Can I Eat Subway While Pregnant? (Quick Answer!)

By KidSpaceStuff •  Updated: 03/24/24 •  6 min read

Navigating pregnancy’s do’s and don’ts is like walking through a culinary minefield, especially for a food lover. From sushi to soft cheeses, the list of potentially off-limits items can seem never-ending. But what about that beloved sandwich chain we’ve all come to know and love: Subway? 

In this article, I’ll dive deep into whether it’s safe to indulge in a Subway sandwich while expecting, shedding light on the precautions to take and the delightful options still available.

Can I Eat Subway While Pregnant?

Submarine Hoagie Sandwich

Yes, you can eat Subway sandwiches during pregnancy, but ensure it is heated and eat cautiously. 

Deli meats may contain Listeria, a harmful bacteria for pregnant women, so they should be heated until steaming before consumption. Avoiding pre-cut or pre-packaged salads from Subway is also recommended due to potential contaminants. To ensure safety, request that your sandwiches be heated and toasted when ordering.

Understanding the Basics: What’s in a Subway Sandwich?

A Subway sandwich is a customizable meal that allows you to choose various ingredients to fit inside a long roll of bread. At its core, a Subway sandwich typically consists of:

  1. Bread: A long roll with different flavors like wheat, white, Italian, or multi-grain.
  2. Proteins: Choices include deli meats (e.g., turkey, ham, or roast beef), tuna, chicken, or meatless options.
  3. Cheese: Slices of cheddar, provolone, Swiss, or other types.
  4. Vegetables: Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, olives, and more.
  5. Sauces and Seasonings: Mayonnaise, mustard, ranch, vinaigrettes, and various spices.
  6. Optional Add-ons: Some may add extra bacon, avocado, or even cookies and chips on the side.

The Key Concern: Listeria in Deli Meats

Listeria is a kind of bacteria found in deli meats and other foods. These meats are especially risky because they are only sometimes cooked or warmed before being eaten. They are often used in sandwiches. Listeria-contaminated food can cause a disease called listeriosis, which is especially dangerous for pregnant women, babies, the old, and people with weak immune systems. 

Some signs are fever, sore muscles, and sometimes even worse problems. Many health experts tell people at high risk to heat deli meats until they are steaming hot before eating them. This kills the germs and makes the heart safe to eat.

Safely Consuming Subway Sandwiches

When eating at Subway, mainly if you belong to a vulnerable group like pregnant women, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Opt for sandwiches where the meat can be heated up, like toasted subs, as the heat can kill harmful bacteria, such as Listeria. If you prefer cold sandwiches, avoid deli meats or ensure they’re heated before being cooled. 

Fresh vegetables are a great choice, but ensure they’re washed and appear new. When choosing sauces, check for any signs of cross-contamination. In essence, when you’re consuming Subway sandwiches or any food in general, being cautious and opting for heated or well-cooked options can reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Other Considerations When Eating Subway Sandwiches

For pregnant women, eating at Subway comes with some extra precautions. Beyond the concern with deli meats and Listeria:

  1. Salads: Pre-cut or pre-packaged salads can carry contaminants. Avoiding them or ensuring they are fresh and thoroughly washed is safer.
  2. Tuna and Seafood: Some seafood can have high mercury levels, which aren’t advisable for pregnant women. It’s better to limit intake or opt for other fillings.
  3. Soft Cheeses: If adding cheese, choose hard cheeses. Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk can harbor harmful bacteria.
  4. Sauces: Some sauces may contain raw eggs, like certain mayonnaises, which can pose a risk of salmonella. It’s good to inquire or avoid them.
  5. Hygiene: Make sure the Subway outlet practices good hygiene, from clean countertops to staff using gloves.

Tips for Eating Out While Pregnant

Eating out can be a delightful experience, even when you’re pregnant. However, the joy of dining at a restaurant comes with some added responsibilities to ensure both your health and your baby’s well-being. Here are seven simple tips for pregnant women when eating out:

Tip #1: Check Restaurant Hygiene: 

Opt for places with a good reputation for cleanliness. A quick check of customer reviews or ratings can give you an idea.

Tip #2: Avoid Raw or Undercooked Foods: 

Skip sushi, rare steaks, or dishes with raw eggs to reduce the risk of bacterial infections.

Tip #3: Be Cautious with Seafood: 

Limit mercury-rich fish, like shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. Instead, choose low-mercury options like salmon or shrimp.

Tip #4: Skip Soft Cheeses: 

Avoid cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, such as feta, brie, and blue cheese, as they can harbor harmful bacteria.

Tip #5: Drink Bottled Water: 

It’s safer to choose bottled water, especially in areas where tap water quality is questionable.

Tip #6: Ask for Well-cooked Dishes: 

Whether meat, poultry, or seafood, ensure they’re thoroughly cooked. Steaming hot dishes reduce the risk of harmful bacteria.

FAQs

1. Can I eat cold Subway sandwiches when pregnant?

It’s better to avoid cold deli meats in Subway sandwiches during pregnancy due to the risk of Listeria. If you want a cold sandwich, ensure the meat has been heated first to kill bacteria, then cool down.

2. Are there any specific Subway sandwiches that are safe during pregnancy?

Sandwiches with fully cooked ingredients like chicken teriyaki, steak, or meatballs are safer. Vegetarian options without deli meats are also a good choice. Always consider heating the sandwich to reduce risks.

3. How often can I eat Subway sandwiches during my pregnancy?

There’s no specific limit, but moderation is key. Ensure you have a balanced diet with varied food sources during pregnancy. If you frequently eat from Subway, always prioritize the safety guidelines for pregnant women.

Here’s a great video of the best healthy sandwich recipes you can make at home!

Final Thoughts 

You can eat Subway while pregnant, but you should be careful. 

Choose sandwiches with fully cooked meats and avoid cold store meats that have yet to be heated up first. It’s essential to ensure that your safety and your baby’s safety come first in your decisions. I appreciate you reading this piece, and I hope it has helped you see things more clearly and given you the confidence to make intelligent choices during your pregnancy.