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

Firehouse Subs

Verywell / Christian Alzate

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 sub sandwich with preplanned toppings. Certain locations also offer salads, wraps, and soups, and you can pair your main meal with a side, such as potato chips or macaroni and cheese.

Firehouse Subs offers some nutritious, low-calorie foods, and you can maintain complete control over your order—allowing this restaurant to please a number of discerning palates and diets. But most menu options are relatively high in sodium.

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, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN

Navigating the Menu

Firehouse Subs is a sub 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

You can find a number of nutritious options on the Firehouse Subs menu. The small Engineer hot specialty sub on wheat is a top pick, based on its nutritional profile. Firehouse Subs also has a searchable nutrition menu and nutrition facts calculator on its website.

Hot Specialty Subs

Hot specialty sub sandwiches at Firehouse Subs include a meatball sub with hot marinara sauce, the Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket sub, and an Italian sub 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 or mayo, you can cut the fat.

✗ 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 3,020mg sodium. For some people, this may be nearly the total number of calories you should eat in a day, and it's double the amount of sodium recommended by the American Heart Association.

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 370 calories, 18g fat, 4g saturated fat, 36g carbohydrates, 19g protein, and 1,080mg 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. Consider splitting this sandwich up into two or more servings rather than eating it all for one meal. 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. Building your own sandwich with loads of nutrient-dense vegetables on wheat bread (lower in sodium than white bread) is the healthiest sandwich. Lowest-calorie options include:

  • Spicy mustard (0 calories)
  • Pickles (5 calories)
  • Mushrooms (5 calories)
  • Cherry pepper rings (10 calories)
  • Iceberg lettuce (15 calories)
  • Tomatoes (15 calories)
  • Onions (20 calories)

For fillings, the turkey breast provides 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 provides 340 calories, 17g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 31g carbohydrates, 18g protein, and 1,110mg sodium. Add your favorite vegetable toppings for flavor, fiber, and minimal additional calories.

✗ Tuna Salad - Large White

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. Choosing a small tuna salad sandwich saves over 1,000 calories and nearly 2,000mg sodium.

Salads

Firehouse Subs offers three salads on their menu: the popular Firehouse Salad with pepperoncini, the Italian With 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 260 calories, 19g fat, 5g saturated fat, 12g carbohydrates, 10g protein, and 1,240mg sodium.

✗ Italian With Grilled Chicken Salad

With the fat from the salami, the chopped Italian With Grilled Chicken Salad has 410 calories, 22g fat, 9g saturated fat, 14g carbohydrates, 39g protein, and 1,580mg sodium. Although high in sodium, this option is still fairly nutritious 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 sub 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 Firehouse Subs sandwich options, such as ham, meatball, and turkey, in a kid's size. The kids' menu also includes a grilled cheese sandwich.

✓ Kids' Turkey Sub Wheat

The kids' turkey sub on wheat has 340 calories, 8g fat, 2g saturated fat, 48g carbohydrates, 22g protein, and 940mg sodium. Children can also customize this sandwich to their liking, adding whatever vegetables and condiments they prefer.

✗ Kids' Grilled Cheese

The kids' 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 sandwich shops, 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. Opting for regular Lays will add 100 calories.

✗ Five Cheese Mac & Cheese

Certain locations offer the five cheese mac & cheese, which provides 380 calories, 20g fat, 10g saturated fat, 33g carbohydrates, 17g protein, and 1,400mg sodium. If you're craving a warm side dish to your sandwich, consider a small serving of loaded potato soup, which brings 240 calories, 18g fat, 8g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrates, 5g protein, and 870mg sodium.

Diet-Specific Options

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

Create a gluten-free meal with the Chopped Hook and Ladder salad plus a side of broccoli and cheddar soup. You can also make your own sub using the gluten-free ciabatta roll, a selection of meats and cheeses, and toppings including black olives, cucumber, or tomato. However, cross-contamination is possible, so speak with the staff before you order.

  • Chopped Hook and Ladder Salad
  • Firehouse Chopped Salad
  • Italian With Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Broccoli and Cheese Soup
  • Chili
  • Coleslaw

Low-Fat

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

  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Small turkey, chicken breast, ham, hero, or Engineer sub with no mayo
  • Chopped Hook and Ladder Salad
  • Firehouse Chopped Salads with Turkey, Grilled Chicken, or Ham
  • Oven Baked Lay's Regular
  • Kid's Turkey Sub

Vegetarian

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.

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

Food Allergies and Safety

Firehouse Subs provides menu items free of gluten, tree nuts, soy, and dairy. However, you should eat with caution as the establishment cannot rule out 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. If you have food allergies or sensitivities:

  • Use the website. Firehouse Subs has an 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. The staff can let you know the ingredients in the bread and wraps in case you have a wheat or nut allergy.

A Word From Verywell

With so much customization on offer at Firehouse Subs, you can control your toppings and the amount of protein, carbs, and dairy in your 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.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Heart Association. Shaking the salt habit to lower high blood pressure.

By Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed
Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, is a certified personal trainer, freelance writer, and author of "Growth Mindset for Athletes, Coaches and Trainers."