Takeaway Torture Test Day 4: Subway

Takeaway Torture Test Day 4: Subway

The final day of my non-stop fast food frenzy takes a healthier turn, maybe, as I switch to Subway. But is it already too late for my palate?

If you’re wondering why I’m doing this, check out Day 1 at McDonald’s, Day 2 at KFC and Day 3 at IKEA.

Breakfast: Look Mum, No Vegetables

Subway is actually the takeaway joint I use most often when I’m on the road. Provided you avoid the fattier combinations, it’s a healthy choice, there’s plenty of vegetables on offer, and if you stick to the $5/$7 menu, it’s also inexpensive. But one thing I’d never done before is try the breakfast option. Today’s the first time I’ve been exposed to a Subway meal that wasn’t fundamentally salad, bread and a side meat.

The Breakfast sub is filling, but the sight of the premade omelette that gets whacked in the middle of it is, frankly, a little off-putting. It was a cold morning in Melbourne, and a toasted sandwich was welcome no matter how it looks during preparation. But I’d have to say it’s my least favourite thing I’ve eaten over the four-day period.


Lunch: Split Decision

Once again, a frantic schedule got in the way of my original plans. By the time it came around to purchasing lunch on St Kilda Road, it was clear to me that I was barely going to have time to grab that meal, and wouldn’t really have time to dash out for dinner. The solution was obvious, if repetitive: purchase a footlong sub, eat one half for lunch, and the other half later on. So that’s what I did, going for my combo of choice (multigrain roll, ham, cheddar cheese, all the salads, and honey mustard dressing).

When I placed my order, a new staff member was being trained, so I got a more in-depth insight into the process of constructing a sub than usual as the employee (or “sandwich artisan”) had the details explained. “Make sure they only get eight pieces of ham,” he was told. Well, quite.


Dinner: Subway Rests Well

I suspect some readers are thinking “wow, if you eat Subway several hours after it’s made, it’s going to be dry/soggy/a tasteless mess/all of the above”. I must say I didn’t find this to be so when I got to dinner. The only precaution I took was re-wrapping the half-sub in paper, and it held up just fine. There were the usual risks if you get a fully loaded sub — that is, grated carrot ends up all over the place — but I was more than happy to eat it.

The Unpleasant Lesson I Learned

Despite the dire predictions of some readers, I didn’t come out of this mini-experiment feeling bloated or grease-overloaded or bored. There are far nastier fates than having to eat takeaway food for a few days. (And yes, on that level, describing the experience as torture is gross hyperbole.)

What did disturb me was the realisation of just how readily I can sink into the habit of eating the same food all the time. There was no fundamental reason why I couldn’t have had entirely different goods every time I hit one of those stores. But in fact, every single day I ended up repeating a meal at least once. With McDonald’s, that was my own stupid fault for not placing a specific order for dinner; in most other cases, my schedule made repeated visits difficult. So it might not have been avoidable, but I can’t say it ever struck me as a problem until I wrote it all down.

One of our constant themes here at Lifehacker is that dietary variety is good for you. I understand why that is, but it seems I don’t take much convincing to abandon that principle. I’m going to have to work on that.


  • Interesting about the omlette – every time I’ve had a Subway breakfast (admittedly not for a while now) it’s been freshly prepared (in the microwave).

  • It has changed.

    They used to crack a couple of eggs in a carboard cup, fork them around a bit to ‘scramble’ them and then microwave. Apparently this took to long so the SOG ( Subway Optimization Groupt TM) decided it would be better if they made egg patties in a factory somewhere and shipped them in a big bag to the stores.

    So to save subay 5 seconds and about 20 CPT (cents per transaction) you no longer get a freshly cracked eggs for breakfast at subway.

  • Great test Angus, I enjoyed reading it. Who knew Ikea had a breakfast.

    Dietary variety is one thing I picked up on in your piece, I find I usually have the same sort of meal for lunch. I don’t think for any other reason than I know its good and its easy to order.

  • Surprised you did not try the whole “make the same at home” thing again with the Subway like you did Ikea. I’m sure they’d let you purchase the sub bread alone..

  • If you want Subway to be healthier, Try a wrap. I was converted from the Italian herb and cheese and don’t miss it, only annoying thing is that there is no “footlong” option to save half for later (I often buy a wrap in the moring and eat it a few hours later at work, always goes down well).

  • i don’t like subway… the stuff they sell is too close to what you can make yourself… subway has no particular flavour…like KFC has a flavour, McDonalds has a flavour (for those wondering:covered in salt and fat), hungry jacks has a flavour…. but subway just tastes like going to coles in the afternoon buying some bread, meat, ham, lettuce, tomato etc. and making a sandwich

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