For many people, the main attraction at their local fast food restaurant isn’t the burgers or fries—it’s the chicken. In fact, countless fast-food chicken sandwiches have become celebrities in their own right as of late, from Popeyes’ highly-anticipated fried chicken sandwich released in 2019 to Wendy’s beloved Spicy Chicken Sandwich. However, when it comes to your health, not all chicken sandwiches are created equal, with many packing high calories, tons of fat and sodium, and even a surprising amount of sugar. Luckily, there’s one fast-food chicken sandwich even dietitians can get behind. So, which sandwich earned experts’ seal of approval?
If you’re looking for a healthy and filling fast-food chicken sandwich, “Subway’s 6-Inch Oven Roasted Chicken sandwich is a great choice, with 270 calories and 23 grams of protein,” says registered dietitian Kristen Rowe, MS, RDN, LDN.
In addition to being relatively low in calories and high in protein, the sandwich boasts an impressive amount of fiber.
“Served on whole grain bread with a selection of six fresh vegetables, it has 5 grams of fiber—a higher content than its chicken sandwich competitors. Fiber is important because it keeps you full longer, lowers blood cholesterol levels, and stabilizes blood sugar,” Rowe explains.
However, registered dietitian nutritionist Harland Adkins, founder of Fast Food Menu Prices, notes that it’s easy to turn Subway’s customizable creations into less-than-healthy fare. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, “Pile the veggies on,” says Adkins, who recommends skipping the iceberg lettuce at Subway’s toppings bar and opting for nutrient-rich baby spinach instead. Adkins also cautions that “Adding cheese and dressings quickly adds on the calories,” so when in doubt, stick to veggies, condiments, and spices like ground pepper, onions, jalapeños, and mustard to add flavor without adding a huge number of calories or fat.
For more insight into how your favorite chicken sandwich stacks up, check out these 27 Fast-Food Chicken Sandwiches—Ranked! and for the latest fast food news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!