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10 Worst Fast-Food Sandwiches: Unhealthy Choices in Pictures

  • Reviewed By: Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
Reviewed on 5/29/2018

7 Sandwiches to Skip, 7 to Enjoy

A man eating a sandwich while walking to work.

At many popular sandwich chains, you can unwittingly gobble up a diet disaster -- unless you know how to order. Browse our gallery of the 7 sandwiches that are poor bets -- items that are packed with hidden calories. Then check out 7 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: Poor Bet

Photo of Schlotzky's Deluxe Original-Style Sandwich.

The medium-sized Deluxe Original-Style Sandwich has double servings of smoked ham, two kinds of salami, and three types of cheese. Layered in between, there are a few healthy things -- like black olives, red onion, lettuce, and tomato -- but that's not enough to offset the fat, calories, and sodium. All that meat and cheese equals a whopping 980 calories, 47 g fat, 19 g saturated fat, and 3,820 mg sodium.

Schlotzsky's: Better Bet

Photo of Schlotzky's Small Chicken Breast Sandwich.

The Small Chicken Breast Sandwich is a better choice at Schlotzsky's. It has only 330 calories -- fewer than half the calories of the "original-style" sandwich -- along with a slim 2 g fat and no saturated fat. Chicken, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and fat-free spicy ranch dressing on a sourdough bun keep the calories and fat in check. But watch out for the sky-high 1,150 mg of sodium.

Blimpie: Poor Bet

Photo of Blimpie Meatball Parmigiana.

Again, meatballs are bad news. The large Meatball Parmigiana has beef and pork blended meatballs covered in marinara sauce, melted provolone, and sprinkled Parmesan. All that meat and cheese equals 1,490 calories, 78 g fat, 32 g saturated fat, and 4,170 mg sodium. When ordering at a restaurant, beware of specialty breads, which often have extra calories.

Blimpie: Better Bet

Photo of Blimpie 6-inch Roast Beef and Provolone.

Order the 6-inch Roast Beef and Provolone on wheat for a healthy and satisfying sandwich. The tally is: 460 calories, 14 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 1350 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: Poor Bet

Photo of Arby's Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon Market Fresh Sandwich.

Arby's Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon Sandwich has bacon, turkey, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and ranch sauce. It all adds up to a colossal 800 calories, 34 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, and a shocking 2,420 mg sodium.

Arby's: Better Bet

Photo of Arby's Regular Roast Beef Sandwich.

A plain, Roast Beef Classic 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, and 5 g saturated fat. The high sodium content may be a deal-breaker for some at 970 mg.

Burger King: Poor Bet

Photo of Burger King's TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich.

"Crisp" is a red flag for high-fat, fried food. And the TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich is a classic example of fried chicken on a bun slathered with creamy, high-fat dressing. It tops out at 670 calories, 41 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, and 1,080 mg sodium.

Burger King: Best Bet

Photo of Burger King's Tender Grill Chicken Sandwich.

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, 19 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, and 850 mg of sodium. Skip the mayo for a slender 320 calorie sandwich. Pickles, onions, and mustard add kick without too many extra calories.

Boston Market: Poor Bet

Photo of Boston Market's Homestyle Meatloaf Carver Sandwich.

The Homestyle Meatloaf Carver Sandwich sounds wholesome, but "hearty" or just plain "fattening" might be better descriptions. It has 960 calories, 49 g fat, and 23 g of saturated fat -- the daily limit of this unhealthy fat for most people. With 1,990 mg of sodium, it nearly tops the daily limit for healthy adults (2,300 mg).

Boston Market: Better Bet

Photo of Boston Market's Pulled BBQ Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich.

The Pulled BBQ Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich is a tasty choice at Boston Market. Roasting the chicken makes it moist and tender. It's relatively healthy compared to some of the other choices. It has 730 calories, 28 g fat, and 13 g saturated fat. But it has a whopping 1,990 mg of sodium. Take off the top layer of bread to cut calories or eat half and save half for another meal.

Subway: Poor Bet

Photo of Subway's 6-inch Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt.

The 6-inch Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt iis a fatty choice at a restaurant better known for its healthy options. This 6-inch sub weighs in at 590 calories, 30 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, and 1,360 mg sodium.

Subway: Better Bet

Photo of Subway's 6-inch Black Forest Ham Sandwich.

Keep your personal calorie count low with the 6-inch Black Forest Ham Sandwich. This 6-inch sub has 290 calories, 4.5 g fat, 1g saturated fat, and 800 mg sodium. The restaurant has other 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.

Wendy's: Poor Bet

Photo of Wendy's Asiago Ranch Club With Homestyle Chicken.

The Asiago Ranch Club With Homestyle Chicken 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 690 calories, 36 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, and 1,630 mg of sodium.

Wendy's: Better Bet

Photo of Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich.

Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich boasts only 390 calories, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, and 1,080 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

Photo of soda and fries.

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 side dish. 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 with fruits and veggies.

10 Worst Fast-Food Sandwiches: Unhealthy Choices in Pictures

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