Is Firehouse Subs A Healthy Place To Eat?

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Is Firehouse Subs considered healthy? Normally when someone hears about a sub sandwich, healthy is one of the images that comes to mind. Because sub sandwiches are often mixed and packed with vegetables, this could be why.

However, the motto of Firehouse Subs is short and far from the focus of anything related to health. “Let’s Eat!” is what the firemen say according to the founders Robin and Chris Sorensen. Their focus elaborated even further into a mission of finding the best tasting meats and ingredients for their hungry customers.

From history, it should be known that when taste and healthy eating clash, one is going to win, not both most of the time. One is often sacrificed for the other.

Satisfying the appetite of eaters with the best experiences and quality choices is Firehouse’s main goal, not healthy eating.

Are Firehouse’s Subs Healthy?

If their goal from the beginning up until now isn’t healthy eating, are their subs still healthy?

Their subs come with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and onions for over half of their main sandwiches. These are the typical veggies found on subs. Tomatoes provide great nutrients, onions are decent, but iceberg lettuce provides very little.

They do have other toppings for vegetables available, but aren’t included on their main choices unless requested.

Their subs also revolve heavily around sauces and other condiments to flavor their subs. The subs that do include mayo, are smothered with it on both sides of the bun. It is encouraged by their staff that mayo is spread from one end of the bun to the other (fully covered).

9 out of 10 of their top 10 subs on the menu include mayo. Mayo is high in calories and has a lot of fats.

The Turkey Bacon Ranch for instance, has mayo, and it is smothered in ranch for flavor, which is what makes this otherwise dull sandwich so tasty. When the ranch is placed on the sub, seasoned hosts cover the meat and cheese on the sub completely from end to end with ranch.

This is the way that the hosts are taught is the correct way to make the sandwich. Starting from one end with sauce, they make a squiggly line across to the other end until it is completely covered.

Their Brisket is done the same way when the BBQ sauce is added to it. If you saw the way they did it, you would think you’re having a BBQ sandwich with brisket added. Not trying to make it look bad, just keeping it truthful.

What Is Their Healthiest Subs?

Their healthiest subs is their chicken, turkey, and veggie sandwiches. These are all options available from their build your own sub menu. A medium chicken sandwich contained 660 calories with everything included, the turkey had 680, and the veggie 710.

Without mayonnaise and cheese, these subs dropped significantly in both calories and fats. The chicken had 380 calories with 70 grams of fat, the turkey had 370 with 40 grams of fat, and the veggie contained 420 with 140 grams of fat.

The mayo and cheese contributed to a large amount of the calories and fats for all of Firehouse Sub’s sandwiches. Any of their subs can become a lot healthier without these additions.

Of their main subs on the menu, the Hook & Ladder and the Engineer were the healthiest subs to choose from. The Engineer had 680 calories, while the Hook & Ladder sat at 690. Without the mayo and cheese, the Hook & Ladder had 400 calories and 50 grams of fat, while the Engineer had 380 calories with 50 grams of fat.

Both these are for the medium sizes.

How Many Calories Are In A Large Firehouse Sub?

The calories for a large Firehouse Sub can vary, but will range from as little as 1030 calories (the turkey sub), to 1730 calories (the tuna sandwich) without any alterations.

Here is a list of all their main sandwiches from the menu with the calories for the large subs:

  1. Hook and Ladder – 1150
  2. Meatball – 1290
  3. New York Steamer – 1160
  4. Italian – 1400
  5. Turkey Bacon Ranch 1360
  6. Club on a Sub – 1270
  7. Steak & Cheese – 1280
  8. Engineer – 1110
  9. Hero – 1160
  10. Brisket – 1500

Sandwiches To Avoid At Firehouse Subs

If you are on a diet, or just want to eat healthier at Firehouse Subs, then the sub sandwiches to avoid are the Tuna, Italian, Brisket, and Turkey Bacon Ranch. These sandwiches have the highest calories, with the tuna sitting just under 1800 calories for a large size.

Yes, they are some of their tastiest choices, but they pack the most in calories and fats.

Around 50% (some a little more or less) of the calories in all their sandwiches are made up of fats. Getting the high calorie subs mentioned will only increase that amount.

Getting them without mayo cheese and sauce can reduce this significantly.

How Firehouse Subs Cooks Their Meats

Firehouse Subs heats their meats by steaming it. This is done to release the flavors in the meat and cheese. All of their meats are pre-cooked, it just needs to be reheated before it is served. No grease is used, so that is a good thing.

However, since their meats are pre-cooked, this means that they are processed.

Some of their meats do contain large amounts of fat in them. This would be there brisket, corned beef, and the pastrami is somewhat fatty. One of their leanest meats is their roast beef.

Firehouse Subs Sodium Content

The Italian medium with wheat bread contains 2540 milligrams of sodium. This is 10.4% more than the daily limit specified by the FDA of 2300 milligrams.

Many of their subs are actually over the daily sodium intake, not just the Italian; even though it contained the highest amounts. Some were just barely under it for a medium sub.

This means that all an individual could eat is one medium sub a day if their goal was to stay within reasonable sodium levels. Of course, eating only one medium sub for the entire day isn’t providing sufficient calories. Since other foods eaten for the day would also include sodium, you would most likely go over the daily intake trying to fulfill your calorie needs.

Some of their lowest sodium choices for subs would be the Hook & Ladder, Ham, Chicken sub, Brisket, and Veggie sub.

Here are the sodium values for a medium size of these types:

  • Brisket – 1690 to 1780 mg
  • Chicken – 1750 to 1840 mg
  • Ham – 1630 to 1720 mg
  • Hook & Ladder – 1660 to 1750 mg
  • Tuna – 1610 to 1700 mg
  • Veggie – 1520 to 1610 mg

This is still high, but it is their lowest sodium choices for sandwiches.

Which Bread Is Healthier At Firehouse?

The wheat bread contains 4 grams more of sugars, 2 grams more of fibers, and 10 calories less than the white bread. The white bread has 5% more calcium than the wheat bread for a medium size. The wheat bread also contained 90 milligrams more in sodium.

All the other values were the same.

The wheat bread is not considered vegan, since it contains honey in its ingredients. This is where the extra sugars are found in the wheat bread. If you are trying to reduce sugar intake, go with the white. For more fibers and nutrients, the wheat bread is a better pick.


If you are looking for flavor over healthy eating, then Firehouse Subs is a good place to eat. However their high sodium, high fat, medium to high calorie subs can’t be considered as wholeheartedly healthy. Stick with a salad or choose other options.

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