Man Eating On The Go
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7 Sandwiches to Skip, 7 to Enjoy

At many popular sandwich chains, you can unwittingly gobble up a diet disaster -- unless you know how to order. Browse our gallery of some sandwiches that are poor bets -- items that are packed with hidden calories. Then check out other better choices at the same restaurants. And beware the turkey sandwich, which has become a blank canvas for fattening additions of all kinds.

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photo of schlotzky deluxe original
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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.

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photo of schlotzky's chicken breast sandwich
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Schlotzsky's: Better Bet

The Small Turkey GuacamoleSandwich is a better choice at Schlotzsky's. It has only 320 calories -- fewer than half the calories of the "original-style" sandwich -- along with just 7 g fat and 2 g saturated fat. Smoked turkey breast with guacamole, red onion, lettuce and tomato on a whole wheat bun keep the calories and fat in check. But watch out for the sky-high 1,120 mg of sodium.

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photo of blimpie meatball parmigiana
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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 1,490 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.

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photo of blimpie roast beef sandwich
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Blimpie: Better Bet

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.

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photo of arbys roast turkey and ranch sandwich
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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 810 calories, 35 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, and a shocking  2,420 mg sodium.

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photo of arbys roast beef sandwich
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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.

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photo of bk tender crisp sandwich
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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 750 calories, 45 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, and 1,560 mg sodium.

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photo of subway ck bacon ranch melt
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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 610 calories, 20 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, and 1290 mg sodium.

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photo of subway ham sandwich
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Subway: Better Bet

Keep your personal calorie count low with the 6-inch Black Forest Ham Sandwich. This 6-inch sub has 250 calories, 4.5 g fat, 1g saturated fat, and 660 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.

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photo of wendy's asagio ranch chicken
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Wendy’s: Poor Bet

The Homestyle Asiago Ranch Chicken Club 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.

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photo of wendy's ultimate chicken grill
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Wendy’s: Better Bet

Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich boasts only 370 calories, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, and 830 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.

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Sodas And French Fries
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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. 

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 12/17/2020 Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on December 17, 2020

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1)    Photoalto
2)    Photo Courtesy of Schlotzsky's
3)    Photo Courtesy of Schlotzsky's
4)    Anna Webb/WebMD
5)    Photo Courtesy of Blimpie
6)    Photo Courtesy of Arby's

7)    Photo Courtesy of Arby's

8)    Photo Courtesy of Burger King
9)    Photo Courtesy of Burger King
10)    Steve Pomberg/WebMD
11)    Anna Webb/WebMD
12)    Photo courtesy of Subway
13)    Steve Pomberg/WebMD
14)    Photo courtesy of Wendy's
15)    Photo courtesy of Wendy's
16)    Tetra Images

REFERENCES:

American Cancer Society.

Arby's.

Blimpie.

Boston Market.

Burger King.

Caloriecount.com.

FDA: "Lowering Salt in Your Diet."

Institute of Medicine: "Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients."

Schlotzsky's.

Subway Restaurants.

Wendy's.

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on December 17, 2020

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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