Arby's, Subway, and Chicken Salad: Where's The Grapes?

Arby's Chicken Salad Sandwich

May 17, 2011   35 Comments

Check out this sandwich! Guess where it is from? No, not my kitchen - this is a professional photo of an Arby's chicken salad sandwich.

Notice all the healthy looking elements - lettuce, grapes, apples, maybe a little celery, and whole grain bread! Honestly, I couldn't believe that Arby's - famous for roast beef on bread - could create such a sandwich.

How did I learn about this sandwich? Well, Arby's contacted me with an offer of TWO free chicken salad sandwiches to do a taste-off. Yes, they sent me a gift certificate to both Arby's and Subway and asked me to compare the products.

There is nothing Snack Girl likes better than free sandwiches. Also, I thought I could see if these healthy offerings live up to their hype.

Here is the Arby's Grilled Chicken and Pecan sandwich:

arbysme

Holy bananas, Batman! What happened to all those lovely grapes and apple bits?

Nutritional Facts:

840 calories, 44 g fat, 82 g carbohydrates, 34 g protein, 6 g fiber, 1220 mg sodium, 23 Points+

For 1/2 sandwich = 420 calories, 22 g fat, 41 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 3 g fiber, 620 mg sodium, 11 Points+

The taste was very good, but it lacked all those apple, grape, and celery chunks that I was looking forward to - also, mine didn't have one pecan in it. They make it at the store so I bet they vary quite a bit.

Here is the Subway Orchard Chicken Salad Sandwich:

subwayme

Nutritional Facts:

For Footlong version: 730 calories, 16 g fat, 108 g carbohydrates, 40 g protein, 12 g fiber, 1110 mg sodium, 19 Points+

For 6 inch version: 370 calories, 8 g fat, 54 g carbohydrates, 20 g protein, 6.0 g fiber, 560 mg sodium, 9 Points+

This tasted very sweet - they use sweetened dried cranberries - and frankly they didn't work. This also lacked much celery or apples, and the chicken was tasteless. Also, the bread was soggy and the lettuce wasn't as nice as Arby's.

My Conclusion

Don't you dare eat an entire Arby's or Subway Footlong in one sitting unless you are a construction worker. These portion sizes are seriously out of control.

On average an adult is supposed to eat about 2000 calories per day. You are already at 840 and you haven't even touched that 24 ounce Coke yet.

Don't do it!

Now that you have put away half of your Arby's sandwich until tomorrow - umm, why is there so MUCH mayonnaise and chicken and so few fruits and veggies? This sandwich does not look as advertised and while it tasted great - it needs more of the healthy element that we were promised in the promotional photo.

Subway's sandwich is making up for its lack of fat (good going Subway) by an increased amount of sugar (awwwww :(.

Notice that it's 6 inch version has 54 grams of carbohydrates versus Arby's 41 grams. You can taste the sugar, and it really doesn't belong in a chicken salad sandwich.

You know, I really like my local sandwich shop. Their sandwiches are much fresher - and I like supporting small businesses. But, there is a cost difference:

  • 6 dollars local sandwich shop
  • 5 dollars (Footlong) Subway
  • 4.60 Arby's

Maybe I'll just make my own chicken salad :) Sounds like a great post for Snack Girl.

This product was received for review consideration. No other compensation was provided.

What do you think of these new chicken salad sandwiches?

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35 Comments:

I am sad to say that the bottom line here is -- you just can't eat out and expect restaurants to care as much about your health as you do. It stinks, but this obviously shows they don't care about your health, only tricking you if you are health conscious. Those calorie counts are ridiculous!

on May 17, 2011

I tried the Subway version when it was out briefly last year. I couldn't finish it, and not because of the size - it tasted like bad chicken salad someone had mixed candy into. It was dreadful.

on May 17, 2011

I was soooo looking forward to the Chicken Salad at Subway and was so disappointed when I did! No grapes, no pecans, no celery and a few cranberries. I'll continue to make my own at home! What a disappointment.....

on May 17, 2011

I just had a baby so I've been home quite a lot and my mother brought me lunch from subway. We both had the six inch chicken salad. It had fat chunks of apple and juicy- yet I agree, somewhat bland tasting chicken. On the whole It was tasty and filling but tended to fall out the the somewhat mushy bread it came it. I somehow think Quiznos could do this better with their "Toasty" sandwiches. But by happy accident i do have both chicken and pecans at home so I might whip up some chicken salad just to do a comparison. I might even do a video blog about it just to say thank you for all the support and great advice on diet you've shared with me through my pregnancy. Oh and fyi I gained 13 pounds and lost 18, yay me:)

on May 17, 2011

Great article. Too much sodium, too. Unless an emergency I like to make my own food so that I know what's in it.

on May 17, 2011

I try to avoid sandwiches like that unless they are from a small family owned sub shop. The quantity of mayo terrifies me.

on May 17, 2011

I love chicken salad but I haven't had any in probably a year. I would rather make my own so I know what is in it. It is sad as consumers the restaurant industry cannot be trusted.

on May 17, 2011

The commercials ALWAYS make the food looks so good, too bad reality bites! I have tried both the Arby's & Subway sandwiches you reviewed... sadly I would never purchase either one again. Brain fart for the day, too bad Jamie Oliver could not be appointed as fast food czar in the US... perhaps fast food would taste better and actually be way more healthy for us all? X-D

on May 17, 2011

i make my own chicken salad with chopped chicken breast, small amount of fat free mayo, plain greek yogurt, chopped celery and red onion and a few dried cranberries. It tasted best when it is refrigerated overnight and the flavors blend together. mmmmmmgood:)

on May 17, 2011

Glad I do not live near an Arby's or a Subway Sandwich shop.

on May 17, 2011

i've never really been a fan of creamy dressed chicken/tuna/egg salads. i just prefer my meat plain (and then covered in mustard). it seems like it'd be a better idea to mix the meat w/ greek yogurt, celery, & grapes/apples/or cranberries.
however, when in a jam, i'll always choose subway because i know that i can customize a pretty healthy dish (salad w/ chicken & egg-whites!)

on May 17, 2011

I had the Subway version last week and the chicken was mushy! I kept thinking that they mixed in some tuna because it was in such small pieces - not at all large chicken pieces like you'd expect in a chicken salad sandwich.

on May 17, 2011

I had tried the Subway version last year and never finished it because it was still frozen! Sooo gross!

on May 17, 2011

Shame on both Arby's and Subway in deceiving the average consumer in thinking that what they're getting is an alternative to the fat laden, fried foods offered by some other fast foods places. Their's is seriously no better!

on May 17, 2011

My favorite and only chicken salad sandwich I will purchase in chick-fil-A.

on May 17, 2011

DO you know the points plus amount of the chicken salad at NEWK'S EXPRESS CAFE ? It is byfar the best chicken salad I have ever put in my mouth!!!

on May 17, 2011

What a shame that you received that disgusting looking sandwhich from Arby's. I've never been an Arby's fan until I tried their Chicken Salad sandwhich and when I order it, it always looks like the one in their promo picture. It really is good and delicious when made properly with lots of grapes and pecans! If you try another location, maybe they'll make it the right way for you. :)

on May 17, 2011

I love chicken salad but am always afraid to order it from restaurants due to inconsistency. I finally found a recipe for a low cal chicken salad that is simply divine. I found it through Cooking Light -- http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pineapple-chicken-salad-pitas-10000001611697/

I was a little skeptical of the pineapples at first, but everyone I've served it to has LOVED it. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

on May 17, 2011

Wow, talk about false advertising for both of those companies - yuck! The whole appeal of those sandwiches are the crisp apple, crunch celery & juicy grapes. Booo Arby's & Subway!

on May 17, 2011

What startles me the most is the number of calories in that simple Arby's sandwich! Major yikes. I can't find an ingredients list anywhere, but I have to bet real mayonnaise must be involved. How else could so many healthy ingredients become such a disaster?

on May 17, 2011

I was headed to Subway sooner or later to go try out their Chicken Salad, but you saved me a trip! For my homemade version, I found a new Mayo with Olive Oil and Cracked Pepper the other day (Kraft) at my local Wal Mart and it is fantastic in Chicken Salad. I use just enough to bind the salad together, and it's perfect a perfect bite of pepper and creamy mayo no matter what you add to the chicken. My grandmother's chicken salad recipe that I enjoy includes a box of prepared rice-a-roni, mushrooms, celery, chicken, artichoke hearts, and curry powder with a touch of mayo. It's a quirky and great combo if you like a departure from your 'normal' chicken salad.

on May 17, 2011

Not only is it 840 calories, but 47% of them are from fat. The sodium is out of the ballpark at 1220 mg when over half of Americans should be eating only 1500 mg per day. Even at 2300 mg, that's over half the allowance.

on May 17, 2011

Funny thing--the best subs in my area are from a hole in the wall "liquor store" type market that has a submarine sandwich food service part to it. Otherwise I'll make my own sandwiches--I love the new Oroweat "Healthfull" breads that are higher in protein and fiber--very filling for 80 calories a slice.

As for the calorie counts, "On average an adult is supposed to eat about 2000 calories per day." Yes, and that's the average of men AND women adults... so petite five feet tall women like me will gain weight on more than 1500 if sedentary (I exercise daily--not only do I like it, but it allows me to eat 1700 or 1800 calories depending on how much I do, and I like to eat.) Most women, unless you're six feet tall, can't eat 2000 calories a day unless they're very active.... which makes the foot long or entire sandwich figures even weirder!

on May 17, 2011

Oh that sandwich looks pathetic! I just hate false advertising. I've been hooked on the new salads at potbelly lately. I especially enjoy the one called "Uptown Salad" that comes with grapes, apples, dried cranberries and walnuts. I order mine without chicken most of the time. It is absolutely delicious and made with all fresh ingredients! If you leave out the blue cheese and get it with nonfat dressing, it is only 337 calories!

on May 17, 2011

I am not a fan of Subway. My cousin, her boyfriend, and her mother pretty much got food poisoning from them.
I wish, wish, wish that there was a food chain that actually served their food with care, health, and love. But sadly there isn't. Maybe one of these days...

on May 17, 2011

Our local Arbys in Columbus, Ohio used to offer the chicken salad Market Sandwiches and Wraps. They looked exactly like the advertising photo pictured at the head of this blog, and were absolutly delicious! Chicken breast, celery, Jonathon apples, red grapes, pecans, and Hellman's mayonnaise. Unfortunately, the chicken salad is no longer available at company operated stores, and there are no independent franchises offering it in our market area. What a shame! It was the only reasonably healthy fast food product in our market. At the risk of sounding rude, and I'm really not, why would any of you who do not like mayonnaise and complain about the fat content of food even consider ordering it? Instead of criticizing something you have pre-determined to dislike, why not order something else, or stay home and make something that you like?

on May 20, 2011

I was just talking about the subway sandwich at work today and wondered if it was any good. Now I know. I was hoping it would be good, but I should have know better. Nothing tastes as good as homemade.

on May 20, 2011

OMG, wow. I have not tried the Arby's. One thing I have noticed about Subway. You get the best sandwiches if you don't go to one in the mall. The mall I am sure has to much rent to pay, but if you go to others especially by the highschool ( They make tons of money during the school year, open campus and right across the street)You sandwich is almost always nicely done. And I never eat a foot long. :) Arbys here also in the mall.

on May 20, 2011

I was really dissapointed in Arby's Chicken Salad Sandwich. Way too much bread for the portion of chicken salad, not one pecan in it, I think there were maybe two grape halves, I didn't see or taste any apple, one tiny piece of celery. All this big hype, it was not even that good tasting. I wouldn't get it again even if I had a coupon for a free one!

on May 23, 2011

I am very shocked by the calorie content in this sandwich. Here I've been ordering it exclusively for a few weeks now just to find this out! But where do they sneak the calories in this sandwich??? Mine always looks just like the one in the marketing image and is laden with grapes, apples, pecans, grilled chicken chunks, green leaf lettuce on whole grain bread. Even if there were two Tablespoons of salad dressing in it, that'd only add about 140 calories according to my jar in my fridge. Are the calories in the bread and pecans? I just don't get it...they must add calories in some special calorie sauce they put on the sandwich.

on May 25, 2011

I've had the Arby's chicken salad sandwich in both Buffalo NY and Baltimore MD areas. They were consistent; the bread was nutty and grainy, and both of my sandwiches contained a small amount of nuts and fruit. It was delicious! After reading about it's high calorie and fat content though, Im terribly disappointed to know that even 1/2 sandwich cannot be incorporated into my diet. Seems that chicken, fruit, and whole grain could be had in a lower calorie version.

on June 2, 2011

The subway one was really mushy to me. the grapes got lost in the mayo. I couldn't finish it and i usually do not ind subway..

on June 5, 2011

I have had the Arby's chicken salad sandwhich several times, always thought it was tasty but I had no idea how awful it was for me till I read your article! Never getting that again!

on June 18, 2012

Arby's = few grapes no pecans and chicken salad is diffent every time. Bottom line would be to find this item some other place.

on September 6, 2012

I actually work at an Arby's. I've also made the chicken salad sandwich portions numerous times. You have to use two pounds of mayonnaise along with the apples, grapes, pecans, and celery. Whenever I make it it comes out to being about 24 pre-portioned sections (so 24 sandwiches) and they all weight at about four ounces. The sizes for the apples, grapes and celery are roughly eigh ounces and the pecans I believe are eight as well. I haven't made it for a while. But anyway whenever I have made it and portioned it out there are TONS of the apples, grapes, celery and the chicken (which are cube sized). The fatty part of the sandwich is the mayonnaise because we don't have a specific mayonnaise for the sandwich so it's the same mayonnaise as what comes on the turkey and Swiss or grand turkey club. Maybe as a review for the company to request light mayonnaise for the sandwich, though it is only summer time special. I don't eat it because when I want chicken salad sandwiches I don't like celery, apples or grapes in it. Just plain old shredded chicken and mayonnaise. Lol. But we have tons of people that come in and order it and even ask for it long after its gone or way before we are even advertising it

on June 22, 2015


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