to balance your meal.
Tips for Ordering
Here are some tips for ordering the healthiest meal options when dining at Potbelly:
- Opt for a salad with light dressing instead of a sandwich
- Choose multigrain bread for more fiber
- Load up on veggie toppings like lettuce, tomato, onion and peppers
- Pick broth-based soups like minestrone or veggie over cream-based options
- Order a smoothie made with fruit and sherbet instead of a shake
- Stay away from fried side dishes like fries in favor of apple slices
- Skip sugary cookies and desserts
- Ask for sauces and dressings on the side to control portion size
- Sub in mustard, vinegar or oil for creamy dressings high in fat and calories
- Choose grilled chicken breast over deli meats higher in sodium
Healthiest Menu Items
Taking all nutrition information into account, here are some of the top healthiest menu options at Potbelly:
- Chicken Fresca Salad
- Uptown Salad
- Turkey Sandwich on multigrain bread
- Tuna Salad Sandwich on multigrain
- Pick-Your-Pair with salad and lean meat sandwich
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Garden Vegetable Soup
- Fruit Smoothies
- Apple Slices
Unhealthiest Menu Items
On the other end of the spectrum, here are some menu items at Potbelly that are the unhealthiest options:
- Sandwiches made with fatty meats like roast beef or salami
- Fried items like chicken tenders or fries
- Loaded shakes and smoothies with lots of sugary toppings
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Creamy soups like broccoli cheddar and baked potato
- Buttered croissants
- Cheese-laden sandwiches
To get an idea of the calorie count and nutrients in some popular Potbelly menu items, here is a nutritional comparison:
|Menu Item||Calories||Total Fat||Carbs||Protein|
|Turkey Sandwich with multigrain bread||480||13g||57g||32g|
|Chicken Salad Sandwich with multigrain bread||530||17g||55g||33g|
|Roast Beef Sandwich||670||32g||57g||32g|
|Chicken Fresca Salad with balsamic vinaigrette||260||7g||21g||27g|
|Chicken Noodle Soup||120||2.5g||16g||9g|
When dining at Potbelly, there are plenty of healthy options available. Choosing salads with lean protein and light dressings are your best bet. Opting for soups like veggie, chicken noodle or minestrone can also keep your meal nutritious. Smoothies with real fruit and sherbet provide vitamin C without too much sugar. And snacks like apple slices and oatmeal make for filling, diet-friendly choices. Limit saturated fat, sodium and carbs by avoiding fried foods, creamy soups, deli meats and sugary cookies. With some careful choices based on the nutrition facts, you can enjoy Potbelly without derailing your healthy eating goals.