The Healthiest Fast Food Chicken Sandwich You Can Buy

When your only real option for lunch is fast food, but you still want to stay kind of healthy, well, you go for the grilled chicken, right? Grilled means no breading, no extra fat, just good lean protein, so it should be a no-brainer — or is it? Well, not exactly. There are a wide variety of different toppings and other options that come standard on grilled chicken offerings from different chains, and these are where those extra calories, carbs, and other potential health hazards may come sneaking in.

If you want to know what your best option is amongst the many grilled chicken sandwiches out there, HealthyEater tested out the ones offered by eight different chains: Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Hardee's/Carl's Jr., McDonald's, Red Robin, Sonic, Subway, and Wendy's. Once they'd crunched through all that lettuce, they also crunched the data — and reached a verdict: the healthiest chicken sandwich among 8 top fast food chains is the one offered by the struggling, yet still-surviving Subway.

How Subway's chicken sandwich stacks up against the competitors

Subway's 6-inch Oven-Roasted Chicken Sub, at 310 calories, narrowly edged out Chick-fil-A's 320 calorie Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich for the least-fattening sandwich. Subway and Chick-fil-A were also the lowest-fat offerings, with Subway again taking a narrow lead with just 4.5 grams to Chick-fil-A's 5. When it came to keeping sodium levels down, though, Subway was the clear winner, with just 610 mg to Chick-fil-A's 800.

While the Subway sandwich's 46 carbs came in somewhere in the middle of the pack — the surprise winner here being Burger King's TENDERGRILL Chicken Sandwich, with only 38 — Subway does allow you to skip the bread altogether and just have your sandwich toppings piled on a bed of lettuce to make a big old salad. In fact, it's the fact that Subway's sandwiches are so easily customized that ultimately led to its being declared the winner of the healthy chicken sandwich challenge. 

HealthyEater advises just telling your sandwich artist to skip the fatty dressings and pile on all those fresh, free veggies for a nutritious yet delicious sandwich that will get you so full you won't even spare a second glance at the cookies.