Diet Detective’s Guide to Calorie Bargains at Sandwich Shops and Coffeehouses

by Charles Platkin, PhD


  • 6-inch Veggie Delite Sandwich: 230 calories; 2.5 g fat; 45 g carbs; 9 g protein.
  • 6-inch Turkey Breast Sandwich: 280 calories; 3.6 g fat; 48 g carbs; 18 g protein.
  • Minestrone Soup (10 ounces): 90 calories; 1 g fat; 17 g carbs; 4 g protein.
  • Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup (10 ounces): 80 calories; 2 g fat; 12 g carbs; 6 g protein.

Fit Tip: Subway has made it a priority to offer lower-calorie foods — and it shows. Most of the 6-inch subs are good in terms of calories (230- 380). Many of the flatbread sandwiches are also in a good range. Order your sandwich without mayo or other special sauces. Opt for mustard or red wine vinaigrette instead. All the salads are pretty low in calories if you stick with the fat-free Italian dressing (35 calories). If you’re really hungry you can go for the Footlong Turkey Breast Sandwich, which is 570 calories, or the Veggie Delite at 460 calories.


  • 6-inch Chicken Teriyaki, no cheese: 363 calories; 3 g fat; 52 g carbs; 30 g protein.
  • 6-inch Club, no cheese or sauce: 350 calories; 27 g fat; 9 g carbs; 18 g protein.
  • 6-inch Veggie & Provolone, no sauce: 190 calories; 27 g fat; 9 g carbs; 18 g protein.
  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, no dressing: 190 calories; 8 g fat; 6 g carbs; 25 g protein.
  • Garden Vegetable Soup (8.6 ounces): 80 calories; 1 g fat; 14 g carbs; 5 g protein.
  • Minestrone: (8.6 ounces): 90 calories; 3 g fat; 14 g carbs; 4 g protein.

Fit Tip: If you want potato salad, go with the mustard version rather than the regular to save 110 calories. Blimpie is not too bad. They break down their nutritional information very carefully. They offer fat-free Italian dressing for only 25 calories (1.5 ounces), a light Italian for 20 calories and a light buttermilk ranch for 70 calories. Three low-calorie dressings — pretty good. As far as the salads go, the Antipasto is 250 calories, and the Buffalo Chicken Salad is 220 calories. Watch the “Make it a Combo” deals though — the soda (280 calories), chips (120 calories or more) and cookie (200-300 calories) will cost you dearly. Also avoid the Macaroni Salad at 330 calories and the regular (not mustard) potato salad at 230 calories. The 12-inch subs are typically more than 1,000 calories — more than a half day’s calories for most of you. So instead of the 12-inch, do the 6-inch and have a cup of low-calorie soup with your sandwich. But keep in mind that not all soups are created equal. The Chicken with White and Wild Rice is 250 calories for a cup, as is the Cream of Broccoli with Cheese.

Panera Bread

  • Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with White Whole Grain Bread: 400 calories; 14 g fat; 55 g carbs; 9 g fiber; 15 g protein.
  • Asian Sesame Chicken Hand-Tossed Salad: 400 calories; 20 g fat; 29 g carbs; 3 g fiber; 29 g protein.
  • Low Fat Garden Vegetable with Pesto Soup (12 ounces): 160 calories; 3.5 g fat; 28 g carbs; 6 g fiber; 5 g protein.
  • Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup (12 ounces): 170 calories; 4 g fat; 29 g carbs; 5 g fiber; 10 g protein.

Fit Tip: Skip the Crispy Wontons in the Asian Sesame Chicken salad and save 120 calories. Try the Sierra Turkey Sandwich on White Whole Grain Bread; it’s only 320 calories if you skip the chipotle mayonnaise. The low-calorie dressings are still reasonably high in calories — the lowest is the Light Buttermilk Ranch at 80 calories (1.5 ounces). The Reduced Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette is 130 calories (1.5 ounces). And watch out for the Ciabatta bread — it’s 460 calories for just the bread. The paninis are all high in calories, from 720 to 860.


  • Honey Bourbon Chicken (regular size, without dressing): 440 calories; 7 g fat; 59 g carbs; 28 g protein.
  • Turkey Club Bullet (without dressing): 305 calories; 9.5 g fat; 37 g carbs; 17 g protein.
  • Cantina Chicken Sammie: 265 calories; 6 g fat; 35 g carbs; 12 g protein.

Fit Tip: Avoid the salads. Other than the Pan Asian Regular Chopped Salad, which is 430 calories, they are all from 700 to more than 900 calories. And watch out for the Tuna Melt, which has 1,740 calories in a large sub. Quiznos has marked certain foods with a “500,” which means that they are under 500 calories. The only problem is that many of them are a “small” sandwich. So just make sure you’re eating enough and don’t wind up overeating later in the day. Many of the Sammies are low in calories because they’re made on flatbread, which is thinner — and well — flat. In most of the subs and sandwiches it’s the dressings that seem to be very high in calories. Either skip the dressing or use the fat-free balsamic vinaigrette.

Dunkin’ Donuts

  • Chicken Caesar Salad: 440 calories; 33 g fat; 11 g carbs; 25 g protein.
  • Egg White Veggie Flatbread: 290 calories; 9 g fat; 39 g carbs; 11 g protein.
  • Egg White Turkey Sausage Flatbread: 280 calories; 6 g fat; 37 g carbs; 19 g protein.
  • Egg White & Cheese on English Muffin: 270 calories: 5 g fat; 34 g carbs; 16 g protein.
  • Flavored Hot and Iced Coffees: 20 calories; 0 g fat; 4 g carbs; 1 g protein.

Fit Tip: Just because it has the word “Donut” in its name, don’t rule it out as a place to grab a quick bite. Try to order the egg white sandwiches without cheese. Also, if you do go inside, make sure you can leave without ordering a few doughnuts for the road (or anywhere). Chicken Noodle Soup is only 130 calories for 8 ounces. Avoid the “Cravings Sandwiches,” which are very high in calories, as are many of the coffee drinks. Stick to the 20-calorie flavored coffees and iced coffees — those are great.


  • Black Forest Ham, Egg and Cheddar Sandwich: 370 calories; 16 g fat; 32 g carbs; 23 g protein.
  • Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon with Egg Whites on English Muffin: 340 calories; 10 g fat; 47 g carbs; 22 g protein.
  • Roma Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich: 380 calories; 18 g fat; 40 g carbs; 16 g protein.
  • Iced Coffee with Milk made “skinny” with one serving of sugar-free sweetener and a splash (say 2 ounces) of nonfat milk: 25 calories; 0 g fat; 3g carbs; 2 g protein.
  • Tazo Shaken Iced Passion Tea made “skinny” with one serving of sugar-free sweetener: 0 calories; 0 g fat; 0 g sugar; 0 g protein.

Fit Tip: Finally, Starbucks gets the message that high-quality, low-calorie foods sell. They’re doing a good job, too; especially with that egg white sandwich. Starbucks also offers a Picnic Pasta Salad with a red wine vinaigrette dressing for 320 calories. There’s also a tasty Deluxe Fruit Blend for 90 calories. The Perfect Oatmeal (available all day) is only 140 calories with 4 grams of fiber — and very tasty. Just avoid the added sugar topping and the dried fruit. The Greek Yogurt Honey Parfait is 290 calories and also good. Almost all the baked goods (muffins, coffee cakes, Danish, etc.) are high in calories. Oh, and in case you didn’t already know, almost all the Frappuccinos and other fancy drinks are not healthy choices. However, Starbucks did just introduce a “However-You-Want-It Frappuccino” in an effort to encourage lighter drinking. Order the Skinny Frappuccino Blended Beverage made with nonfat milk and sweetened with Stevia — 12 ounces is 100 calories. Also, keep in mind, Starbucks makes good plain coffee; get that with skim milk.

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