10 Worst Fast-Food Sandwiches: Unhealthy Choices in Pictures

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 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

Photo of Schlotzky's Deluxe Original-Style Sandwich.

The 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, 18 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: Worst 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 1,120 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

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: 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: Worst Bet

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

Arby's Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon Market Fresh Sandwich has bacon, turkey, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and ranch sauce -- all adding up to a colossal 800 calories, 34 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, and a shocking 2,420 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

Photo of Arby's Regular Roast Beef Sandwich.

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, 5 g saturated fat. The high sodium content may be a deal-breaker for some, at 970 mg.

Burger King: Worst 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 660 calories, 40 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, and 1,220 mg sodium -- about the same calories and fat as a Whopper with cheese.

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 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: Worst 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 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

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

The Pulled BBQ Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich 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).

Subway: Worst Bet

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

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 1,440 mg sodium.

Subway: Best Bets

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 219 calories, 4.5 g fat, 1 g 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: Worst 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 650 calories, 33 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, and 1,550 mg of sodium. If you swap the mayo for honey mustard and go grilled, you can slim down this club sandwich to about 530 calories.

Wendy's: Best Bet

Photo of Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich.

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

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.

Reviewed by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on 5/31/2016

10 Worst Fast-Food Sandwiches: Unhealthy Choices in Pictures

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