Why yes, Subway’s protein bowls are just giant bowls of meat

Product shot of 3 Subway protein bowls on white background [image provided by Subway]
Image: Subway

It’s a widely known fact that if you’re a fast food brand looking to reposition yourself as a competitor in the health food space, all you need to do is turn your mainstay dishes into some type of bowl. Suddenly, they appear to be the healthiest option on the menu. Take Chipotle’s burrito bowls, for example, or Portillo’s Beef Bowls, or even Taco Bell’s Power Menu Bowls. Ordering bowl food makes the customer feel like everything they want to be.


Subway is now in on this game, stuffing a footlong’s worth of meat, cheese, vegetables and toppings into a plastic container and calling it a Protein Bowl (thanks to Brand Eating for alerting us to the story). I feel like there’s another word that describes a meal composed of various elements in a bowl, to be eaten with a fork. Is it... salad? Is that the word I’m looking for?

Me being an asshole aside, Subway’s new Protein Bowls are literally just a sandwich, gutted, its innards spilled into a bowl. No yoga mat bread (relax, that stuff was fine), eliminating pesky excess carbs. All you have is the good shit. Note that Protein Bowls have not replaced salads on Subway’s menu, many of which overlap with the elements in a Protein Bowl (there’s a tuna salad, and tuna bowl, ham salad, ham bowl, you get it). But it’s true that the salads look a little woeful next to the protein bowls now.

“From the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki to the Chicken and Bacon Protein Bowls, guests can build any Footlong into a Protein Bowl, with the same portion of protein, vegetables, cheese and sauce, just without the bread,” states the press release (PDF here). So if you’re looking to dive into a pile of deli meat for lunch—something I do hastily right in front of the refrigerator, rolling up slices with some questionably old cheese—Subway’s got the solution for you.


Alcoholic Synonymous

Subway employee here: salads are the same thing, just with a 6" portion of meat and cheese. These are just salads with foot-long portions of meat and cheese and a different bowl. Actually had a lady come in 5 minutes before close last night and try to order one without any toppings...if you plan on doing that, just ask for the the meats and cheeses as Add-On Non-Carriers and you’ll save a few bucks.