As any Philadelphian knows, a hoagie by any other name — sub, grinder, hero, zeppelin, or poor boy — isn’t a hoagie.
But, as with most things that are off-the-chart delicious, hoagies aren’t the healthiest things on the menu. In fact, a classic Italian hoagie has roughly:
- 700 calories
- 50g of fat
- 2500mg of sodium
- 52g of carbs
- 42g of protein
Upon closer inspection, it’s clear that the cold cuts (deli meat) are at the heart of the problem — according to the FDA’s 2,000-calorie diet nutrition guidelines, cold cuts make a hoagie entirely unhealthy.
Carbs (g) Visit
|8-inch hoagie roll||200||4||50||8||230|
|Boiled ham (3 slices)||60||1||0||9||590|
|Capicola (3 slices)||120||7.5||1.5||12||810|
|Provolone cheese (3 slices)||120||9||0||7.5||285|
|Genoa salami (3 slices)||130||10||1||6||500|
|Shredded lettuce (1/2 cup)||3||0||1||0||3|
|Tomato (4 slices)||14||0||3||1||4|
|Onion (1/4 cup)||0||0||0||0||0|
|Olive oil (1T)||125||14||0||0||< 1|
|Red wine vinegar (1T)||3||0||0||0||19|
|Hoagie with oil/vinegar:||775||45.5||56.5||43.5||2,441|
So, at the risk of having my Philadelphia citizenship revoked, I have objectively tried to find a way to healthy-up a hoagie while maintaining its sacred hoagie-ness.
Option A: Go Veggie
Probably the quickest and easiest way tune up your hoagie is to pass on the deli meats altogether. Load up on tomatoes, peppers, spinach, lite cheese, pickles, oil, and spices. Top it off with a dash (or two) of oil and vinegar, and, there you have it: a heathier hoagie.
Option B: Eat Half a Hoagie
It’s possible that someone (someone probably not from Philly) could stop eating a hoagie half way through and, in theory, reduce/improve the nutritional content by half. If this option seems too hard to do alone, consider going halfsies with a friend.
Option C: Choose Healthier Hoagie Ingredients
With the wide variety of multigrain rolls, low fat condiments, and low-fat/low-salt deli options available for most of the ingredients listed above, you could swap the full fat/salt versions for their “lighter” counterparts. Here are some options:
- Whole wheat hoagie rolls have 1/3 fewer calories, carbs, fat, and protein.
- Extra veggies and peppers can add moisture to a dry (condiment-free) hoagie.
- Lite cooked ham has 25 percent less sodium.
- Low salt salami has half the sodium; low fat salami has half the fat.
- Low fat provolone has 50 percent less sodium and calories.
Option D: Eat Fewer Hoagies
This option is for those who refuse to sacrifice flavor for nutrition. If this is you, consider counteracting the nutritional impact of your next hoagie by:
- Eating potassium rich food (potassium helps flush sodium out of the body)
- Drinking plenty of water
- Exercising for an hour (a cardio workout burns approximately 700 calories and 37 grams of fat)
Whichever hoagie option you choose, be sure to enjoy and savor every bite. May I suggest having one with a side of Eagles highlights?
By Sheila Perlick, Independence Blue Cross