The Startling Reality Of Potbelly's Bigs Mama's Meatball Sandwich

If you were to ask a die-hard sandwich lover for a list of their top five sandwich shops, there's a pretty good chance they'll include Potbelly. This sandwich shop got its start in Chicago's Lincoln Park in 1977, and by 2005, Potbelly had more than 100 locations across the United States (via Potbelly Sandwich Works).

Today, Potbelly's menu boasts nearly 20 different sandwiches, from vegetarian options all the way to classics like the Italian sub, chicken salad, and grilled cheese. However, if you were to look at Potbelly's online menu, you might notice that its nutrition symbols include "sodium warning." We don't know about you, but that seems a little worrisome.

Things get even more concerning when you take a closer look at the nutritional information for Potbelly's Bigs Mama's Meatball sandwich. Sure, you can customize the sandwich to make it a little less sodium-heavy, but for the sake of blowing your mind, let's look at the original Bigs Mama's Meatball sandwich.

This Potbelly sandwich packs in half your daily calories

According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average person should consume between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day. Of course, this number is influenced by weight, age, sex, and activity, but we're just going to use generalities to make things simpler.

When you plug Potbelly's Bigs Mama's Meatball sandwich into the restaurant's handy dandy nutrition calculator, this sandwich packs a whopping 1350 calories, which is more than half of the average American's daily caloric allotment. The sandwich also contains 2970 mg of sodium — that's 124% of your daily sodium intake, folks. The sandwich's meatballs are the main culprit for these hefty numbers. In fact, the meatballs alone carry 720 calories and 1710 mg of sodium. Yikes.

Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to customize this sandwich. For instance, you can opt for thin-cut bread, pile on the nutritious veggies, or omit the meatballs entirely. None of this is to say you can't order the Bigs Mama's Meatball sandwich, but you should be sure to plan your other meals around it, stay hydrated, and balance your eating with activity.