Turns out Arby's may be healthier than you think

Fast food and "healthy" don't usually go together in the same sentence. After all, cheese-laden fatty burgers, crispy French fries dripping in oil and salt, and gigantic creamy milkshakes don't exactly make up what many of us would consider a nutritionally-balanced meal. But over the last few years, as Americans have become more and more concerned with their health (and the looming obesity crisis), many fast food restaurants have started offering better-for-you options, from Chipotle's new cauliflower rice to Chick-fil-A's grilled chicken sandwich to McDonald's plethora of salads.

But there's one chain that has been on the health-conscious bandwagon longer than others that you might not have even realized: Arby's. While it doesn't carry the same cult status as McDonald's or Chipotle, the fast food franchise famous for its roast beef is surprisingly one of the healthier places to eat — as long as you know what (and what not) to order. Here's why Arby's could be a better pick for those who are trying to be more health-conscious.

Arby's "lite" menu was the first of its kind in the country

Unbeknownst to many, Arby's was actually the first fast food chain to come out with a menu of lighter fare back in 1991 (via Mental Floss). The line-up included an array of salads and sandwiches that were all under 300 calories — a big change from Arby's famous Half Pound Beef 'N Cheddar, which has a whopping 740 calories. Fast forward to today and Arby's still has a good variety of healthier options on the menu.

According to Eat This, Not That!, the healthiest thing you can order off of an Arby's menu is the Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad. Not only is it full of vitamins and minerals thanks to the veggies, but it packs in 23 grams of protein from the turkey (and it even has hunks of bacon tossed in). You don't have to settle for salads as a lighter option, though. Eat This, Not That! also notes that a better sandwich option is the Ham & Swiss Melt, with just 300 calories and 19 grams of protein.