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At many popular sandwich chains, you can unwittingly gobble up a diet disaster — unless you know how to order. Browse our gallery of the 10 worst sandwiches, items that are packed with hidden calories. Then check out 10 better choices at the same restaurants. And beware the turkey sandwich, which has become a blank canvas for fattening additions of all kinds.
Schlotzsky's: Worst Bet
The Original Style Turkey Sandwich contains naturally lean turkey meat, a healthy start for a sandwich. And it looks healthy, doesn't it? But it finishes at a whopping 831 calories, 35 g fat, 14 g saturated fat, and 2,529 mg sodium. How? Schlotzsky's adds salami and three types of cheese — all loaded with fat, calories, and sodium.
Schlotzsky's: Better Bet
The Small Smoked Turkey Breast is a better choice at Schlotzsky's. It has only 353 calories -- about half the calories of the "original-style" sandwich — along with a slim 6 g fat and 1 g saturated fat. Turkey, lettuce, tomato, and light mayo on a sourdough roll keep the calories and fat in check. But watch out for the sky-high 1,069 mg of sodium from the smoked turkey.
Quiznos: Worst Bet
The regular-size Tuna Melt Deli Sub, loaded with mayo and cheese, contains more fat than most people should eat in a day. It weighs in at 1,220 calories, 94 g fat, 19 g saturated fat, and 1,370 mg sodium. If you choose the large size, you'll get 1,740 calories, more than most women need in an entire day. The fat jumps up to 135 grams.
Quiznos: Better Bet
A small Honey Bourbon Chicken on Wheat is a slim, tasty choice with only 300 calories, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, and 790 mg sodium. Honey bourbon mustard replaces mayo, for great flavor with very little fat. This small sandwich make you feel full, thanks to high-fiber bread, lettuce, tomato and the satisfying lean protein in the chicken. If you need more to chew on, a piece of fruit can complete this healthy meal.
Blimpie: Worst Bet
Too many 6" BLT Super Stacked sandwiches could make you look like a blimp. This sandwich has 640 calories, 41 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, and 1,440 mg sodium. When ordering at a sub shop, beware of specialty breads, which often have extra calories. And stay clear of the foot-long, double-stuffed subs at Blimpie. These range from 920-1,250 calories.
Blimpie: Better Bet
Order the 6" Roast Beef and Provolone on wheat for a healthy and satisfying sandwich. The tally is: 430 calories, 14 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 980 mg sodium, and 6 g fiber. Keep these other Blimpie subs under 400 calories by skipping the cheese and sauce: ham, turkey, veggie, or club. Have it on wheat for a healthy dose of fiber.
Arby's: Worst Bet
Arby's Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon Market Fresh Sandwich has bacon, turkey, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and Ranch sauce -- all adding up to a colossal 810 calories, 36 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, and a shocking 2,270 mg sodium. "Market Fresh" has a healthful ring, but the fat and calories put this sandwich closer to a greasy burger and fries.
Arby's: Better Bet
A plain, Regular Roast Beef Sandwich is a decent choice for controlling calories. But skip the melted cheese, mayo, and the "horsey" sauce (50 calories and 5 g of fat in a tiny packet.) Arby's sauce adds flavor with zero fat and only 15 calories. The nutrient tally before additions is 360 calories, 14 g fat, 6 g saturated fat. The high sodium content may be a deal-breaker for some at 950 mg.
Burger King: Worst Bet
"Crisp" is a red flag for high-fat, fried food. And the Tender Crisp Chicken Sandwich is a classic example of fried chicken on a bun slathered with creamy, high-fat dressing. It tops out at 800 calories, 46 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, and 1,640 mg sodium — more calories and fat than a Whopper with cheese.
Burger King: Best Bet
The TenderGrill Chicken Sandwich on a Ciabatta bun is a juicy, grilled chicken filet topped with lettuce and tomato. Dressed with mayo, it has 470 calories, 18 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, and 1,100 mg of sodium. Skip the mayo for a slender 370 calorie sandwich. Pickles, onions, and mustard add kick without too many extra calories.
Panera: Worst Bet
The Signature Chipotle Chicken on Artisan French Bread contains 830 calories, 37 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, and 2,180 mg of sodium. That's the daily sodium limit for healthy adults. The special saucer, bacon, and cheddar help turn chicken, a lean type of protein, into a calorie bomb. Unfortunately, many of the hot panini, signature, and café sandwiches hit the 700-900 calorie range.
Panera: Best Bet
Smoked Turkey on Whole Grain Bread is a better choice at Panera. The restaurant uses 99% fat-free turkey and adds lettuce, tomato, mayo, and mustard for 560 calories, 17 g fat, 2.5 g sat.fat, and 1,960 mg sodium. Get this sandwich below 500 by holding the mayo. Hats off to Panera for offering an apple or fruit salad as a side dish instead of bread or chips.
Boston Market: Worst Bet
The Homestyle Meatloaf and Cheddar Sandwich sounds wholesome, but "hearty" or just plain "fattening" might be better descriptions. It contains 940 calories, 40 g fat, and 18 g of saturated fat – the daily limit of this unhealthy fat for most people. With 2,430 mg of sodium, it tops the daily limit for healthy adults (2,300 mg).
Boston Market: Better Bet
The Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich is a slim and tasty choice at Boston Market. Roasting the chicken makes it moist and tender. If you take off the skin and the top slice of bread to create an open-face sandwich, it comes in at only 320 calories, 8 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, and 1,630 mg of sodium. Choose a multi-grain bread to boost the fiber and help you feel full longer.
Subway: Worst Bet
The 6" Double Meatball Marinara with Cheese sandwich is a fatty choice at a restaurant better-known for its healthy choices and its weight-conscious spokesperson, Jared. This 6-inch sub weighs in at an enormous 860 calories, 42 g fat, 18 g saturated fat, and 2,480 mg sodium. And don't let the occasional $5 foot-long special at Subway tempt you into overeating any of their sandwiches.
Subway: Best Bets
Keep your personal calorie count low with the 6" Black Forest Ham Sandwich or one of Subway's many other 6-inch sandwiches with 6 grams of fat or less. The restaurant shines in low-calorie choices: roast chicken, roast beef, club, turkey breast, turkey breast and ham, veggie delight, or sweet onion chicken teriyaki. Top them with lots of veggies to keep them in the range of 230-380 calories.
McDonald's: Worst Bet
The Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich is about what you'd expect from a restaurant better know for burgers and fries. Fried chicken, bacon, and mayo push this to 620 calories, 29 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, and 1,200 mg of sodium. The honey wheat roll, lettuce, and tomato are healthful touches. Get grilled chicken, instead of fried; mustard instead of mayo, and this becomes a better choice from this fast-food giant.
McDonald's: Best Bet
The Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Wrap pleases the palate without plumping your waistline. Each flour tortilla contains grilled chicken, shredded cheese, and lettuce for 250 calories, 8 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, and 650 mg sodium. Ranch or chipotle versions have just a few more calories. Add a fruit and walnut salad, chock full of apples, for 210 calories and a meal under 500 calories.
Wendy's: Worst Bet
The Asiago Ranch Chicken Club Sandwich can turn a quick lunch into a fatty affair that lingers on your hips. Wendy's tops their breaded, fried filet with 3 strips of bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo for 660 calories, 33 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, and 1,650 mg of sodium. If you swap the mayo for honey
Wendy's: Best Bet
Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich boasts only 360 calories, 7 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, and 1,110 mg of sodium. This simple yet satisfying sandwich of grilled chicken, lettuce, and tomato is topped off with tangy honey mustard instead of slathered with high-fat mayo — for a dietitian's delight.
Side Dishes and Drinks Count, Too
Before you order, glance at the calorie listing to be sure your choice is a "best bet." And watch menu items that come with a sandwich. Sidekicks that send the calories soaring include giant drinks, fries, chips, and salads loaded with dressing. Better bets are non-calorie drinks, fat-free milk, water, and sides that contain fruits and veggies.
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