Subway Wraps - A Fast & Tasty Way to Healthier Eating
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
We take a lot of things for granted when we eat at restaurants and generally assume that the food we eat is nourishing, satisfying, as well as safe. That's a lot of assumptions to make, especially on an island with such a diverse ethnic blend of cuisines, methods of preparation, and long-lived habits. The truth about eating is that it's all about the choices we make. It's very personal, and in many cases startling. Were you aware that the Centers for Disease Control has proclaimed obesity as the number one health concern in the U.S.? Our children are being subjected to ailments related to obesity, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, cancer, and circulatory/respiratory diseases. A stunning statistic is that 15% (that's 9 million!) of children aged 6 to 19 are considered overweight, with more at risk of becoming so. I've said it once and I'll say it again, proper healthy eating habits start at home and kids should be educated, both at home and at school about nutrition. The emotional impact of being obese on young people can affect their self-esteem and well-being. What do we do? What can we do?
Well, one easy choice is to go to Subway, where you can eat fresh-made food and get an education about nutrition. We know about the low-carb movement and what's known as the Atkins Diet plan. I'm not on the plan, but I do understand that I can benefit by controlling my carbohydrate intake. The Atkins-Friendly Wrap offered by Subway is an ideal way to reduce carbs and get a good source of protein (assuming you're not a vegetarian). There are two Atkins-Friendly Wraps, the Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap ($4.99 - 8 net carbs) and the Turkey Bacon Melt Wrap ($4.49 - 11 net carbs). We stopped by Subway (actually it took 2 trips, one to Tumon and the other to Barrigada) to try these new wraps we'd heard so much about. They must be popular since Tumon was sold out. The wrap which holds all of the goodies is made with soy flour, wheat flour, and sesame flour.
We asked for the standard formulation to get the advertised nutritional value of each offering: The Chicken Bacon Ranch has 480 Calories, 240 from fat, whereas the Turkey & Bacon Melt has 430 Calories, 230 from fat. Both have good fat values for the Atkins plan, with 40 grams of protein for the chicken and 32 grams for the turkey, as well a good fiber count of 11 & 12 grams respectively. The fiber reduces the carb values, so you end up with "Net carbs". The sodium levels are up there though, at 1340 for the chicken and 1650 for the turkey. The sodium can be reduced if you have to watch your sodium intake by limiting cheese, bacon, salt and olives. We wanted the full benefit of the flavor of these two wraps and I have to admit they were REALLY good-tasting and adequate for a meal. Both wraps are made with bell peppers, red onions, olives, and cheese, with the chicken getting some Ranch dressing and the turkey getting the savory Chipotle Southwest Sauce. They are micro-waved to melt the cheese and heat the meats, as well as seal the wrap. The consistency and chewiness of the wrap is appealing to me, and I could easily eat this particular wrap with anything. Our diets have conditioned us to eating more volume, so these wraps appear (they are) small. I'm not advocating this plan, but low-carb dieters will appreciate the benefit the wraps offer. For 50 cents more, you can reduce your carbs on any 6" Regular Sub by converting it into a wrap. On my next go around on these wraps I'm going to add some more veggies to my ingredient mix.
Nutrition and health are very broad and deep topics, and I'm not purporting to be an expert by any standard. However, I have to commend Subway's management for really taking these issues to heart and providing what I consider to be one of the industry's best Nutritional and Dietary Guides. There are tips and pointers for how to adjust the sandwiches, salads,and wraps to meet your specific dietary goals and requirements. Eating food is only one component to a healthier lifestyle. Proper exercise is also important, as are other lifestyle choices we make, such as alcohol and tobacco consumption.
Subway's low-fat sandwiches (6 grams of fat or less) were standard fare for me when I was doing the Body For Life Program - a 6" Turkey Breast & Ham had 290 calories, 20 grams of Protein, and 5 grams of fat! The fresh baked wheat bread was my constant choice and I never had mayo nor cheese. As tempting as they are, I avoid their cookies and brownies, although it's nice to know they offer Fruit Roll-ups Fruit Snacks for kids (featured in their Kids' Pack that has Minute Maid Juice and a Deli Style Sandwich).
I've not had Subway's breakfast (yes, some units do serve breakfast the one in Tumon and the one in Mangilao near UOG). They have a Cheese & Egg Sandwich for $1.49, Ham & Egg for $1.99, and Steak & Egg for $2.49, as well as a few others, serving them until 11am.
We all have to be aware of the importance of proper eating habits as well as about the nutritional values of the food we eat. If you live long enough, you'll certainly become aware of how our food choices and lifestyle choices impact our lifestyle and well-being. I am thankful that one restaurant chain has made so much progress to educate its customers and tailor its menu choices to suit nearly every one's taste and diet preferences. When travelling the long and winding road of the world's dining choices, it's nice to know you can always take the "Subway", and try their wraps as a tasty way to healthier eating!