The 14 Best & Worst Menu Items at Firehouse Subs, According to Dietitians – Eat This, Not That

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Sub fans unite over the Firehouse Subs’ menu and their delicious offerings that range from the classic Turkey sandwich to more intricate subs like the Hook and Ladder or Engineer.

With a firehouse theme, the chain’s over 1,200 locations support not only your appetite but also their Public Safety Foundation, which helps provide critical, lifesaving equipment to first responders to help save lives all over the country. A quick look at their website shows that this foundation, thanks to the dollars spent on delicious, melty subs, has purchased 422 AEDs, 293 sets of bunker gear, and even 12 rescue boats. Pretty cool, huh?

This sub chain does great work for the community, and they also serve up a variety of nutrition like any other restaurant. From fat-filled, sodium-packed melts to heart-healthy leaner meats, Firehouse has it all. Unfortunately, many of their menu subs (so not the build-your-own options) contain a surprising amount of saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar counts. Thanks to imperative labeling mandated by the FDA, however, the choosing process can become somewhat easier.

The thing is, no one really wants to check the menu before heading into Firehouse’s quick line. So, we’ve gone ahead and done the hard work for you (not as hard as the firefighters have, but that’s beside the point). While these subs are hardly considered “health food”, there are some choices that are better for you than others.

We’ve rounded up 14 of the best and worst subs (with both cold, single-meat options, and hot subs) and salads, including some dietitian recommendations so that you can zip in and out easily, with no fire alarm necessary. Read on, then check out The 8 Unhealthiest Fast-Food Subs.

Hot Subs

Best: Engineer

Firehouse Subs EngineerFirehouse Subs Engineer
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,380
Fat: 69.5 g (Saturated fat: 16 g)
Sodium: 3,880 mg
Carbs: 119 g (Fiber: 11 g, Sugar: 17 g)
Protein: 75 g

When it comes to Firehouse Subs’ hot subs, nutrition becomes relative. In our opinion, the “healthiest” hot sub is the Engineer Sub which contains about 500 fewer calories than our unhealthiest pick, nearly half the saturated fat, and even half the sugar (who knew there was so much sugar in a sub sandwich!?). Although this sandwich still contains a whopping 3,880 milligrams of sodium and more saturated fat than the AHA recommends per day, this hot sub is your best bet out of all of them. Opt for water over a soda and perhaps go for the small size to cut down on these nutritional drawbacks. Or share it with a local firefighter!

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Best: Spicy Cajun Chicken

Firehouse Spicy Cajun Chicken SubFirehouse Spicy Cajun Chicken Sub
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,435
Fat: 70 g (Saturated fat: 16.5 g)
Sodium: 4,615 mg
Carbs: 109 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 91 g

The second healthiest hot sub is the Spicy Cajun Chicken which serves up 91 grams of protein with some serious flavor. This sub is (relatively) low in sugar at 10 grams of sugar per medium sub and contains a comparatively similar fat profile to our healthiest option. We do love the addition of veggies like jalapenos, lettuce, and onions. If you’re trying to make this even lighter, ask to go light on the homemade Cajun mayo and maybe even opt for the smaller portion. It’s important to remember that portion control is one of the main factors in weight management.

Best: Hook and Ladder

Firehouse Hook and Ladder SubFirehouse Hook and Ladder Sub
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,575
Fat: 74.5 g (Saturated fat: 18 g)
Sodium: 4,495 mg
Carbs: 134 g (Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 37 g)
Protein: 91 g

The Hook and Ladder Sub is a decent option for a hot sub as it contains lean(er) meats such as smoked turkey breast and honey ham with veggies such as lettuce, tomato, onion, and a crunchy pickle spear. Although this sub still contains quite a lot of sodium, this sub contains much less saturated fat than other options, and you’re receiving a whopping 91 grams of protein which is sure to keep you satiated after your meal. We recommend shying away from the chips and soda and instead drinking lots of water with your sub to level out your sodium levels.

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Worst: Italian

Firehouse Italian SubFirehouse Italian Sub
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,965
Fat: 115.5 g (Saturated fat: 29 g)
Sodium: 5,530 mg
Carbs: 137 g (Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 36 g)
Protein: 87 g

The Italian Sub with white bread and cheese stands out as one of the least healthy choices at Firehouse Subs,” says Alyssa Simpson RDN, CGN, CLT, owner of Nutrition Resolution in Phoenix, AZ. This sub, in just their medium size—not even the large—contains 1,965 calories (nearly all of your 2,000 daily average caloric intake) and a whopping 29 grams of saturated fat. Plus, and this isn’t a typo, 5,530 milligrams of sodium.

This sub “also contains more sugar compared to any other sub, tallying up to 36 grams. Surprisingly, that’s nearly on par with the sugar content found in their brownie, which contains 38 grams of sugar,” says Simpson.

Worst: Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket

firehouse subs smokehouse beef cheddar brisketfirehouse subs smokehouse beef cheddar brisket
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,775
Fat: 1188 g (Saturated fat: 36 g)
Sodium: 3,650 mg
Carbs: 119 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 27 g)
Protein: 62 g

“The Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket Sub is one of the unhealthier choices on Firehouse Subs’ Menu,” says Michelle Rauch MSc, RDN, registered dietitian/nutritionist for The Actors Fund.

This sandwich packs 36 grams of fat, 3,650 milligrams of sodium, and 27 grams of sugar into its medium size. “These values will increase with a larger sandwich or if you make requests to your order such as double meat, extra cheese, bacon, other toppings, or order a side of chips. Consuming a diet high in sodium and fat increases your risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases and conditions.”

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Worst: Sweet and Spicy Meatball

firehouse subs sweet and spicy meatball sub sandwichfirehouse subs sweet and spicy meatball sub sandwich
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,730
Fat: 99 g (Saturated fat: 39 g)
Sodium: 4,700 mg
Carbs: 143 g (Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 32 g)
Protein: 73 g

Another unhealthy hot sub choice is the Sweet and Spicy Meatball Sub which is loaded with 39 grams of saturated fat and a whopping 4,700 milligrams of sodium.

This is a serious red flag (and Firehouse Subs’ website alerts consumers to this health risk) as the American Heart Association recommends the average healthy adult consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day while those with hypertension (high blood pressure) should eat no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. So, whether or not you experience hypertension, this sandwich provides double your daily sodium limit with a small nutritional payoff.

Cold ‘Single Meat’ Subs

Best: Smoked Turkey Breast

firehouse subs turkeyfirehouse subs turkey
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,355
Fat: 69.5 g (Saturated fat: 14 g)
Sodium: 3,485 mg
Carbs: 116 g (Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 17 g)
Protein: 71 g

Firehouse Subs’ Smoked Turkey Breast is our top pick for the healthiest cold sub. With half the saturated fat and sugar of other cold sub options, this sandwich is stacked with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. As with all Firehouse subs, this sub’s sodium count still isn’t the greatest, so consider going light on condiments like mayo. Additionally, remember to forego the chips and drink lots of water. But, this sub offers both lean meat and more than enough protein to help you feel satiated until your next meal.

 8 Healthiest Fast-Food Sandwiches

Best: Grilled Chicken Breast

firehouse subs chicken subfirehouse subs chicken sub
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,475
Fat: 72 g (Saturated fat: 15.5 g)
Sodium: 4,165 mg
Carbs: 112 g (Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 13 g)
Protein: 93 g

Grilled chicken breast is a great option for those looking for leaner meat, and many of the ingredients on this Grilled Chicken Breast sub fall in line with the famed Mediterranean Diet which may help aid in weight management and heart health.

With a lower saturated fat count than most other subs on the menu and a lower sugar count of 13 grams, this sandwich is a refreshing take on a classic. If you want a little kick, you’ll enjoy the spicy mustard, but it’s always important that condiments—especially mayo—can begin to rack up calories and fat before you even know it.

Best: Veggie

Firehouse Veggie SubFirehouse Veggie Sub
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,510
Fat: 93 g (Saturated fat: 26.5 g)
Sodium: 3,705 mg
Carbs: 120 g (Fiber: 10 g, Sugar: 16 g)
Protein: 54 g

It’s perhaps unsurprising that the Veggie Sub makes our top three choices for the healthiest cold subs. This sandwich is loaded with a medley of veggies including caramelized green bell peppers, caramelized onions, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles.

If you want to cut down on your sugar, sodium, and fat counts even further (and if you’re practicing a plant-based diet), ask to leave the three different cheeses off. Additionally, you can build your own sub with fresh veggies that haven’t been caramelized. Either way, you’re still receiving 54 grams of protein without a traditional meat source, which is great for vegetarians.

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Worst: Virginia Honey Ham

firehouse subs hamfirehouse subs ham
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,495
Fat: 74 g (Saturated fat: 16 g)
Sodium: 3,835 mg
Carbs: 140 g (Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 41 g)
Protein: 74 g

Although many nutritionals in this Virginia Honey Ham sub are comparable to other unhealthy options, you’ll notice a significant outlier: a whopping 41 grams of sugar. When looking at the ingredients of this sandwich, most of these added sugars probably aren’t coming from the bread but, instead, the “honey” ham. Although delicious, the way this meat is basted is filled with sugar, and as the FDA promotes no more than 20 grams of added sugar per day, this is over double the recommended amount. Too much added sugar on a consistent basis can lead to some serious health risks including high blood sugar and Type-2 diabetes.

Worst: Pastrami

Firehouse Pastami SubsFirehouse Pastami Subs
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,435
Fat: 75 g (Saturated fat: 18 g)
Sodium: 4,705 mg
Carbs: 112 g (Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 17 g)
Protein: 78 g

Although the Pastrami Sub has slightly fewer calories and saturated fat than the “healthier” veggie sub, there’s an obvious lack of vegetables on this sandwich and a very high sodium count of 4,705 milligrams. This is over double the recommended daily sodium count, and this sub also contains 17 grams of sugar, most likely a combination of the bread and the pastrami roasting method. This sub doesn’t offer much in the way of nutrition, so we recommend shying away from this choice and opting for a healthier, more veggie-loaded option.

Worst: Roast Beef

Firehouse Roast Beef SubFirehouse Roast Beef Sub
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per medium sub):
Calories: 1,475
Fat: 73 g (Saturated fat: 16 g)
Sodium: 3,845 mg
Carbs: 108 g (Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 13 g)
Protein: 42 g

Although beef is a great source of nutrients such as iron, which is imperative to staving off iron deficiency which can lead to a slew of nasty side effects, this isn’t the healthiest cut of red meat and is filled with 73 grams of fat, 16 grams of which are saturated. This is over the AHA’s recommendation of 13 grams of saturated fat, and it’s important to remember that limiting your saturated fat intake may reduce your risk of chronic illness like cardiovascular disease. This sub does pump you full of protein, but when it comes to other nutrients such as vitamins, this sub is certainly lacking.


Best: Firehouse Salad with Smoked Turkey (with Oil and Vinegar)

Firehouse Salad with Smoked TurkeyFirehouse Salad with Smoked Turkey
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per salad):
Calories: 220
Fat: 7 g (Saturated fat: 3.5 g)
Sodium: 1,020 mg
Carbs: 15 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 29 g

“If you’re looking for the most nutrient-packed, balanced meal option, I suggest the Firehouse Salad with Smoked Turkey, dressed with olive oil and vinegar,” says Julia Perlman MS, RD, CDN; Co-Founder of JAM Nutrition. “This salad is rich in dietary fiber from the lettuce, tomato, green bell peppers, and cucumbers, which can help you feel satisfied with fewer calories. Turkey breast offers lean protein compared to ham and provolone, which can be higher in saturated fat. Opting for olive oil and vinegar provides beneficial unsaturated fats compared to some of the higher calorie, fat, and sugar options offered.”

Worst: Italian with Grilled Chicken Salad

Firehouse Subs Italian with Grilled Chicken SaladFirehouse Subs Italian with Grilled Chicken Salad
Firehouse Subs

Nutrition (Per salad):
Calories: 870
Fat: 41.5 g (Saturated fat: 17 g)
Sodium: 3,640 mg
Carbs: 19 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 100 g

Unsurprisingly, the Italian Salad—the counterpart of the Italian Sub—is, by far, the unhealthiest salad. With 17 grams of saturated fat and 3,640 milligrams of sodium, it’s a wonder that we can still call this a salad at all.

Although grilled chicken is a lean meat, this salad still also contains Genoa salami which is a much fattier, saltier cut of pork than leaner, healthier options. So, don’t go into Firehouse Subs thinking you’re ordering a healthy dish just because “salad” is in the name. It’s important to remember that ingredients are what really count.

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