Are Subway Kids Meals Healthy?

Subway sandwich shop
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Subway, the restaurant chain founded in 1965, has long prided itself on being a healthy alternative to burgers and fries. With the launch of its Fresh Fit Meals for Kids menu in 2007, the company further staked its claim as the industry leader in providing low-fat, nutrient-dense meals that meet the federal government's dietary standards.

Subway Fresh Fit Meals for Kids contain no more than 600 calories, have zero grams (g) trans fat, less than 10% of calories from saturated fat, and contain less than 935 milligrams (mg) of sodium

Subway Kids' Meal Offerings

Subway's Fresh Fit Meals for Kids menu comprises four ready-to-go meals, which pair a 4-inch Subway sandwich with an applesauce pouch and either an organic juice box or low-fat milk box. As an added treat, each meal comes with a toy from the likes of Disney and Sega Games. 

Nutritionally speaking, each of the four meals easily meets the standards set by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued every five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

  • Added sugars: Less than 10% of calories per day starting at age 2. Avoid foods and beverages with added sugars for those younger than age 2.
  • Saturated fat: Less than 10% of calories per day starting at age 2.
  • Sodium: Less than 2,300 milligrams per day—and even less for children younger than age 14. 

Where Subway falls short, surprisingly, is in the availability of published nutritional information, both online and at their stores. This forces parents to calculate each menu item's nutritional information.

Here is how the four Subway kids' meals stack up when opting for calcium-rich milk over the juice box.

Meal Item Calories Ttl fat Sat fat Sodium Sugar
Black Forest Ham Sandwich 200 3g 0.7g 543mg 4g
  Applesauce 60 0g 0g 0mg 8g
  Milk 160 2.5g 1.5g 130mg 14g
  Total 420 5.5g 2.2g 673mg 26g
Roast Beef Sandwich 215 3.35g 1g 448mg 4g
  Applesauce 60 0g 0g 0mg 8g
  Milk 160 2.5g 1.5g 130mg 14g
  Total 435 5.85g 2.5g 578mg 26g
Turkey Breast Sandwich 188 2.35g 0.7g 509mg 4g
  Applesauce 60 0g 0g 0mg 8g
  Milk 160 2.5g 1.5g 130mg 14g
  Total 408 4.85g 2.2g 639mg 26 g
Veggie Delite Sandwich 154 1.7g 0.3g 187mg 4g
  Applesauce 60 0g 0g 0mg 8g
  Milk 160 2.5g 1.5g 130mg 14g
  Total 374 4.2g 1.8g 317mg 26g

The Verdict

Insofar as the numbers go, Subway's Fresh Fit for Kids meals more than live up to their promise of providing kids the nutrition they need without the added fats and sodium that contribute to childhood obesity and high blood pressure later in life.

However, it is questionable whether the portions are ample enough to satisfy bigger kids. The problem with this is that it can lead to an 11-year-old in need of more calories—up to 2,000 calories per day for active girls and 2,200 calories per day for active boys—to grab a bag of chips or a chocolate chip cookie to pair with their kids' meal, undermining many of the nutritional goals.

If a preteen were to order a 6-inch sub instead, they and their parents would need to know that not all Subway sandwiches are created equal. Some, like the Spicy Italian or the Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt, deliver upwards of 9 grams of saturated fat and as much as 1,550 milligrams of sodium per serving.

If your child is older and needs more food, order the kids' meal and add a serving of chicken tortilla soup (110 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, and 660 milligrams of sodium). This can make the meal more filling while staying well within the range of calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium recommended by the USDA.

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  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Ninth Edition. December 2020.