What to Eat at Firehouse Subs: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Firehouse Subs

Verywell / Christian Alzate

One of the popular subway sandwich franchises, you can find Firehouse Subs all over the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada. This fast, casual chain allows patrons to either choose their own sandwich toppings, protein, and bread type, or order a specialty subway sandwich with preplanned toppings. Certain locations also offer salads, wraps, and soups, and you can decide to pair your main meal with sides, such as potato chips or macaroni and cheese.

Firehouse Subs offers certain menu items with healthy, low-calorie foods from which to choose, and you can maintain complete control over your order—allowing this restaurant to please a number of discerning palates and diets. But you shouldn't eat here too often to keep your sodium intake down.

What Experts Say

Firehouse Subs is all about comfort foods, with offerings like specialty subs and macaroni and cheese. Unless you are eating a salad here (which still contains too much sodium), you want to make this an infrequent stop. Or become more conscious of your choices by reducing your portion sizes and sticking to lean proteins like grilled chicken and roast turkey or the veggie sub.

—Barbie Cervoni, RD, CDE

Navigating the Menu

Firehouse Subs is a subway sandwich establishment that allows you to choose your own protein, toppings, and type of bread. You can also order specialty sandwiches with predetermined toppings that come either warm or cold, as well as hearty soups and flavorful salads.

What to Order & Avoid at Firehouse Subs
 Most Nutritious Options Least Nutritious Options
Engineer – Small Wheat (Hot Specialty Subs) Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket – Large White (Hot Specialty Subs)
Virginia Ham – Small Wheat (Local Specials) Jamaican Jerk Turkey - Large White (Local Specials)
Smoked Turkey Breast - Small Wheat (Build Your Own Sub) Tuna Salad - Large White (Build Your Own Sub)
Firehouse Chopped Salad, No Meat (Salads)  Italian Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken Salad (Salads)
Chicken Noodle Soup (Soups & Chili) Chili (Soups & Chili)
Kid's Turkey Sub White (Kids) Kid's Grilled Cheese (Kids)
Lay's Oven Baked (Extras) Ladder Fries with Bacon and Cheese (Extras)

Most Nutritious Option

Unlike a number of fast casual restaurants, you can find a number of healthy options on the Firehouse Subs menu, and the engineer hot specialty sub on small wheat is the most nutritious option based on its nutritional profile.

Hot Specialty Subs

You can order a hot specialty subway sandwich with predetermined toppings. These include sandwiches such as a meatball with hot marinara sauce, the Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket, and Italian with Italian seasonings and meats.

✓ Engineer – Small Wheat

The small Engineer sandwich on wheat contains 350 calories, 18g fat, 4g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrates, 19g protein, and 1,150mg sodium. This has the healthiest protein on the menu (the turkey breast), as well as sautéed mushrooms and vegetables. If you ask for no Swiss cheese, you can cut the fat by 8g.

✗ Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket – Large White

The large smokehouse beef and cheddar brisket sandwich on white has 1,500 calories, 102g fat, 33g saturated fat, 97g carbohydrates, 55g protein, and 3,200mg sodium. This is almost the total calories you should eat in a day. If you are craving this sandwich, order the small and switch to wheat bread, or split it in two and save half for later.

Local Specials

Rather than build-your-own subs with toppings and proteins, you can order cold specialty sandwiches with preplanned add-ons.

✓ Virginia Ham – Small Wheat

The small Virginia honey ham on wheat with vegetables contains 380 calories, 19g fat, 4g saturated fat, 36g carbohydrates, 19g protein, and 1,150mg sodium. You can customize this order if you'd like, but the calorie count will increase with extra liquid condiments and cheese toppings.

✗ Jamaican Jerk Turkey - Large White

The large Jamaican jerk turkey on white has 1,140 calories, 55g fat, 13g saturated fat, 111g carbohydrates, 62g protein, and 3,080mg sodium. You should split this sandwich up into several servings rather than eat this all for one meal. Even switching the bread to wheat can lessen the sodium count by 300mg.

Build Your Own Sub

The Firehouse Subs menu is also entirely customizable and you can build your own sub with any of the available meat, cheese, vegetable, and topping options. For the carb-enthusiasts, building your own sandwich with loads of low-calorie vegetables on wheat bread (lower in sodium than white bread) is the healthiest sandwich.

To create the healthiest sandwich, you should consider ordering the following toppings on your sub:

  • Spicy mustard for the liquid condiment (0 calories)
  • Iceberg lettuce (15 calories)
  • Cherry pepper ring (10 calories)
  • Onions (20 calories)
  • Pickles (5 calories)
  • Tomatoes (15 calories)
  • Mushrooms (5 calories)

For additional toppings, the turkey breast contains 150 calories per serving and cheese slices range from 100 to 110 calories for a medium sandwich.

✓ Smoked Turkey Breast - Small Wheat

The smoked turkey breast sandwich on a small wheat roll will contain 340 calories, 17g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrates, 18g protein, and 1,120mg sodium. Add your favorite vegetable toppings for flavor and minimal additional calories.

✗ Tuna Salad - Large White

Meanwhile, the tuna salad sandwich on large white bread delivers 1,540 calories, 97g fat, 18g saturated fat, 103g carbohydrates, 71g protein, and 3,030mg sodium. Drop down to a small tuna salad sandwich to save nearly 1,000 calories and 2,000mg sodium.

Salads

Firehouse Subs offers three salads on their menu: the popular Firehouse Salad with pepperoncini, the Italian Grilled Chicken Salad with salami, and the Hook and Ladder Salad with smoked turkey breast and ham.

✓ Firehouse Salad

You can customize the Firehouse salad by choosing a protein of smoked turkey, grilled chicken, or Virginia ham. The vegetarian option has 130 calories, 6g fat, 3g saturated fat, 11g carbohydrates, 10g protein, and 650mg sodium.

✗ Italian Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken Salad

With the fat from the salami, the Italian Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken Salad has 380 calories, 21g fat, 9g saturated fat, 14g carbohydrates, 32g protein, and 1,580mg sodium. Although high in sodium, even this option is still fairly healthy and low in carbs. Alternatively, the Firehouse salad with grilled chicken (which eliminates the salami from the Italian chopped salad) has 380 calories, 10g fat, 4g saturated fat, 14g carbohydrates, 57g protein, and 1,690mg sodium.

Soup and Chili

As a complement to your sub, you can create a heartier meal by adding on a side of soup or chili at certain locations. Especially with a cold sub, a warm side can balance your palate.

✓ Chicken Noodle Soup

A 10-ounce chicken noodle soup has 120 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrates, 8g protein, and 1,030mg sodium. Vegetarian options include the broccoli and cheese soup.

✗ Firehouse Chili

The 10-ounce Firehouse chili has 300 calories, 15g fat, 6g saturated fat, 22g carbohydrates, 18g protein, and 850mg sodium. You might want to order a small cheese or a kid's grilled cheese sandwich to dip in the chili and augment the taste of both and create a hearty, warm meal.

Kids' Menu

You can order most subway sandwich options in a kid's size, such as a ham, meatball, and turkey sub. The kid's menu also includes a grilled cheese sandwich.

✓ Kid's Turkey Sub Wheat

The kid's turkey sub on wheat has 220 calories, 6g fat, 2g saturated fat, 24g carbohydrates, 17g protein, and 720mg sodium. Children can also customize this sandwich to their liking, adding whatever vegetables and liquid condiments they prefer.

✗ Kid's Grilled Cheese

The kid's grilled cheese has 440 calories, 27g fat, 9g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrates, 12g protein, and 720mg sodium. Although still relatively low in calories, if you pair this with chips or another side, you could consume more than 600 calories for one meal.

Extras

As is standard with subway franchises, you can order sides to make a more complete meal. Popular items include potato chips and beverages.

✓ Lay's Oven Baked Chips

The Lay's Oven Baked Chips have 130 calories, 2g fat, 0g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrates, 2g protein, and 150mg sodium. If you want regular Lays, it will add on 100 calories.

✗ Five Cheese Mac & Cheese

Certain locations offer the five cheese mac & cheese, which contain 510 calories, 22g fat, 10g saturated fat, 59g carbohydrates, 19g protein, and 1,550mg sodium. If you're craving a warm side dish to your sandwich, look toward the small loaded potato soup, which brings 240 calories, 18g fat, 8g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrates, 5g protein, and 870mg sodium.

Diet-Specific Options

A popular fast casual franchise throughout three countries, Firehouse Subs offers patrons gluten-free, low-fat, low-sodium, and vegetarian options but does not have items that fit low-carb, low-FODMAP, diabetes-friendly, or vegan diets.

Gluten-Free

  • Chopped Hook & Ladder Salad
  • Firehouse Chopped Salad
  • Italian Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Broccoli and Cheese Soup
  • Chili

Create a gluten-free meal with the Chopped Hook & Ladder salad with a side of the broccoli and cheddar soup.

Low-Fat

  • Firehouse Chopped Side Salad
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Chicken & Dumpling Soup
  • Oven Baked Lay's Regular
  • Kid's Turkey Sub

Sticking to the extras menu you to choose a vegetable and soup option without the high-fat cheese, heavy protein (such as salami, bacon, brisket, and meatballs), and calorie-laden dressings.

For a low-fat meal, try the Firehouse chopped side salad, which contains only 3g fat.

Low-Sodium

  • Firehouse Salad
  • Veggie Sub on Wheat
  • Small Tuna Sub on Wheat
  • Kid's Turkey Sub on Wheat

The heavier proteins, such as meatballs and salami, will have a higher sodium content. To keep your meal low in sodium, the veggie subs are your healthiest option.

Vegetarian

  • Build-your-own Veggie Sub
  • Lay's Potato Chips
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Firehouse Salad without Meat
  • Kid's Grilled Cheese Sandwich

With control over your sub, you can skip any protein and stick with vegetables. For a full meal, choose the veggie sub with a side of Lay's potato chips.

Food Allergies and Safety

For those with food allergies, Firehouse Subs provides menu items free of gluten, tree nuts, soy, and dairy. However, you should eat with caution as the establishment can have cross-contamination of foods. All sandwiches are prepared on the same counter, and preparers might not switch latex gloves, allowing allergens to carry between sandwich preparations.

To ensure your safety against allergens, the following can help:

  • Use the website. The Firehouse Subs has a valuable interactive allergen menu on their website. You simply select the allergens you wish to avoid out of 14 choices. The site then displays items you can safely eat.
  • Build your own sub and skip the specialty sub offerings. This way you have complete control over the toppings.
  • Ask questions of the staff. They can let you know the ingredients in the bread and wraps in case you have a wheat or nut allergy.

A Word From Verywell

You can eat at Firehouse Subs and easily stick to a healthy diet. You can control your toppings, the amount of protein, carbs, and dairy with each order. Plus, with the handy interactive nutrition and allergen menu, you know what you are consuming and can stay away from any food allergens. Enjoying your favorite subs is easy when you're able to fully customize the protein, toppings, and nutritional content of your meal.

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