The Best & Worst Menu Items at Togo's
Since 1971, the southern California-based Togo's Sandwiches has been serving up hot, toasty (or cold, if you prefer) sandwiches, plus salads and wraps for its hungry customers. With an array of menu items, including pretzel sandwiches and hot chicken, it is easy to find something delicious to enjoy here and even customize your selections. Luckily, this sandwich joint makes it pretty easy to find healthier options among the processed meats, deli cheeses, and extra dressings. You just have to know what to look for.
We spoke with Mascha Davis MPH, RDN, private practice registered dietitian nutritionist, founder of Nomadista Nutrition and author of the newly released book Eat Your Vitamins to guide us through the menu to find the healthiest items and those sandwiches (and even salads) that are best reserved as special indulgences.
Here is a breakdown of the best and worst Togo's menu items.
Best: Albacore Tuna
Seafood is often a great option, and Davis says it can help you meet the recommended two servings of seafood per week. The regular-sized sub does have more sodium than is recommended, but Davis found it to have a great amount of protein.
Worst: Salami & Provolone
Anytime you put together a lot of cheese and processed meat on thick bread, you can be sure it isn't good for your health. The sodium is well above recommended levels, and Davis says, "Excess sodium is linked to hypertension and increased risk of developing heart disease."
Hot Pretzels & Hot Chicken
Best: Mini Chicken & Cheddar
The mini chicken and cheddar sandwich offers a decent portion size that is lower in saturated fat and sodium than many of the other menu items. Davis also likes that this grilled chicken is a good source of lean protein.
Worst: Large Buffalo Chicken
The large sandwiches at Togo's are served in pretty massive portions, much more suited to eating half and saving the other half for later or splitting it with a friend. The excess in sodium and saturated fat in just this one meal "is guaranteed to leave you feeling heavy," Davis says.
Best: Turkey & Cranberry
Like grilled chicken, turkey is another great source of lean protein. This turkey and cranberry sandwich offers the delicious flavors of Thanksgiving year-round, and as Davis says, "This sandwich is high in fiber, which is associated with better health outcomes."
In fact, fiber will keep your bowel movements regular, lower LDL cholesterol levels, and help control your blood sugar levels.
Worst: Turkey, Salami & Cheddar
Although the turkey offers a good source of lean protein, this sandwich is packed with sodium and saturated fat. Davis warns that the amount of cholesterol in this meal is also half of what is recommended per day; it is almost the same amount of cholesterol you'd find in 14 deep-fried mozzarella sticks. No thanks!
Pastrami & Roast Beef
Best: Mini Roast Beef
"If you want to go for a roast beef sandwich, aim for the mini size," Davis says. It is lower in calories, fat, and sodium, and "it is still a great source of protein and will leave you feeling satisfied."
Worst: Large Triple Dip
A sandwich stacked high with processed meats is clearly not optimal for health, and this is even truer when the portion is super-sized.
"This sandwich exceeds the recommendations for cholesterol and sodium by far," Davis says. "It also has 1,810 calories in one serving—enough food for a whole day for some people. With 149 grams of protein, it is also way more than most people need."
In fact, most people need about 50-60 grams of protein daily, and this sandwich blows that out of the water. Too much protein can increase the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as lead to high cholesterol and kidney disease or kidney stones.
Best: Mini Cali Veggie
A veggie sandwich can be a healthier option thanks to all of the vitamins and minerals that fresh produce provides. Davis likes the mini-sized Cali veggie sandwich best because it is "a good option loaded with fiber and plant-based protein." Its low levels of sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat also lead Davis to rank it as a heart-healthy meal.
Worst: Large Cheese
This "veggie" sandwich is heavy on the cheese and seriously skimping on what makes the veggie options so appealing: the veggies. If you are looking for a healthy option, this isn't it.
"From all the veggie sandwiches, it has the lowest fiber content and is high in sodium," Davis says. "Opt for a veggie sandwich that is loaded with vegetables to get the full benefit of a meatless meal."
Best: Farmers Market Wrap
In addition to its popular sandwiches, Togo's offers plenty of wraps that are equally as tasty. The farmer's market wrap is a solid choice if you want a nutritional meal thanks to its plentiful fresh veggies.
"This wrap is a great source of fiber and plant-based protein," Davis says. "With little saturated fat and sugar, it is a decent way to get some nutrients in and feel energized." Davis recommends skipping the dressing to reduce the amount of saturated fat in this meal, though.
Worst: Bacon Ranch Chicken Wrap
Although wraps tend to be lauded as healthy meal options, the bacon ranch chicken wrap has a lot of saturated fat and sodium, and Davis points out that the fiber is seriously lacking.
Best: Chicken Caesar
With a full-sized Caesar salad, you can enjoy a healthy meal that is loaded with lean protein and quite filling.
"Get the dressing on the side and use less of it to make this salad even healthier," Davis says.
Worst: Asian Chicken
Toppings are the fastest way to take a salad from healthy to not, and the Asian chicken salad is piled high with wonton strips, seasoned chicken, and a sugar-laden dressing. This salad actually has the same amount of sugar you'll find in two Krispy Kreme donuts!