Why Subway is Better than McDonald’s

January 27, 2015   42 Comments

I have been thinking a lot about fast food and how we consume it.

Subway versus McDonalds

The number of venues for inhaling a quick burger, burrito, sandwich, or serving of French fries amazes me sometimes as I drive around my small town. How many of these places do we need?

Subway is the clear winner where I live for most spots to grab a sandwich and I have been thinking hard about why it outnumbers McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King COMBINED. Why do they keep sprouting up like weeds?

It is all in the customization. You can get exactly what you want or need from Subway versus the other venues. Yes, I know you can “have it your way” at Burger King but watching the sandwich made in front of you changes things.

Do I want whole wheat? Yes! Do you want me to core out the bread? Okay! Do I want cheese? No, thank you. Do I want extra mayo? Heck, no.

Do I want as many vegetables as you can fit on my sandwich? Yes, I do.

A 6-inch Veggie Delite is a mere 230 calories - 4 Points+ - which is very low for fast food.

If you stop by for breakfast, you can get an egg sandwich and add tomatoes, green pepper, spinach, onions, etc. to it. The Egg McMuffin doesn’t wear any vegetables at all. It seems almost naked in comparison.

Why, oh why Egg McMuffin do you not wear any vegetables?

The downsides of Subway are many. For example, you may show up with the intention of getting the “Veggie Delite” only to be swayed by a massive pulled pork sandwich with Fritos on it.

In addition, there are the ubiquitous LARGE sodas, cookies, and bags of chips.

When you go to McDonald’s, you can choose a salad but do you? The salads at McD’s comprise only 6% of sales. I think people get there and take one look at a Big Mac with fries and shelve their salad ordering intention.

Honestly, McDonald’s gives me a stomach-ache (not kidding) so I have been saved many times by Subway when I am on the road.

What do you like about Subway? Do you choose it over McDonald’s?

Photo Credit: Dwight Burdette

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 42 )

I really like Subway- the veggie delite, the pizzas you can add your own veggie choices to, and the breakfast sandwiches - I love all the veggies. I worked at McDonald's during high school and college- before the nutrition information was available. I gained sixty pounds over four years! There are some things I will not eat now that I know what is in them!

Dangit, now I want Subway. Thanks, Snack Girl! :)

I love that you can just point at what you want and so when I travel all over the world and end up in a country where I do not speak the language I am thrilled to find Subway!

When I was in Seoul Korea 10 years ago I could not read menus and did not know what anything was and when I saw Subway I almost jumped for joy!

I frequently get salads and my favorited 6" sandwich is Grilled Chicken on 9 grain wheat bread with lots of veggies and hot sauce....delicious!

I do love Subway. I DO get as many vegetables as possible. They sometimes have trouble closing it! As for McDonald's, their salads are pretty good- just have to watch the salad dressing portions- but that's anywhere you get a salad. When going into fast food places or just eating out in general, I have a mantra- Nothing tastes as good as being thinner feels! That helps me!

When I go to subway I have never been asked "Do you want me to core out the bread?" I did not even think of this let alone know it was an option. Thanks!!!

Just a question! I won some pistachios before Christmas! Haven't gotten them yet. Just checking- not begging! LOL

I live in Canada -- and used to eat at Subway all the time -- but my new found love is Pita Pit. I just looked it up and they have lots of stores in the US, and lots of other countries too. But what I love is, like subway I can have whatever I want on the pita (i heard that they're introducing a gluten free pita soon, but I have my pitas "fork style" which means they load up whatever ingredients I would have on my pita and put it into a bowl! I LOVE THIS PLACE!! and they grill their meats and whatever ingredients you want . . . it's awesome -- way better in my opinion than Subway :) No comment at all about McD's -- when I started to have kids I steered clear as much as possible. They're all in university now and are Pita Pit regulars :)

Just a word of caution: the sodium is pretty high in restaurant fare, including Subway. A 6" Veggie Delite has 520 mg. When I teach label reading in diabetes education classes, the rule of thumb is to limit sodium to 600 mg per meal, 200 mg per snack, for a total max of 2400 mg daily. Ideally 1500 mg is the limit for those over 50 and folks with diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc., but many people find it difficult to achieve this. Hint: it is possible by choosing mostly fresh and minimally processed foods.

@Lynn - I will ask the pistachio people why you haven't gotten them. Sorry about that!

While I agree that Subway may be better than other fast food establishments because of the reasons you mentioned SG, I am always wary of the many over-processed ingredients in restaurant food--most especially fast food. Ever since Subway's "yoga mat" incident, I haven't eaten there at all. Subway says that they took this ingredient out of their bread, but it makes me wonder about the other ingredients they use, especially in the meat. I figure if I am trying to cut out over-processed food at home, that I should when I eat out as well.

Yoga Mat??? What story is that? haven't heard of it.annie

I have to dis agree - I do like subway sparingly and agree with some of the obvious choices , however I feel McD's has many healthy choices . The egg white delight 250 calories is far more appetizing to me than the cold frozen egg subway has to microwave, lunch I love their southwest salad and I bring a few add ins with me like my favorite dressing , olives, banana peppers etc

Side salad 20 calories
Southwest around 300
Throw in a parfet 100

Or bag apples or an orange it's only like 20 cal more

Sometimes a burger w/o bread

With extra lettuce and veg added (no problem)

For me - mcds has great options and don't rule them out!!!!

Snack Girl, any thoughts on subway's new ingredients? I hear they've redone their chicken?

I love Subway and I love your new book. Thanks for your work. I look forward to your emails.

Never knew about coring the bread! Thanks so much - one of my big compaints with them has been it is just too much bread for all the vegies!

I would opt for non-fast food. Subway is just the lesser of the two evils. Sodium content is off the charts.I would question their quality of their ingredients. Sodas and poor quality chips on top of it all...

All this food talk, geez! I would like it if it were drive up with a glass window for sandwich making. I only have 1/2 an hour lunch.

The last time I ate at Subway (literally and figuratively), the girl behind the counter wiped the knife on her (obviously not clean) apron before she cut my sandwich. After I closed my gaping mouth, I did give her a little food safety education. I don't encourage my family to eat at other fast food places either, but we do occasionally. Since it occurs rarely for us, we choose foods that are cooked before they are served, and foods that can encounter minimal cross-contamination. Just something else to think about....

I like Wendys because the small chili is only 4PP. Sometimes I get a plain potato and put my chili on it.

This with unsweetened tea are good choices.

Subway is about the only fast food place I frequent. My go-to order is their "Double Chicken Chopped Salad". They have either fat-free ranch or Italian dressing in packets behind the counter. So skip the cheese, crutons and use a little of the dressing and you have a pretty healthy meal.

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