After a week of the Subway diet, I know more about the sandwich chain than most — and certainly more than I want to know.
Given falling sales, Subway has been trying to win over consumers with new menu items and all-natural adjustments like removing artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives from its US menu. Looking at Subway’s sales slump, I wondered if Fogle’s diet plan holds up over time — or is it obsolete given the evolution of Americans’ dietary preferences?
In a quest to find out, I decided to try one of the most (in)famous diet plans of the 21st century: the Subway diet.
In the process I picked up a few key tips to up your sandwich game. Here are five ways to improve your Subway experience every time.
1. Order carved turkey
Subway has been updating its menu to add more premium and authentic meat choices, with new options including carved turkey breast meat, applewood smoked bacon, and rotisserie-style chicken.
Chief among these (in my mind) is the carved turkey — a solid protein, with none of the slimy lunch meat quality of some inferior options. If you’re craving turkey at Subway, get the carved option. It’s worth the extra 25 cents.
2. Don’t forget banana peppers
By the end of my week on the Subway diet, most toppings had lost their taste, with bread, meat, and vegetables blended together in a forgettable deluge of Subway foodstuff. The one thing that remained: banana peppers.
The tangy peppers were able to cut through, adding needed flavour to any sandwich. In all honesty, the banana peppers were the best part of almost every Subway sandwich I ate. Since quitting the Subway diet, they’re the only thing I have even slightly craved.
3. Don’t be an idiot — get the dressing
When complaining about how flavourless my sandwiches had been, I mentioned to a friend that, in attempt to follow the Subway diet, I had forgone dressings. She looked at me aghast.
“No wonder the sandwiches don’t taste like anything,” she said. “You need to add dressing.”
If you’re on a diet, dressings are often an obvious deal breaker — adding mayonnaise, ranch, or Chipotle Southwest sauce adds at least 100 calories. Usually it adds more, depending on how generous your local Subway employee is on that particular day. Even low-calories options, like fat-free Italian Dressing, can be dangerous, with 720 grams of sodium in a single serving.
Ultimately, my new favourite dressing is the sweet onion, a fat-free and low sodium choice. The dressing can be overly sweet when applied too aggressively, but, like banana peppers, offers a welcome burst of flavour to your sandwich.
4. Toast the sandwich
The warmth and the slight crispiness offers an automatic upgrade.
One caveat: do not toast your sandwich if you’re not going to eat it fresh, a mistake I made more than once. A cold piece of toast is somehow inferior to a simple sub.
5. Don’t go on the Subway diet
While eating basically nothing but Subway for a week taught me a lot about the sandwich chain, it also left me slightly scarred. Walking down a New York City street, the familiar and peculiar smell of baking Subway bread will hit my nostrils, triggering immediate flashbacks.
Subway emphatically does not recommend that people go on the Subway diet — and I agree.
If you want to try out new items at the chain, like carved turkey, or fulfil your craving for old favourites, like banana peppers, I highly recommend behaving like a normal person, and just getting a single sandwich. Subway can be a healthy lunch option — as long as it’s not your only option.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.