Top 5 Best and Worst Chicken Sandwiches – Is Fast Food Really Fat Food?

The New KFC Double Down Takes on Chicken Sandwiches And Leaves the Bun at Home

I was listening to a radio station this morning on the way to work and the d- jays were talking about the new KFC Double Down bun-less chicken sandwich.  They had gone to their local KFC to try the sandwich and had recorded their reactions.  For those of you who haven’t heard about this new gastronomical delight, it’s 2 boneless white meat chicken filets (grilled or original recipe), 2 pieces of bacon, 2 slices of Monterey jack and pepper cheese, and the Colonel’s sauce, whatever the hell that is.  But NO BUN!

There were two guys and one gal doing the test taste. The two guys are you typical man-guys who think everything tastes better when you fry it and add bacon and cheese. The gal, on the other hand, is into fresh, organic foods and shops at Whole Foods.  But she had agreed (or rather was coerced) to at least take a bite of the sandwich.

The guys dug right in, grunting and groaning.  They were enjoying every bite and basically described it as amazingly delicious and surprisingly not greasy.  The gal relented and took her bite.  Her honest response was that all she could taste was salt. She did not want another bite however, you could hear the two guys eagerly woofing down the remaining bits of their bun-free sandwiches.

As a person on a low sodium diet, I could certainly relate to the gal.  Since I no longer use salt when I cook or on my plate, my awareness to salt has increased immensely.  Foods I once thought weren’t salty, suddenly are now very salty. I wondered if I would feel the same about the Double Down.  I also wondered how much sodium was in this semi-sandwich, so I did a bit of checking on it…

I researched chicken sandwiches from fast food joints to restaurant chains and the results are pretty surprising.  We’ve all been told over and over again the fast food is fat food.  It’s full of fat, calories, and sodium. When we go to a restaurant, we feel like we’re eating closer to homemade and certainly healthier than eating at McDonald’s.  Yet amazingly, the healthiest chicken sandwiches were found at fast food joints while restaurants served up some of the worst offenders. Food for thought, eh?

I’ve decided to share with you my top 5 healthiest chicken sandwiches and my top 5 worst chicken sandwiches. Since I am watching my intake of salt, I’ll indicate the percentage of daily allowance of sodium in parenthesis. (Daily allowance is 2400 mg)…

Top 5 Healthiest Chicken Sandwiches

  1. KFC Tender Roast Sandwich w/o Sauce. This tasty little sandwich has only 300 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 660 mg (28%) of sodium.  You must order it without the sauce.  If you add the sauce, it jumps to 410 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 790 mg (33%) of sodium. That would put it at #7 on my list instead of #1.
  2. The Chik-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich ran a close second. Although it is .5 grams of fat less than the Tender Roast, it has almost double the sodium.  300 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 1120 mg (47%) sodium
  3. Wendy’s Ultimate Chicken Grilled Sandwich. Although the sodium in this sandwich is a little high, it’s still lower than our number 2 but it has double the fat. Still a good choice. 340 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1030 mg (43%) sodium
  4. McDonald’s McChicken Sandwich. Shocked? I never thought that something labeled McAnything would end up on a healthy list but Mickey D’s has pulled it off. If they could lower the fat a little bit, it’d be a home-run.  360 calories, 16 grams of fact, 830 mg (35%) sodium
  5. Sonic Grilled Chicken Sandwich. Sonic blasts in at number five on my chicken sandwich list. This tasty little bugger comes with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and is served on a whole grain wheat bun. Kill the mayo and I bet this sandwich would slide to number 1.  375 calories, 16.2 grams of fat, 955 mg (40%) sodium

Top 5 Worst Chicken Sandwiches

  1. Chili’s Buffalo Chicken Crisper Bites. Who knew that 4 little chicken sliders could pack such a deadly wallop.  This buggers are not only calorie and fat laden, they are loaded with 225% of your daily allowance of sodium.  Even if you shared these, you’d still be eating more than a day’s worth of salt.  You could eat 6 KFC Tender Roasts and still be eating 75% less fat and 27% less sodium.  1,620 calories, 100 grams of fat, 5380 mg (224%) sodium
  2. Cheesecake Factory Grilled Chicken & Avocado Club Sandwich. Although this sandwich is slightly higher in calories than the Chili’s Bites, it has less than half the sodium and 72% less fat.  But don’t let that fool you. It still has almost a full day’s allowance of sodium. In fact, The Cheesecake Factory is notorious for its high calorie, fat, and sodium menu, although they get kudos for keeping the fat content low on this particular sandwich.  1,752 calories, 28 grams of fat, 2309 mg (96%) sodium
  3. Ruby Tuesday’s The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich should be renamed the Ultimate artery clogging sandwich.  This baby has 103% of your daily allowance of sodium and 67 grams of fat! If you really want an Ultimate Chicken Sandwich, go to Wendy’s. You would save over 900 calories, 63 grams of fat, and over half the sodium.  1,222 calories, 67 grams of fat, 2,477 mg (103%) sodium
  4. Applebee’s Zesty Ranch Chicken Sandwich. Although this sandwich is considerably lower in fat than the top 3, they counter that with over 114% of the daily allowance for sodium. Obviously Applebee’s feel that if it’s low in fat, you gotta boost the flavor with more sodium. 1,140 calories, 21 grams of fat, 2,740 mg (114%) sodium
  5. Burger King Tender Crisp Chicken Sandwich. At 800 calories, it’s at the low-end of the offenders but it still packs a whopping 46 grams of fat and 68% of your sodium intake.  And it’s the only fast food joint in my worst top 5 list.  800 calories, 46 grams of fat, 1,640 mg (68%) sodium

There you have my Top 5 Best and Worst Chicken Sandwiches. So the next time you’re hankering for a good, healthy chicken sandwich, you might just wanna check out your neighborhood fast food joint.  But beware, they offer more than one chicken sandwich and not all of them are the healthy ones.  And even the best sandwiches still have at least 1/3rd of you daily intake of sodium so be careful if you are on a low salt or salt-free diet.  If you want to know where the KFC Double Down fell in my list, it landed at number 9 for the Grilled version [46o calories, 23 grams of fat, 1,430 mg (60%) of sodium] and number 12 for Original Recipe version [540 calories, 30 grams of fat, 1,380 mg (58%) sodium].


11 thoughts on “Top 5 Best and Worst Chicken Sandwiches – Is Fast Food Really Fat Food?

  1. Thanks for the information. I wasn’t aware of the good versus bad chicken sandwiches that fast foods offer. Good thing I read this post and from now on, I would stick to the Top 5 Healthiest chicken sandwich.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to share all of this information with us. I still try to limit the sodium in my diet, but when we cook we use sea salt instead of the other stuff. It tastes better, you need less, and from what I’ve read, it’s better for you. Chick-fil-A is YUMMY! Probably not diet friendly, but did you try their peppermint milkshake at Christmas? The fiance bought me one in Virginia on our way to Williamsburg…it was soooooooooooo yummy.

  3. A little tip on chicken from fast-food places: always opt for grilled and not crispy. The grilled has no skin and isn’t fried, so right away you’re taking away at least half of the calories and saturated fats.

    And swap out the mayo for less-fattening toppings like ketchup (15 calories, zero fat) and mustard (zero calories/fat). Oh, and if you have Hardee’s (Carl’s Jr. out here) in your area, give the Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich a try: 400 calories, 6g fat.

    And yes, I’d be willing to give the Double Down a try 🙂

  4. Wait, WHAT? How could a grilled sandwich with healthy avocados be 1,752 calories?! That’s EXACTLY the kind of sandwich I would go for in the Cheesecake Factory, thinking I’m doing something right. Hell, I might as well skip the meal and have a piece of cheesecake! Sheesh.

    This was a pretty eye-opening post…

  5. Sessy says:

    This is good to know if your on the road and stop to get something to eat, but what if your friends all want to go to Applebee’s for Perfect Margaritas. Do you say no and go to KFC by yourself?…lol.

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