Arby's is best known for its delicious, juicy roast beef sandwiches and crispy curly fries. And although these mouth-watering items are great comfort food when you're in a hurry and don't have the time or energy to cook, many items like these on Arby's menu are on the high side when it comes to calories, saturated fat, and sodium.
Thankfully, there are still orders you can make at Arby's if you need something healthier on days when you're in a hurry. To learn more about these options, we talked with Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our Expert Medical Board. According to Goodson, the top pick at Arby's for those looking for something a bit on the healthier side would be the Roast Beef Gyro!
Read on to learn more about why this is one of the healthier options at Arby's, and for more fast food tips check out 6 Fast Food Order To Avoid if You Have High Blood Pressure.
Arby's is known for its delicious roast beef, but many of the roast beef options are loaded with saturated fat and sodium. Plus, they don't come with many other nutrients since they're served without any vegetable toppings.
For example, the Arby's Half Pound Beef 'n Cheddar is loaded with 740 calories, 39 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, and 2,530 milligrams of sodium. This is why Goodson suggests that if you're still craving roast beef, opt for the Roast Beef Gyro instead!
"If you are looking for the healthiest menu item at Arby's, you are going to have to surpass many of the traditional roast beef sandwiches and go with the gyro," she says. The Roast Beef Gyro still has some saturated fat and sodium, but when compared to something like the Beef 'n Cheddar, you're definitely getting the healthier option.
When it comes to fast food, sodium, and saturated fat are two of the biggest problems and are oftentimes found in shocking amounts in your favorite fast food items. While saturated fat in small amounts is normally okay, larger amounts of saturated fat on a consistent basis can lead to higher cholesterol and other heart-related issues.
The American Heart Association recommends staying at 13 grams of saturated fat a day or less, but many fast food sandwiches (like the Arby's Beef 'n Cheddar) exceed this number in just one meal. Similarly, too much sodium over time can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and even stroke, according to Harvard School of Public Health.
A benefit of the Roast Beef Gyro over many of Arby's other roast beef sandwiches is that it comes with added nutrient-dense ingredients.
"Most Arby's sandwiches are nothing but meat and bread, but the ideal sandwich should have color added to it," says Goodson. "This flatbread is layered with roast beef gyro Sauce, gyro Seasoning, red onion, tomatoes, and shredded lettuce, helping this wrap boast 24 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber."
Goodson also suggests that "if you want to cut back on the fat and calories, consider getting the sauce on the side and just applying a small amount."
At the end of the day, although it may seem like it's impossible to find healthier options at fast food restaurants, this isn't necessarily the case. If you know what to look for and certain items to avoid, you can feel better prepared next time you're in the drive-thru.