Can You Eat Subway While Pregnant? Is It Safe?

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Being pregnant and enjoying your favorite foods go hand-in-hand.

Though, it just so happens that some of your favorite food choices and the places you usually love to eat at start becoming questionable throughout the duration of your pregnancy?

Lunchmeat is one of those questionable foods I’m referring to during pregnancy.

Due to possibly contracting listeria, and other potential foodborne illnesses that come along with ready-to-eat lunch meats you might not want to consume them during pregnancy.

Thankfully, we have the internet and other pregnant women’s experience to look to in order to gain more information and understanding about how to keep our baby safe while in the womb.

There are so many grey areas.

While choosing which foods to indulge in eating during pregnancy ultimately comes down to how comfortable you are with accepting the associated risks, it can be helpful to have guidance from people who have been there and done that – like eating Subway!

Is it safe for pregnant women? Let’s find out…

What is it about Subway that raises questions among pregnant women?

Subway specifically brings a question to the pregnant community when it comes to eating it due to the risks of catching listeria or another foodborne illness from the ready-to-eat meat products.

According to the center for disease control or CDC, roughly 260 people die from listeria each year, out of the 1,600 that initially develop listeria.

These fatalities exist amongst the non-pregnant and pregnant community, so you can imagine that pregnant women are even more sensitive than non-pregnant humans when it comes to getting better after contracting listeria.

Out of the 1,600 people overall that contract listeria in the United States each year, 200 listeria patients are pregnant women.

What happens when a pregnant woman develops listeria?

listeria

Listeria is no joke. I have personally known pregnant women whose unborn child has passed away (heartbreakingly) due to listeria in the last trimester of pregnancy.

Women who have contracted listeria will show signs and symptoms of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and overall sickness.

Many pregnant women will need to be hospitalized once they have contracted listeria and given medical assistance in order to resolve it.

Listeria can appear as far out as 2-months after consuming something that is contaminated with listeria.

Any new fever, headache, loss of balance, or muscle stiffness should be checked by a health care provider

If signs of listeria are becoming prominent for women throughout pregnancy at any time – the pregnant mother should be checked immediately and will likely be given antibiotics if there is listeria illness present.

Is it worth it to eat Subway during pregnancy?

In all reality, it’s not worth it to eat listeria during pregnancy. Listeria can be mildly uncomfortable to extremely fatal for a mother and her baby.

You don’t really know how it will end up for you before going through the phase of listeria, so it’s better not to take the risk of contracting it.

There are better options compared to Subway sandwiches that are great options for pregnant women – homemade sandwiches or hot sandwiches are a better option for the pregnant community.

Subway offers hot sandwiches, or you can also ask them to heat the meat of your choice in the microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute to kill any unwanted bacteria from listeria

On a positive note, you can still enjoy your subway sandwiches if you take precautions

If after reading about the risks associated with eating cold-cut meats during pregnancy (like subway has to offer), you still want to partake in your favorite Subway footlongs – go for it!

If you decide you’re going out to Subway to eat, then be sure to take a few precautions – listeria is killed at high heat temperatures of 165 Fahrenheit and above.

In other words, all you have to do is heat the meat(or ask the employee) to temperatures above 165 F or until steaming hot.

Since you can’t check for listeria present in Subway meats, this is a simple option to eliminate most of the risk involved with eating out at Subway.

Subway sandwiches that are heated before being served are safer during pregnancy than the cold-cut footlongs

You can opt for a subway melt or another one of their favorite hot sandwiches. This means they’ve already done the work of heating the meat and other ingredients(outside of veggies) in their toaster oven.

Many customers, pregnant or not, will agree that the sweet onion chicken teriyaki is Subway’s best hot sandwich.

The chicken is already marinating in sweet teriyaki sauce and ready to be fired up. Or toasted? Whatever it is, customers love this hot sandwich.

Apparently, all the other hot sandwiches from Subway have an issue with seasoned meat, and the teriyaki chicken sub doesn’t – interesting!

A subway toaster oven reaches 500-degree Fahrenheit and that’s plenty of heat

According to science and the pregnant community, listeria-ridden meat needs to be heated to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any listeria bacteria from existing. I don’t know how accurate

this is on a consistent basis, but if you’re trying to splurge one meal on Subway – 500 degrees is definitely hot enough to cover you this time.

Well, at least a flaring hot toaster oven has pregnant ladies back, there are already enough foods that pregnant women can or cannot eat – why make Subway another one of them.

According to this group of moms, Subway is well-loved during pregnancy

If you already knew you were going to indulge in Subway regardless of what this article said, don’t feel so bad this group of moms from ‘Whattoexpect.com’ is enjoying Subway as much as you’re going to.

Mom Ccole0022 says

I love eating at Subway and my favorite sandwich is the cold cut combo. I ate one today. Then was reading online that if you eat at Subway do not get cold cuts because of the deli meat and it could harm the baby. Now I’m worried!!

Mom Cmill84 responded

I think this day&age with the safety regulations they have on food stores most things are fine. But next time maybe get the chicken or something that they have to cook.

Mom Blessed2k19 responded

Have them heat up the meat for 15 sec to help kill the listeria. Subway was the last thing I had when I went into labor with my son.

Mom Amberlyschrader responded:

I like the turkey at Panera and subway and my ob okayed it because it’s pasteurized.

Mom Cvalalla responded

Make sure they toast it and you’ll be all good!

Mom Musicmama22 responded

The danger of listeria is so so so so so so uncommon and can occur in so many other foods. I think if you know the meat is good quality and it’s a reputable place I wouldn’t be worried about it. I worked at a deli that served boars head products which is no nitrates or anything added(the really good stuff) and this pregnant lady came in and got a sandwich about once a week. Now that I think about it she probably got it toasted so just toast if you want to be extra safe. She had a happy healthy cute baby and her first stop after the hospital was the deli! We all had a good laugh!! I personally can barely eat anything but the minute I crave a delicious cold cut I’m having one!!!

If you’re set on having Subway or have already eaten one, and feeling nervous about how it’ll turn out now, rest assured that plenty of other pregnant ladies are doing it knowing about the risks associated with listeria poisoning.

This is experience-based, so it doesn’t conclude that the risk won’t be there when every pregnant person opts for Subway.

However, it does show that women in various trimesters of pregnancy have lived without the consequences of contracting listeria after consuming Subway.

A personal experience with Subway and food poisoning

To every mass that says everything was OK after they ate Subway of course there still are the few that don’t get so lucky… and some are even from the non-pregnant community(which are supposed to be less likely to contract foodborne illness).

My husband contracted food poisoning (the only time he has ever had food poisoning) from a Subway specifically.

He ended up having to receive medical care to resolve the case of food poisoning. And it was likely from the cold-cut meat he ate at that specific Subway.

Maybe I am just an odd lady, but, if I can name two people on hand that had grave effects from cold cuts during and outside of pregnancy – I think the risk far outweighs the benefits of eating out at Subway.

That said, there are plenty of ways to satisfy a craving as such – homemade hot deli sandwiches, anyone?!

Homemade Subway sandwiches a thing?

Yes, homemade Subway sandwiches are a possible thing for pregnant women and the best part is that you get to have as much as you want! You can incorporate all of your favorite ingredients while keeping your baby safe.

No one wants to go through having food poisoning, especially at such a sensitive time that pregnancy presents. You have to look out for yourself and your little one – even if other ladies had no problem with eating out at Subway.

How to make delicious homemade versions of Subway sandwiches

The good thing is that you can make home hot sub sandwiches right at home. Myfoodandfamily.com shares a few great recipes to satisfy the craving you have toward Subway.

They understand how important it is to settle a craving (especially for pregnant women) while using quality ingredients.

Sometimes you have to pick and choose what you’d opt for risk or taste – yet – making your own sandwiches at home eliminates the risks while keeping the great taste.

Recipe for home hot subway sandwiches

Submarine sandwich rolls

Sprouted whole grains are the best for digestion and can help keep things moving during pregnancy when digestion can get slowed down from hormones. So opting for a sprouted whole grain hoagie roll if available is best.

Though, more commonly seen in the stores are whole wheat or white bread sandwich rolls. Usually, you can find these ones in the bakery next to the loaves of bread. Try to find an organic brand of the hoagie roll if possible.

Organic bread isn’t treated with chemicals in the production process…So overall is better for your body during pregnancy. If nothing else is available though, you can just grab some regular hoagie sub sandwich rolls.

You’ll need at least 6 rolls but can make more than 6 sandwiches of course if desired.

Mayonaise or a light avocado spread of your choice

Luckily these days there are plenty of organic and vegan options for mayonnaise if that’s your thing. You have everything from avocado mayonnaise to regular old miracle whip.

I’m pretty sure that subway uses basic white mayonnaise but if you want an upgraded homemade sandwich you can opt for mayonnaise with a twist.

Buy a small jar of flavored mayonnaise to see how you like it before you dive fully into which kind to buy. A 12oz. jar should be plenty to fill the 6 sub sandwich rolls.

Here is a great option for chipotle avocado mayonnaise as well as plain avocado mayonnaise.

Organic bell peppers homegrown or from the local grocery store

If you have a garden growing at your house you may very likely have bell peppers already growing in it. Homegrown bell peppers are the best if you’re making homemade deli sandwiches – though store-bought can always be great too.

You’ll need 1 or 2 red, green, or yellow bell peppers at first.

Large brown, white, or yellow onion

Onions of any kind are what is called nutrient-dense, which means they pack a big punch in their contents. Because they’re so light in calories, yet nutritionally dense – they are the ideal superfood for pregnant women.

If you can manage to eat a few onions here and there throughout your pregnancy then you’ll be on the right track to a wholesome pregnancy.

Yes, some of us aren’t onion lovers and they can be a tad bit too strong during pregnancy when your taste buds are extra sensitive (trust me I have been there) – so why not try them caramelized?

To caramelize your onions, chop them, throw them in the crockpot on low, or in a big pot on the stovetop on low to medium heat for a few hours.

After they look more glazy and dark golden brown they’ll be what is called caramelized in the cooks’ world.

Caramelized onions are much much sweeter than when they were raw, they become almost sugar-like or candied in the process of caramelization. Which makes caramelized onions much more preferable by pregnant women.

During my last pregnancy, I could only eat caramelized onions in order to avoid the heartburn that raw onions would instantly give me. Having onions caramelized are a lifesaver or should I say taste bud saver.

Keep a crockpot full of caramelized onions on the stove at all times, throw them on top of any meal or your homemade sub sandwiches to give an extra boost of delicious flavor.

Tomatoes, give heirloom a try they taste amazing

If we’re talking about sub sandwiches then we can’t forget the tomatoes. Tomatoes make the sandwich well, a sub sandwich they offer tang and flavor enhancement to all of the other veggies on your sandwich.

Salt your tomatoes to draw out the flavor once you’ve placed them on your sandwich. In the summer you can grow your own tomatoes right on your back porch in a small pot.

If you end up growing your own, try out an Heirloom variety, which is less sour and can offer a more buttery flavor.

If you’re making sandwiches at home, you’ll want to have variety – heirloom tomatoes are the perfect way to spice up your sandwiches.

Ham from your local deli or a whole cooked ham from the grocery store

Ham and or other deli meats on your homemade sandwich is going to be the biggest point of interest if you’re trying to avoid getting listeria. There are a few ways to go about keeping you and your baby safe from food-borne illness.

You can cook an entire chicken at home, or buy a pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store to pull meat from or you can buy high-quality deli meat from a local source that you trust.

If you choose the first option, you get the chance to season and heat your meat or have it cold right out of the fridge; since it’s already been thoroughly cooked – you don’t have to worry about listeria being contracted from a whole cooked chicken.

If you choose to purchase cold-cut meats from a local deli that you trust and know, then you’ll have to heat the meat up yourself in a pan or the oven at home, until it’s steaming hot prior to eating it.

I know you might be wondering, what the point of buying your own cold-cut meat is if you’re still eating cold cuts either way.

When you buy a bag of cold cut yourself rather than going out to Subway for a sandwich made by Subway, you avoid having meat on your sandwich that has been sitting out for hours.

When you go to your local deli, you can explain to them that you would prefer to have a fresh cut so that there is less of a chance of developing listeria from the meat.

Usually, there will be no issue with cutting your meat straight from the block of meat – fresh on the spot.

After you get it home keep it refrigerated, and eat it within the recommended time frame to stay within the safest food regulations for cold cut meat.

This is believed to be the safest way to eat a cold cut sandwich during pregnancy – rather than having meat that was sitting out in the cold case, and then handled by an employee and then later eaten.

You can opt for organic meat that has no nitrates or preservatives added in addition to consuming the freshest meat available to you.

Organic cheese is another great addition to homemade sub sandwiches

Next to meat, cheese is one of the most important aspects of a cold-cut sandwich. You have to choose a cheese of your liking to top your sandwich with.

You don’t have to worry about listeria when you consume food, so you can just pick one of your favorites for your homemade sandwich!

So, the question here is in regards to what your taste buds are craving. Do you like yellow cheese, Havarti, or even feta – try out a new flavor for the first time to make it even more fun.

You can ask your local deli to sample a few of the cheese while you’re out shopping for your meat.

In Conclusion

Don’t forget to have fun with this, it’s no doubt that being pregnant changes the way we have to look out for our bodies and our babies in regards to food safety.

Yet, looking out for yourselves doesn’t mean you can’t have just as much fun while eating for two.

Make it an event to have homemade sub sandwiches or make it a point to go the extra mile at Subway by asking them to heat your meat up if you choose a cold cut while eating at their restaurant.

Don’t feel bad for needing to be extra during pregnancy – your safety and your baby’s safety become the most important thing in life when you’re pregnant.

Foodborne illnesses like listeria, though uncommon, are not a joke. And just might be more common than you would think.

Be on your toes, when you go out to eat anywhere that serves lunch meat, if the meat looks or smells off to you – never eat it – even if it’s supposed to be ‘fresh’.

Restaurants are run by humans just like you and me, and they can make mistakes without realizing it.

This means that anytime you go out to eat during pregnancy, your food should be thoroughly inspected by you prior to taking that first bite.

Sources

Hot Sub Sandwiches – My Food and Family

Onion Benefits – Healthline

Medical Disclaimer. All content and media on the MomInformed Website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.
 

Hello, I'm Mirisa. I'm a mother to five children, in which I aim to raise through a holistic-practical approach. My goal as a triathlete mom, health, and wellness enthusiast, and an avid entrepreneur - is to inspire other parents that it's completely possible to be a wholesome and loving parent while chasing down your own goals!

Hello, I'm Mirisa. I'm a mother to five children, in which I aim to raise through a holistic-practical approach. My goal as a triathlete mom, health, and wellness enthusiast, and an avid entrepreneur - is to inspire other parents that it's completely possible to be a wholesome and loving parent while chasing down your own goals!