I’ve gone to Subway twice in the past week to get lunch. This is a rarity for me, as I avoid eating out, even if it’s to the so called “healthy” Subway. Yes, personal trainers sometimes have to face the reality of life inconveniences and eat out every now and then.
But the truth is Subway’s slogan, “Eat Fresh”, is very deceiving. Let’s call it what it is. Subway is another Fast Food joint. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s consider their “Eat Fresh” approach.
It is “fresh” in the sense that they prepare your sandwich, or whatever it is you order, right before your eyes. In reality, that is as “fresh” as it gets. The meats are processed and full of preservatives such as nitrites, and their whole wheat breads are questionable. If I order a regular 6-inch sandwich on whole wheat I’m definitely guaranteed a sugar crash in less than 2 hours. Ok, so maybe not everyone has such a violent reaction to processed carbohydrates, but the truth is that many that don’t think they do store many of these calories as fat…. And then wildly chase after a sweet mid afternoon snack. So I know, we trainers tell you should eat every 3 to 4 hours. Got it. But you shouldn’t feel out of control hungry or shaky, as I do. If you do, that only tells you there was something wrong with your last meal.
As any reasonably minded person, I understand that sometimes you have to eat out. To be fair, Subway is not the worst of your possible choices. However, it’s all about your choices in any particular restaurant. As I stand in line at the Subway line, I see how many people, if not most, make the unhealthiest decisions. Many of them probably think they’re making the right choice by just going to Subway. Meatball sub, Spicy Italian with extra salt and pepper, etc.? This is the kind of behavior I observe. The Meatball Sub is about the worst choice you can make at Subway… and the Spicy Italian? With all the extra salty salami and pepperoni? Why add salt?!
When faced with making the healthiest decisions given the choices, I usually pick a 6-inch, Subway Club, which has Turkey, Ham, and Roast Beef. With a little cheese and plenty of veggies (pick the spinach over the lettuce) and double meat, I stay within healthier proportions of carbohydrates, protein and fat. In fact, I add half of pack of canola/olive oil that they now offer to add some healthy fats to my sandwich. What do I get in return? A more satisfying sub that provides me enough protein to keep my workout muscles growing, enough fat to make the sub taste better and tell my brain “I’m full”, and enough carbs to keep me going. All that without the crash 2 hours later!
The moral of the story. Eating out is usually never the best choice. But when you must, don’t listen to the hype (as in the Biggest Loser and their huge sponsorship by Subway), and do your research. Don’t choose blindly from anyone’s menu. Your meal will only be as good as the effort you put into making the right choices.
Vanessa Ocasio, owner/personal trainer
Fitness Together of Auburn