Bride & Groom MOM Subscribe

Find Local

The Best and Worst Sandwiches to Order at Jimmy John’s

You’ve been warned: The new-to-DC sub shop’s low-fat, low-carb options can be very deceiving.

Photograph courtesy of Jimmy John's Facebook page.

Although Jimmy John’s has been serving its gourmet sandwiches since 1983, it only made its way to our area a few years ago, with the first DC location opening last year. With fresh-baked bread, sliced-in-house meats, and handy delivery service, it has been well received.

Still, there are some things to be weary of at this sub joint, says Alison Sonak, a registered dietitian based in Sterling, Virginia.

“I don’t think it’s a great place to go for lunch. It’s got a lot of high-fat and high-sodium choices, but that’s typical for a sub shop,” she says. “And the portion sizes are very large, but that’s everywhere in our country.”

Check out her analysis to help navigate the menu in the healthiest way possible.


• Worst—J.J.B.L.T: With six slices of bacon and a hearty slathering of mayo, this sub offers 634 calories, 35 grams of fat, and 1,329 milligrams of sodium. “Because of the bacon, the saturated fat is high as well,” Sonak says. “Although the Totally Tuna [sandwich] has more calories, at least it has the benefit of fish.”

• Better—Vegetarian: Our expert says, “A lot of the fat comes from the avocado spread, so it’s heart-healthy fat. It has a lot of veggies, and that makes it a good choice.” With 578 calories, and a relatively tame 873 milligrams of sodium, the sandwich is okay to eat in one sitting. Lose the cheese and mayo, or swap it for mustard, to give this sandwich a boost.

• Best—Turkey Tom: It’s a simple sandwich—turkey breast, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, tomato, and mayo—but that’s part of what makes it a good choice. Although high in sodium, it has the fewest calories and lowest fat of the eight-inch subs. Compared with the vegetarian sandwich, “It has more protein, and also doesn’t have cheese, like the veggie sub does,” Sonak explains. Make it even better by avoiding the mayo.


• Worst—Italian Night Club: With three meats (two of them processed), cheese, and a negligible amount of veggies, this calorie bomb of a sandwich is not going to do you any favors. “It’s almost 1,000 calories, 50 grams of fat, and an entire day’s worth of sodium,” Sonak says. Even eating only half won’t redeem it, she says: “It might help from a caloric standpoint, but definitely not a nutritional one.”

• Best—Bootlegger Club: Another simple option claims the top spot. This roast beef, turkey, lettuce, tomato, and mayo sandwich is the least harmful choice in this hearty section of the menu, with the lowest calories and fat and more lean meats and veggies than other sandwiches. But you should still be cautious of its 684 calories, and 1,660 milligrams of sodium.


• Worst—Slim 5: salami, capicola, and cheese: This “slim” sandwich has 599 calories, 19 grams of fat (8 saturated), and a whopping 1,450 milligrams of sodium. It’s all processed meat and cheese, and zero veggies.

• Best—Slim 2: roast beef: Our expert says, “I chose this one because people get so tired of eating turkey, but calorie-wise [turkey and roast beef] are similar; roast beef is higher in fat, but maybe by one or two points.” Granted, this option is just meat and bread (amounting to 424 calories and 996 milligrams of sodium), but it does give you the chance to dress it up in a healthy way.

While the gourmet sandwich shop is no health utopia, you might expect the low-fat/low-carb options to be a bright spot—but you’d be somewhat mistaken, according to Sonak.

“Their low-fat options can be deceiving. If you order the Turkey Tom the way they make it, it’s still 21 grams of fat, which is not low,” she explains. And while the low-cal options are “true to title,” she points out that the JJ Gargantuan Unwich packs more than a day’s worth of sodium (2,468 milligrams) and almost a full day’s worth of fat (54 grams).

“People think they’re making healthy choices with the low-fat and low-carb options, but that’s not necessarily the case,” she says. “This is one of the reasons why I always advise my clients to look at the menu and make educated decisions.”

Her other bits of advice include always skipping mayo, and using phone apps that give you one-stop access to the menus and nutritional information from popular eateries. Be careful with processed meats, which are high in sodium and often carry potentially harmful nitrates. She also recommends eating half of your sandwiches. “If you’re still hungry, supplement with other things. Try to get your hands on some fruit or vegetables,” she says.

  • Aiden

    I'm utterly disgusted with this article. Please never open your mouth in regards to food. It's obvious that you don't know what good food is.

  • Luis


  • Richard

    Less meat, more veggie please! Jimmy John's opened a few blocks down the street and 1st sandwich was too much for two sittings, let alone one sitting. The 6" sandwich elsewhere is a better option.

  • Meg

    Aw man, I thought this was going to be about flavor and ingredients! I was waiting for the Ultimate Sandwich Ranking here. Nobody cares about calories or health content, since (as others have mentioned) there are ways to adjust the health content of the sandwich to meet your needs.

    That said, anyone ordering out already understands the caloric implications of not making food at home, and a sandwich shop is still a much safer bet than a burger place. But seriously, some of us are at a perfectly healthy weight and have a reasonable and realistic approach to food, and we don't need to be told the calorie content of every item we eat. We just stop eating when we're full. More people should try it so the rest of us won't get tricked into reading another boring article like this one.

  • skellyton5

    heh, the #9? here i am eating my dubbagutbusta. basically 2 gars in one.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular on Washingtonian

Take a Look Inside Scream City, DC's Only Major Haunted Attraction

25 Things to Do in DC This October

Where to Find the Best Pizzas Around DC

14 Pairs of Stylish Rain Shoes That Are Better Than Rain Boots

Things to Do in DC This Weekend October 1-4: Bentzen Ball, Dead Man's Run, and Craft2Wear

Preview: Washington National Opera's Halloween Costume Sale Is as Awesome as It Sounds

Here's What's Been Canceled or Rescheduled Due to Hurricane Joaquin

What Could Happen to Washington If a Hurricane Hits

Inside DC's New Australian Restaurant: Oz