Food Fight: Battle of the Fast Food Chicken Salads

Categories: Food Fight

Subwayorchardchickensaladsandwich.jpg
Subway.
I love chicken salad, but it's almost always chock full of calories and fat, usually due to mayonnaise, which is about 80 percent fat on its own. Why? Why must chicken salad be so delicious but so awful for you? It's just not fair.

Does a chicken salad sandwich have to be bad for you to be good? To find out, I pitted Subway's Orchard Chicken Salad Sandwich against Arby's Market Fresh Chicken Salad and Pecan Sandwich.

arbysgrilledchickenandpecansaladsandwich.JPG
Arby's.
Subway

Imagine my surprise when I found out that Subway's Orchard Chicken Salad Sandwich has only 370 calories and eight grams of fat. But is it tasty?

Surprisingly, yes. Chicken, apples, cranberry, raisins, celery and a light mayo make this sandwich deceivingly healthy and delicious. I even got in my veggies by opting for a pile of lettuce, tomato, and cucumbers on top. Mom would be so proud. Unfortunately, the Orchard Chicken Salad Sandwich is a limited-time-only item.

While Subway's Orchard Chicken Salad is tasty, healthy and cheap (at $5 for a footlong), I do have one complaint: The bread sucks. I hate Subway's wheat bread. Am I alone?

Arby's

Also available for a limited time is Arby's new Market Fresh Chicken Salad & Pecan Sandwich, whose commercials boast that it's "not too heavy, not too light. Perfect lunch harmony." Oh really, Arby's? REALLY?

Is it good? Oh hell yes, it's good. But is it good for you? Not a chance. That thick-cut honey wheat bread, while much tastier than Subway's dry and unattractive wheat roll, is probably much worse for you than you think. And there's no light mayo on this bad boy. It's full-fat, all the way. It does have big chunks of chicken, which is nice when compared to Subway's mushier, homogeneous chicken mixture. But Subway's tastes pretty good itself and has 470 fewer calories.

The Winner:

Did you know that Arby's sandwich has more calories and fat than a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese? It's criminal, I tell you.

Stick with Subway. And Arby's, change your commercials. Talking about diet sabotaging...



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13 comments
Jim Ayres
Jim Ayres

My very favorite chicken salad is the Sonoma Chicken Salad found at Costco; 300 calories in a half-cup serving. Add bread and you're somewhere between Subway and Arby's I would guess. But the best chicken salad ever? That tarragon chicken salad Foley's used to serve back when it had a cafe.

Rgwalt
Rgwalt

Sorry Stacy and Katharine, but I actually like the wheat bread at Subway.  I've been eating Subway regularly since high school.  Back in 95, I basically ate Subway 4 nights a week for two years.  Even if the bread doesn't stack up against better fast food (or slow food... or Slow Dough...), it still holds a historical comfort factor for me.

Bruce R
Bruce R

So the chicken is mushy and you hate the wheat bread.  But Subway wins because it's healthier?  According to Subway a 12" sub has 740 calories, not 370.  Since you implied that you paid $5 for yours I assume that's what you got.  If not, it's not fair to compare half of a Subway sandwich to an entire Arby's sandwich. 

And if you know that you hate the wheat bread then why buy it?  I'm thinking it's either because you hate the other breads more, you need more fiber in your diet, or your mother would beat you if she found out you ordered white bread.

Matthew
Matthew

Wait, so the buyer tasting one lost because it was less healthy? Denounce your foodie-ness!

Kylejack
Kylejack

I think I'll stick with the slow food one at Brasil.  Delicious.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Chicken salad. Georgia's Farm to Market. Done.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Never underestimate the power of nostalgia.

Stacy Zane
Stacy Zane

I did get a footlong but I only ate half. I always do that and eat the other half later. 6 inches is enough for me. But thanks for pointing that out. You're right, it's 370 for a half. However, Arby's sandwich is not huge, and rather comparable to a 6 inch Subway sub - as far as size goes. Which is why it's a bit ridiculous that it's 840 calories. Especially when Arby's commercials try to get you to think you're ordering a "lighter" option. And it wins for taste; I just cant justify eating it over Subway's when it's basically the same size and many many calories more. I have my complaints about Subway but I do still like it. 

Matthew
Matthew

Oops, "better tasting."

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

Which is why I still do McDonalds a couple times a year.  And I don't care what anyone has to say about it.

Bruce R
Bruce R

 I used to work at McDonald's.  That was back when they cracked eggs and cooked pancakes on the griddle.  And flipped burgers with a spatula.  I don't think they do that any more.  But I still eat there occasionally.

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