Best Fast Food Sandwiches

[My own corrupted version of a Men's Health article...]
Hoagies. Heroes. Grinders. Po’boys. Sandwiches go by a lot of different names, but they’re an undeniably American food. OK, maybe we didn’t exactly invent them. Many people credit England’s Earl of Sandwich, but he probably just popularized it in the 1700s. And he did know a good thing when he saw (and ate) it. In the 300 years, we’ve done plenty to advance the art of the sandwich. Problem is, we’ve done plenty to distort sandwiches, too, turning humble creations into caloric catastrophes weighed down by careless condiments, bloated breads, and an excess of ill-chosen toppings.

A little digging into the fast food and deli domain confirmed our greatest fears: that between two slices of bread, the food industry is cramming up to a full day’s worth of calories, fat, and sodium. Sure, towering Dagwoods and hulking hoagies are some of the most best offerings, but even the most innocently named cold-cut creations could be quietly, steadily enlarging your waistline.

That's why you need to know what you're consuming. Eat This, Not That! scoured the delis and the sub shops from coast to coast to come up with this list of the worst sandwiches in America. We’re not the least bit willing to give up our handheld food of choice (grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches are basically American birthrights, after all), so we’ve provided you with plenty of ways to get your fix--without mainlining calories.

Herewith, our best of list. And while you’re at it, make sure you're washing down your lunch with one of these high-calorie drinks.

Au Bon Pain Sausage, Egg and Cheddar on Asiago Bagel
810 calories
47 g fat (23 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
58 g carbs

Atlanta Bread Company Turkey Bacon Rustica
960 calories
56 g fat (19 g saturated)
62 g carbs

Sandwiches seldom top much more than 500 calories; this one gobbles up almost half an average daily allowance. While it’s loaded with protein, it’s also packed with juicy fat (the blame falls largely on the one-two punch of mayo and pesto).

Quizno’s Prime Rib Cheesesteak Sub, Large
1,490 calories
92 g fat (22.5 g saturated, 2 g trans)
102 g carbs

At 670 calories, even the small version of this sub is pushing the bounds of reasonable consumption. But in this big guy, a day’s worth of saturated fat, and nearly a whole day’s caloric intake as well.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Grilled Chicken and Artichoke Sandwich
1,260 calories
80 g fat (17 g saturated)
71 g carbs

Most people know by now that grilled equals light in the world of chicken, but Romano’s somehow manages to challenge that well-established nutritional tenet. The heavy-handed Italian chain takes two reasonable foods—lean chicken and nutrient-rich artichoke—and turns them into a monster of a fat-laden sandwich that comes with the caloric equivalent of 27 chicken McNuggets.

Chili’s Cajun Crisper Bites Sandwich
1,410 calories
79 g fat (18 g saturated)
124 g carbs

Words on the Chili’s menu to seek out: “Cajun” and “Crisper.” In Chili’s land, they translate to fat- and calorie-packed sauces and frying oil. Put them between two slices of bread, and you’ve got one of the best sandwiches we’ve found on all counts—the same number of calories as you’ll find in 56 strips of bacon.

Blimpie Special Vegetarian 12 Inch
1,186 calories
60 g fat (19 g saturated)
131 g carbs

“Vegetarian” doesn’t automatically translate to “low cal” (the same holds true for salads—check out this list of America’s most filling salads to see what we means). Sure, this sandwich has vegetables, but it’s also loaded with fatty oils and sauce, and it’s on bread that’s 12 inches long. No wonder it contains over half a day’s worth of calories and an explosion of carbs.

Noah’s Deli Chicken Salad Sandwich
1,150 calories
95 g fat (14 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
61 g carbs

Don’t be fooled because it’s got the word “salad” in its name. This fatty Noah’s sandwich is a potent choice for your waistline.

Quizno’s Tuna Melt, large
1,760 calories
133 g fat (25 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
92 g carbs

Tuna melts are scary because they sound so harmless—in almost all other forms, tuna is usually a skinny choice. So what’s with the insane caloric overload? Blame the fat-packed mayo the tuna is mixed with, along with Quizno’s larger-than-life portion sizes. Even though they’ve managed to trim this melt down from the original 2,000-plus calorie mark when we first tested it, it still remains the best sandwich we’ve found.
CleveBHM CleveBHM
51-55, M
5 Responses Nov 17, 2010

Ah, yes...another secret of the Fat Ancients!

I too use the calorie counts in the opposite of the way intended!

I challenge you to finish two of the tuna melts, annie! Sometimes I have a bowl of soup, chips and soda with my 12 inch sub but I would get tired of subs before eating two!

This post made my day....I am a sandwich connoisseur; however, I never bothered to check the stats! Obviously, I have made "good" choices! mouth is watering...I know what I'm having for to Quizno's! And to think I can polish off 2 of the 12 inchers and with room to spare sometimes.

well, i'm totally relieved that i'm not the only person who has taken "eat this not that" and turned it into a guide to gain weight. may the pounds be with you.