Posted: May 24, 2013
Many believe that having a submarine sandwich is a relatively healthy choice when eating out. And while it's true that you can keep the calories to a reasonable amount (say around 500 – which is pretty good for a meal out) and pile on the veggies, you're far better off making your own. Here are three reasons why:
1. They are very high in sodium. The average small sandwich from a popular local chain here in Ottawa contains 1000mg of sodium or 2/3 of the daily requirement for a healthy adult. On average, Canadians consume 3400mg of sodium per day. And while there are questions regarding the benefits and possible negative health outcomes of consuming fewer than 2300mg/day, there is no doubt that we need to reduce our consumption. Excess sodium can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular disease in certain individuals. Ways to lower your intake besides eating out less include not using the salt shaker while cooking or at the dinner table, reducing your intake of prepackaged, processed foods such as deli meats and snack foods and by rinsing canned foods under running water.
2. Some of the meats contain sodium nitrate. This acts as a preservative in processed meats such as bologna, ham and salami and is thought to increase the risk of heart disease by damaging arteries by narrowing and hardening them. It may also increase the risk of developing other chronic health conditions such as cancer and diabetes. To reduce your intake, make your own sub sandwiches using only fresh meat, poultry or fish (leftovers work great!).
3. You'll save time and money. It takes less time to prepare a sandwich at home the night before or in the morning compared to commuting to the restaurant, potentially having to wait in line and then commuting back to work. Perhaps you can use the extra time you have to take a lunch hour walk? As well, most meals cost around ten dollars with tax which can add up very quickly. You're better off putting that money towards whole, fresh foods to use as ingredients in your homemade sub - which will be the healthiest and least expensive you'll ever have.
Mark McGill, RD