Cheap Date

We're not big fast foodies. Maybe a quarterly stop at Chipotle, Noodles & Co or Quizno's and we're more than sated. I don't know if it's the taste, the nutrition or the low quality, but the traditional fast food joints are more like quarter-decadal stops for us.

Then there's a place like Subway. At least from the nutritional standpoint, it is “choose your own adventure” to the fullest. They have legitimately healthy (or “not unhealthy”) options there if you're willing to make it happen. Don't get me wrong, they have some major doozies there – a traditional meatball sub comes to mind as a prime example, but even any foot long sub seemingly has a pound of bread associated with its consumption.

Take the dinner Julia and I had when we went to Subway for dinner. We shared a foot long sub on one of their new wheat breads with 9 whole grains – not bad, at least they're trying to be healthy. It was a veggie sub of course, so Julia could actually share it, and who needs cheese if you know how to make the veggie sub taste great without it? It's not like the Subway cheese is anything special.

Start with lettuce and tomato piled high, then get a nice spray of red onions, black olives and banana peppers. Then a generous spread of hot mustard, a squirt of red wine vinegar, and a shake of black pepper and dried oregano. I asked for a small bit of their chipotle southwest sauce, one of their most flavor-rich sauces – yes, mayo based, but hey, we didn't get cheese and this was a worthy replacement for that lost fat. Fat you say? That little squirt was actually the only fat I managed to include on our entire sandwich, and I wasn't even trying. It's the saltiness and the tanginess of the sauces and veggies that make people enjoy their Subway sandwiches anyway, not the flavorless meats, cheeses or breads. So who needs them? Pick the healthiest bread you can find and just get the stuff that tastes good – oh and by the way, that's mostly fat-free stuff.

So we split our sub. When you look at a 6-inch sub out of context it looks like the largest sandwich you would ever think of making in your own house. So why eat two of them when at Subway? (Portion sizes in this country are out of control…for another day.)

Julia was quite impressed with my order and even deemed it artistic. That made me smile, but I don't know if I'd go quite that far. I did think it was highly tasty, even more so than past, less healthy Subway trips. We also split a little bag of kettle chips and a diet soda to complete our very satisfying meal. Half the calories, half the fat and hey, half the price. It came out to $3.19 each for dinner. So even if it's only once per quarter, at least when we find ourselves in Subway for dinner, we know we'll be able to take advantage of the fast food prices and service times without burdening ourselves with the all-too-common fast food nutritional pitfalls. A cheap, quick and healthy date for lovebirds. Just don't stray too far from my blueprint.

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