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
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
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
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 1,120 calories, 58 g fat, 26 g saturated fat, and 3,640 mg sodium. When ordering at a restaurant, beware of specialty breads, which often have extra calories.
Blimpie: Better Bet
Order the 6-inch Roast Beef and Provolone on wheat for a healthy and satisfying sandwich. The tally is: 430 calories, 16 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 970 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
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
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
“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 660 calories, 40 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, and 1,220 mg sodium.
Burger King: Better Bet
The Tender Grill Chicken Sandwich on a Ciabatta bun is a juicy, grilled chicken filet topped with lettuce and tomato. Dressed with mayo, it has 420 calories, 18 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, and 700 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
The Homestyle Meatloaf CarverSandwich sounds wholesome, but “hearty” or just plain “fattening” might be better descriptions. It has 910 calories, 35 g fat, and 16 g of saturated fat — the daily limit of this unhealthy fat for most people. With 1,980 mg of sodium, it nearly tops the daily limit for healthy adults (2,300 mg).
Boston Market: Better Bet
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 750 calories, 23 g fat, and 9 g saturated fat. But it has a whopping 1,890 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
The 6-inch Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt is a fatty choice at a restaurant better known for its healthy options. This 6-inch sub weighs in at 600 calories, 29 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, and 1,450 mg sodium.
Subway: Better Bet
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
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 650 calories, 33 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, and 1,550 mg of sodium.
Wendy’s: Better Bet
Wendy’s Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich boasts only 340 calories, 9 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, and 730 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 “better 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.