Eating Gluten-Free at Jimmy John’s

Before my gluten-free days, I used to go to the delightfully quirky sandwich shop Jimmy John’s at least once a week. My sandwich of choice was the Beach Club – delicious. Ever since my diagnosis, I haven’t eaten there because I didn’t think they would have anything for me. They are a sandwich place, you know. At sandwich shops, bread sits around in mass quantities smelling frustratingly delicious.

Anyway, we had a lunch meeting at work this week and we were ordering Jimmy John’s for everyone. I had heard of their “Unwich” before, which is just a fun way of saying, “lettuce wrap.” After some internet searching and an email conversation with the company, I felt comfortable ordering one. Here’s the scoop.

Through a bunch of internet searching, I learned that most of their meats are gluten-free. Okay, that’s a good start. Since I was such a huge fan of their avocado spread, I contacted them via email and asked if it was gluten-free. I received a reply within an hour or two to learn that their avocado spread IS gluten-free! Happy day! In the same email, I also asked about their tuna salad since I was also a fan of that, but unfortunately, it is not gluten-free.

Their beef, cheese, and tuna salad *are not* gluten-free. (I’m not gonna lie, the fact that the cheese isn’t gluten-free kinda scares me…but oh well… I’m also kinda afraid to ask.)

Their bacon, ham, capicola, salami, turkey, and avocado spread *are* gluten-free.

So I happily ordered an Unwich Turkey Tom with tomatoes and avocado spread. I also ordered the reduced-fat Thinny Chips, which are gluten-free, and slightly better for you than their regular chips. Watch out though, one bag is two servings. I was happy with my selection for the most part; however, I would definitely ask for extra meat next time. I only got two slices of turkey, and it seemed unsubstantial and didn’t keep me full for very long.

A few ordering tips for when you visit: Explain that you have a food allergy. (I find that’s the quickest and easiest way to to convey your point in situations such as these.) Ask for your Unwich to be prepared on its wrapping paper and that it does not come in contact with the actual table where they prepare other sandwiches. If you order a spread, such as mayo or avocado, ask if they will use a clean spatula to minimize the chance of cross-contamination. The meats should be okay as they are because they are pre-measured into portion sizes and placed between parchment paper.

As for the nutritional information, Jimmy John’s has a nifty little nutrition calculator on their website. You can plug in exactly what you’re eating to get the nutrition stats. This is amazing if you are counting calories or are on Weight Watchers. The biggest surprise is that an Unwich with a lean meat like turkey was super duper healthy and extremely low in fat. As soon as I added mayo however, the fat content skyrocketed by about 20g!!! I highly suggest avoiding mayo here – it’s just not worth it. The avocado spread adds only about 1g of fat! Using that instead gives you the creamy texture of a spread without the ridiculous amount of fat. And you can add that to any Unwich you’d like. I personally think turkey and avocado go together like peanut butter and jelly.

I hope you have a Jimmy John’s near you so you can experience the joys of the Unwich!

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