The Best & Worst Menu Items at Firehouse Subs

This sub shop goes through 10 million pounds of turkey in a year, but is the signature sub worth ordering? We asked an RD about what to get and what to leave behind.
firehouse subs storefront

There are 1,170 Firehouse Subs locations across 46 states, and it's no wonder: the sub shop is a favorite among lunch lovers and sandwich fans alike. Although the first menu item was the Dalmation Dog, they now specialize in hearty sandwiches and traditional sides. We spoke to Lara Metz, a registered dietitian, about what the healthiest and unhealthiest items on the Firehouse Subs menu are, so you know what to eat and what to skip.

Specialty Subs

Best: Spicy Cajun Chicken (small)

firehouse subs spicy cajun chicken
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

360 calories, 18 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 1370 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 23 g protein

"This sub has fewer calories compared to other subs and 23 grams of protein to keep you fueled and satisfied longer," Metz says. There are ways of making it even better of a choice, though. "The sodium is high, but can be reduced by eliminating or reducing the cheese and Cajun seasoning."

Best: Engineer (small)

firehouse subs engineer
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

350 calories, 18 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 1150 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 19 g protein

This option is also low in calories and is made up of vegetables, swiss cheese, and turkey. Want to lower the saturated fat and sodium? "Swap [in] avocado [instead of] mayo to boost the fiber and unsaturated heart-healthy fat," Metz says.

Worst: Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket (large)

firehouse subs smokehouse beef cheddar brisket
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

1510 calories, 102 g fat (33 g saturated fat), 2980 mg sodium, 95 g carbs (3 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 55 g protein

With the most calories on the menu, the Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket has 33 grams of saturated fat, which is 16 percent of your daily value. It's also high in sugar at 22 grams, Metz says.

Worst: Italian Sandwich (large)

firehouse subs italian sandwich
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

1450 calories, 81 g fat (21 g saturated fat), 4050 mg sodium, 116 g carbs (7 g fiber, 33 g sugar), 69 g protein

Although this sandwich has slightly fewer calories than the Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket, "the sodium level is off the charts at 4,050 milligrams," Metz says.

Also, take note of the 33 grams of sugar coming from things like corn syrup in the Italian salad dressing. "This sandwich does provide 7 grams of fiber," Metz says. "But the number of calories, fat, sodium and sugar outweighs the 7 grams of fiber."

Single Meat + Cold Subs

Best: Turkey (small)

firehouse subs turkey
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

340 calories, 17 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 1120 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 18 g protein

Choose this small option for fewer calories but a good portion of healthy and filling protein. "Replace the white bread with the whole wheat bread to increase the fiber," says Metz.

Worst: Ham (large)

firehouse subs ham
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

1170 calories, 57 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 2910 mg sodium, 112 g carbs (6 g fiber, 31 g sugar), 56 g protein

The smoked honey ham in this option accounts for a large amount of sugar. "This sandwich may have fewer calories than some of the other larger sandwiches, but it has 13 grams of saturated fat," Metz says.

RELATED: These are the easy, at-home recipes that help you lose weight.

Chopped Salad

Best: Chopped Salad With No Meat

firehouse subs chopped salad
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

130 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (5 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 10 g protein

"While this may not be the most exciting choice, you know that you are eating primarily plant-based food sources, with some protein and fat coming from the cheese," says Metz. Pairing it with a meat sandwich still offers you a lower sodium side.

Worst: Italian Chopped Salad With Chicken

firehouse subs italian chopped salad with chicken
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

410 calories, 22 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 1580 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (5 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 39 g protein

Sure, grilled chicken sounds healthy here, but be wary. "In actuality, this salad is laden with processed ingredients: hydrogenated vegetable oils, dextrose, corn syrup solids, and sodium nitrate, to name a few," says Metz. Plus, it is loaded with sodium and saturated fat, which both accounting for about half of your daily value.

Soups

Best: Chili (10 oz)

firehouse subs chili
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

300 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 850 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (5 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 18 g protein

"While this soup is still higher in calories than some of the others…the majority of the ingredients are real, whole foods, like beef, beans, tomatoes, and onions," says Metz, who claims this lower-sodium option would be your best choice.

Worst: Loaded Potato Soup (10 oz)

firehouse subs loaded potato soup
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

380 calories, 29 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 1,390 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 9 g protein

Watch out for the added ingredients in this soup. "Laden with cream and cheese, along with artificial coloring, margarine, soybean oil, and other additives," Metz says. "It contains 13 grams of saturated fat or 65 percent of your daily value." It also has 1,390 milligrams of sodium or 58 percent of your daily value. To compare, a Big Mac contains 1,007 milligrams of sodium.

Sides

Best: Pickle

firehouse subs pickles
Dash R..Yelp

5 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein

You really can't go wrong with munching on a pickle as your side, Metz says. Plus, there is no added sugar or fat and it gives the meal a twist of flavor.

Worst: Brownie

firehouse subs brownie
Courtesy of Firehouse Subs

430 calories, 20 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 61 g carbs (1 g fiber, 38 g sugar), 4 g protein

"The brownie is the worst option, adding too many extra calories and sugar to the meal," Metz says. Its 38 grams of sugar is the same as eating almost four Original Glazed donuts from Krispy Kreme.

Chips

Best: Oven-Baked Lays Original

firehouse subs oven baked lays


130 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein

With only 150 milligrams of sodium and 2 grams of fat, these chips won't do too much damage compared to others, Metz says. Overall, they still give a satisfying crunch to a sandwich meal.

Worst: Crunchy Cheetos

Small bag of Cheetos

310 calories, 21 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 500 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 3 g protein

These chips have 32 percent of your daily value of fat and 21 percent of your daily value of sodium. A simple bag of Cheetos makes eating 310 calories way too easy. If you're trying to keep your order slim, you may want to stay away from these.

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda McDonald is a health and food writer and a certified yoga instructor. Read more
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