Whether you have celiac disease or are simply sensitive to gluten, Subway offers menu items for gluten-free diners. However, knowing which items to choose can be tricky, so having a gluten-free Subway food list is beneficial. But keep in mind that because Subway doesn't specifically offer a gluten-free menu, there is always a risk of cross-contamination.
Gluten-Free Subway Menu Items
On their website, Subway provides an allergen list to help customers with food sensitives or food allergies. The downloadable resource provides a list of foods in different categories that contain common allergens, such as eggs, peanuts, or dairy products. They also identify foods that contain gluten or wheat. The company explains that the two are combined because all Subway gluten-containing items contain wheat.
The company is also clear to note that the only menu item made in a gluten-free facility is Subway gluten-free bread. Other food items, such as deli meat or toppings, cannot be identified as 100% gluten-free. They may not include wheat or gluten but may still carry a risk of cross-contamination because they are prepared on shared equipment with gluten-containing foods.
Breads and Wraps
The only gluten-free option in this category is Subway's gluten-free bread. All other breads and wraps, including the spinach wrap and the tomato-basil wrap, contain wheat and gluten.
Deli Meats, Eggs, Cheese, and Seafood
Protein sources, like meats and cheeses, don't generally contain wheat or gluten. But some pre-sliced deli meats can be hidden sources of gluten because of the fillers or flavorings they contain. These menu items are identified by Subway as not containing gluten, although they are still subject to cross-contamination.
- All available cheese
- Bacon strips
- Black forest Cold cut combo meats
- Eggs and egg whites
- Grilled chicken (plain)
- Oven-roasted chicken patty
- Oven-roasted turkey breast
- Tuna salad
- Veggie patty
Note that the teriyaki grilled chicken and meatballs in marinara are known to contain gluten.
Condiments and Dressings
All dressings and condiments available at Subway are free from gluten-containing ingredients, except for the Sweet Onion Teriyaki Sauce. Traditionally, teriyaki sauce is made with soy sauce which contains wheat, so it is not gluten-free.
While most spreads, oils, and dressings do not contain wheat-based ingredients, the Celiac Disease Foundation points out that condiments can become cross-contaminated if utensils are not carefully separated during food prep.
If you're a veggie-lover, you're in luck. All of the vegetables used at Subway are naturally free from gluten. Like the other menu items, however, Subway cannot claim that they are 100% gluten-free because of the potential for cross-contact.
The only Subway soup that is made without gluten is the Broccoli and Cheddar Soup. All other choices are made with gluten or wheat ingredients.
Most desserts at Subway are made with wheat and therefore are not safe for those on a gluten-free diet. However, the applesauce and the gluten-free brownie are made without wheat ingredients.
Tips for Gluten-Free Dining at Subway
Eating out is often a challenge when you have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or a wheat allergy. In fact, researchers have found that restaurant dining is a primary challenge for people who follow a gluten-free diet. Specifically, there is a lack of knowledge about gluten-free food in many establishments.
Studies have shown that even when restaurants label foods as "gluten-free," they may still contain gluten. But if you enjoy restaurants like Subway, you might be in luck. A 2019 report published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (AJG) showed that casual and fast-casual restaurants generally have lower rates of gluten detection.
A few basic tips will help you steer clear of gluten when eating at Subway:
- Utensils and prep surfaces are often the culprits when cross-contamination is an issue. Be sure you address the issue of cross-contact with the person preparing your meal so that they can take proper preventative precautions.
- Consider visiting Subway when the restaurant is less crowded. The AJG report showed that reports of gluten contamination in restaurants were more common at dinner time.
- If you are extremely sensitive to gluten, as in the case of celiac disease, it may be best to avoid Subway altogether.
The National Celiac Association Can Help
Use resources provided by the National Celiac Association to make your dining experience more enjoyable. The non-profit organization provides a wallet-sized dining card that you can carry with you and present at your local restaurant. They also have a member-sourced database of restaurants that are likely to have gluten-free items on their menu.