You know how the pessimist looks for flaws everywhere while the optimist enjoys the possibilities?
Ordering a keto meal at Subway is just like that: it depends on your point of view.
The pessimist would get upset because most sandwiches at Subway pack 30 to 60 g of carbs, which is unacceptable for the keto diet.
The optimist, on the other hand, would say that Subway is the PERFECT place to get a mouth-watering and keto-friendly salad.
Here’s the thing: you can order ANY Subway sandwich as a salad, cutting 50-80% of the carbs in the original meal. Most Subway salads have under 15 g of carbs, allowing you to enjoy a delicious meal without risking your ketosis.
Before that, however, you’ll have to go through a quick session of boring math.
Get your calculator ready, and let’s roll.
Step 1: Calculate your BMR
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is an estimate of the number of kilocalories you’ll burn throughout the day if sleep through it and do nothing at all. You can calculate your BMR using an online calculator or do it the old-school way with the Harris-Benedict equation:
BMR = 66 + (13.75 * weight in kg) + (5 * height in cm) - (6.8 * age in years)
Imperial:BMR = 66 + (6.2 * weight in pounds) + (12.7 * height in inches) - (6.8 * age in years)
Metric:BMR (kcal) = 655.1 + (9.563 * weight in kg) + (1.850 * height in cm) - (4.676 * age in years)
Imperial:BMR (kcal) = 655.1 + (4.35 * weight in pounds) + (4.7 * height in inches) - (4.7 * age in years)
For example, let’s say we have to help our friend Jake calculate his BMR. Jake is 26 years old, his height is 183 cm, and he weight 90 kg. In that case, his BMR would equal:
BMR = 66 + (13.75 * 90) + (5 * 183) - (6.8 * 26) = 66 + 1238 + 915 - 177 = 2042 kilocalories per day
Step 2: Adjust your BMR for physical exercise
Your BMR reflects the minimum of calories you’d likely burn on any given day, but any kind of physical activity will increase this number. For a more accurate estimate, you’ll have to measure your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
- If you lead a sedentary lifestyle with little to no exercise (1-2 times per week), multiply your BMR by 1.38
- If you have a physically demanding job or engage in exercise/sports 3-5 times per week, multiply your BMR by 1.55- If you engage in heavy physical work, exercise, or sports 6-7 times per week, multiply your BMR by 1.72
- If you are EXTREMELY active and engage in VERY heavy physical work or training EVERY single day, multiply your BMR by 1.9
For example, let’s say our man Jake is really lazy and rarely engages in physical activity. According to the short list above, we’ll have to multiply his BMR by 1.38 to find his TDEE:
2042 * 1.38 = 2818 kilocalories per day
Step 3: Find your daily carb limit
On the keto diet, it’s recommended to get no more than 5% of your daily calories from carbs if you want a steady and effective ketosis. Fast food or not, stick to that limit.
To calculate your allowed daily amount of calories from carbs, multiply your TDEE by 0.05. To convert that number into actual grams of carbohydrate, divide it by 4, as that’s the number of kilocalories your body gets from burning 1 g of carbs.
For example, in Jake’s case, his maximum amount of calories from carbs would equal:
2818 * 0.05 = 141 kilocalories
141 / 4 = 35 g of carbohydrate per day
Step 4: Find your ”fast-food-friendly” daily carb limit
Chances are, avocados are the perfect fruits to eat on the keto diet since they pack about 15 g of healthy fat in each 100 g.
Now, imagine that you’ve calculated your daily carb limit, and then went on to eat all of them at Subway (or any other place, for that matter). With a light heart and a clear conscience, you go home and go on with your daily stuff. In the evening, you decide to snack a few slices of avocado and…
You’re out of ketosis. (Probably.)
Avocados still have about 9 g of carbs in each 100 g.
In other words, if you want to really be safe when snacking at a fast-food restaurant, we’d recommend you no more than 80% of your daily allowed carbs there, leaving the remaining 20% for other meals throughout the day.
To calculate your fast-food-friendly carb limit, multiply your daily carb limit by 0.8.
For example, in Jake case, it would be:
35 * 0.8 = 28 g
Step 5: Pick, order, and enjoy your meals!
Of course, even knowing your daily carb limit, you’ll have to check the official nutrition information of the fast-food restaurant you want to visit. Then, you’ll know exactly what to order without going out of ketosis!
Here’s a quick link to the US Subway nutrition facts.
Let’s see how many meals we can find to fit Jake’s carb limit!
All carb contents are mentioned per serving, according to the US Subway nutrition facts.
Remember that you can order any Subway sandwich as a salad, and most of them are fabulous for the keto diet!
The only option we DON’T recommend ordering is the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, and the problem isn’t even that it has 32 g of carbs.
The Japanese Teriyaki cooking technique involves using quite a bit of sugar. Even if you can fit such a meal into your daily carb limit, chances are the sudden spike in blood glucose could drive you out of ketosis. That said, all other Subway salads are good to go!
Rotisserie-Style Chicken - 11 g of carbs
Tuna - 11 g
Veggie Delite - 11g
Turkey Breast - 12 g
Black Forest Ham - 12 g
Oven Roasted Chicken - 12 g
Roast Beef - 12 g
Subway Club - 12 g
Cold Cut Combo - 13 g
Italian BMT - 13 g
Spicy Italian - 13 g
Chicken & Bacon Ranch - 15 g
Steak & Cheese - 15 g
American Club - 23 g
Steak Club Salad - 23 g
Meatball Marinara - 25 g
Southwest Chipotle Chicken Club - 27 g
Yep. Even though salads are the best way to enjoy Subway on keto, there are a few sandwiches you could still order without risking too much.
Ham & Jack - 17 g
Little Turkey - 17 g
Italian Spice - 18 g
Little Cheesesteak - 19 g
Just keep in mind these meals aren’t really filling, so we recommend choosing something more nutritious instead.
Feeling a bit extra? Thinking about asking for a few extra ingredients for your sandwich or salad? We got you covered, here’s their carb content!
Any cheese - 0 g (except for the American, which has 1 g)
Bacon - 1 g
Pepperoni - 1 g
Guacamole - 3 g
All sauces - either 0 or 1 g (except for Honey Mustard (4 g) and Sweet Onion Sauce (8 g), stay away from them due to their sugar content)
Veggies - all either 0 or 1 g
Although the official Subway website doesn’t have detailed nutrition facts about their drinks, picking a keto-friendly beverage is really easy: just stay away from the sweetened stuff!
Sweet tea? Nope. Unsweetened tea? Go for it!
Coke? Never! Diet Coke? Good to go!
Plain coffee? Usual water? Zero carbs, just perfect.
Meal combination examples:
Steak & Cheese salad with two extra servings of bacon + diet coke - 17 gMeatball Marinara salad with extra cheese + water - 25 g
Subway is one of the best fast-food restaurants to visit on the keto diet, as all of their sandwiches can be ordered as salads. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite Subway meal AND stay in ketosis at the same time. Talk about killing two birds with a single stone!