11 Best & Worst Sandwiches at Arby's, According to Dietitians
Brothers Forrest and Leroy Raffel opened Arby's back in 1964 with the goal of serving up a fast-food option that was different than traditional hamburgers. The duo landed on the idea of offering roast beef sandwiches and built a successful franchise that's been around for over half a century. Arby's menu is filled with a variety of sandwiches, ranging from wraps to sliders to gyros.
While the fast-food chain, famous for its "We Have the Meats" slogan, has become a staple for quick and delicious sandwiches, you may be wondering what the nutritional value is of a pile of beef stacked inches high between a fluffy bun.
Eating at any fast-food restaurant will always present a challenge to keep your menu choices healthy, as these chains tend to increase calories, salt, and fat to make sure your food is super tasty, and Arby's is no exception. The good thing is that there are some options you can choose at Arby's that are better than others. We spoke to dietitians and nutrition experts to find out their recommendations when eating at this beloved fast-food sandwich chain. While eating out every once in a while is no big deal, if you're regularly frequenting Arby's and making one of these choices on the worst list, you might consider swapping it for one of the options on our best list.
How to order the healthiest sandwiches at Arby's.
There are a few key things you can focus on to make a healthier choice when eating at Arby's:
- Grilled options: Choosing a grilled protein over an option that's fried is going to save you calories, unhealthy fat, and added sodium. Opting for grilled chicken, for example, is going to serve as a lean protein source without the added calories. We ranked the amount of proteins you're getting from a lean protein source in our assessment of these best and worst menu items at Arby's.
- Sodium: There isn't a good way around added salt when eating at fast food restaurants. Even if you do the best you can, your sodium intake is probably going to be higher than if you were going to make the same dish at home. We focused on sodium content as one option that can make dining at Arby's better — or worse — for you
- Sneaky calories: Added calories from condiments, sauce, and cooking oils can really add up at a fast food joint. Look for options that do not have added sauce or condiments or ask for your sandwich without those additions. We ranked these items by calories to determine which options are the best and worst sandwiches at Arby's.
Let's find out exactly what dietitians have to say about the best and worst healthy menu choices at Arby's. Read on, and for more, don't miss 8 Healthiest Fast-Food Sandwiches, According to RDs.
The 3 Best Sandwiches at Arby's
Best: Classic Roast Beef Sandwich
"You can't go wrong with the classic roast beef sandwich from Arby's! It's a simple sandwich that doesn't hide the roast beef in any sauces or toppings. The classic roast beef sandwich is also one of the lowest-calorie sandwiches on the menu so if you are seeking a lighter option, this is the choice for you. This warm sandwich provides 360 calories, 23 grams of protein, and 37 grams of carbohydrates," recommends Katie Schimmelpfenning, RD, Founder of Eat Swim Win.
Best: Classic Chicken Sandwich
It's not easy to find a high fiber, low saturated fat choice at fast food joints. We love to recommend these more balanced options when we can find them! For a lighter and lower fat choice, I recommend the Classic Chicken sandwich which provides 510 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, 24 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber," says Sheri Berger, RDN, CDCES, a consultant for Consumer Health Digest.
Best: Roast Beef Sliders
We love that you can customize how many sliders you want to eat in your order here. With just 167 calories per slider, even choosing two or three for your meal can still offer a low-calorie, lower-fat option that provides a hearty source of protein to keep you full and give this meal some extra staying power.
The 8 Worst Sandwiches at Arby's
Worst: Three Cheese and Bacon Sandwich
I don't think anyone is convincing themselves that the three cheese and bacon is a healthy option at Arby's, and for a good reason. In 760 calories, this sandwich packs in 42 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, and 2,230 milligrams of sodium. This sandwich is also lacking fiber with a measly 2 grams per sandwich.
I might recommend swapping a regular bun for a whole grain option and reducing some of the cheese and bacon on top to cut back on the total fat and sodium in this order.
Worst: Arby's Crispy Chicken Club Wrap
The chicken sandwiches and wraps from Arby's can be very different nutritionally, so pay attention, cautions Berger. The Arby's Crispy Chicken Club wrap is an item I would caution against since it is one of the highest calorie choices with 880 calories and contains more saturated fat than the American Heart Association recommends per day for most people at 14 g in this sandwich.
Worst: Half Pound French Dip n' Swiss Sandwich
This sandwich clocks in at 790 calories and 3,490 milligrams of sodium. That is nearly a day and a half's worth of added salt packed into one meal. With 57 grams of protein, we love the emphasis on a filling macronutrient, however, it's not a lean source of protein considering you will also be taking in 36 grams of total fat and 16 grams of saturated fat.
Worst: The Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon Sandwich
This sandwich has 810 calories alone before you are even adding a side or beverage, says Michelle Rauch, MS, RDN, a dietitian for the Actors Fund in the NYC Metro Area. "This sandwich features not only bacon, ranch sauce, and cheddar cheese which should make it no surprise that the fat content and sodium content is also off the charts. The Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon Sandwich contains 35 grams of total fat, and 10 of which are saturated fat. Diets high in saturated fat have been associated with increased cardiovascular disease and risk of strokes," she adds.
You can mitigate the nutritional damage by holding the bacon, ranch sauce, and cheddar cheese and opting for just a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato, Raunch suggests.
Worst: Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich
The Corned Beef Reuben sandwich at Arby's is considered unhealthy due to its high sodium content, says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT of One Pot Wellness. Chun shares that this sandwich has almost 2,400 milligrams of sodium which is more than the USDA's daily recommended limit of sodium.
Extra salt in the diet can be associated with conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Most commercially prepared corned beef contains sodium nitrite as an additive, which contributes to the sodium content but mainly functions as a preservative for processed meats, Chun comments.
Worst: Half Pound Roast Beef
While we can appreciate the 48 grams of protein in this half-pound, roast beef sandwich, we don't love the lack of fiber and nearly a day's worth of sodium in this menu order. Serving the sandwich up on white bread really cuts back on any possibility of having a source of fiber in this meal. While you could always switch it out for a whole-grain option, you will still be left with 2,020 milligrams of sodium.
Worst: Half Pound Beef 'n Cheddar sandwich
I would recommend individuals pass on the Half Pound Beef 'n Cheddar sandwich at Arby's, Mandy Tyler, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, LD tells us. "The half-pound serving of roast beef topped with cheddar cheese sauce and Red Ranch leads to a sandwich that is high in both saturated fat (14 grams) and sodium (2,530 milligrams). Individuals would be better off choosing the classic roast beef sandwich and then enjoying a healthy snack later in the day," she adds.
Worst: Roast Turkey and Swiss Sandwich
A roast turkey and Swiss sandwich may sound like lighter fare at first glance, but when you take a deeper look at the nutrition facts you'll find that this meal contains 710 calories making it one of the higher-calorie options on the sandwich menu. In addition to calories, you will also find 1,930 milligrams of sodium in the sandwich which is nearly your recommended daily allowance for added salt in one day.