I was recently made aware of an Arby's promotion to do a taste test between their chicken salad and Subway's chicken salad. Arby's offered a coupon for a free sandwich with purchase of beverage. Subway is offering their chicken salad as the current $5 foot long for May.
Yesterday, Christy and I decided to take on that challenge.
Christy didn't like that the Arby's chicken salad was warm (the bread is toasted and the chicken itself was warm, I think).
I thought I might want to try the Subway version on flatbread because I found the sub bread to be too bready and interfered with the flavor of the chicken salad.
I found Arby's to be sweeter and fruitier. Subway was kind of salty and the fruit was dried instead of fresh.
Christy and I both liked the large chunks of apple and the whole grapes in the Arby's chicken salad.
We also both agreed that when wanting chicken salad, neither one would be our choice.
Personally, I slightly preferred the Arby's over the Subway if I was only looking to get a sandwich based on how it tasted and only taking my own food consumption into consideration.
We both agreed that Subway was the better price option. $5 for the sandwich at Arby's or $5 for the footlong at Subway (so $2.50 for a sandwich for us). Without the $5 footlong special, I think the Subway version is around $3.50 for a 6" sandwich.
Christy and I had a... passionate... discussion about the differences in healthy options between the two restaurants and that led me to doing some research.
To be fair, if I'm going to Arby's or Subway, chicken salad isn't what I would choose.
I've struggled in the past with finding food I feel good about from Arby's. It's expensive, a lot of fried options, and the last time I ordered a salad, I had to choose between shaved turkey and fried chicken to go on it. So I thought I should explore the menu and see if I could find items I might think could be healthier and check out their nutritional information.
I also compared what I would normally get at Subway- a 6 inch turkey sub with veggies, light mayo, brown mustard, no cheese.
Click to see the image bigger if you'd like.
First off, I'm screwed with sodium no matter what. No way I'm going for the tukey and swiss at Arby's. 710 calories is off the charts (when I'm paying attention to what I eat- otherwise, I'm sure it tastes good and can be considered healthy in so far as it isn't fried). The salad isn't a terrible option- but I didn't love that salad last time I was there.
But what about when I take my kids out to eat?
Part of why we don't eat at Arby's- and there is one within walking distance of home so it would be convenient- is that I don't like the options for their kid meals.
Chicken tenders or a jr roast beef sandwich. Applesauce, curly fries, or potato cakes. Soda products. I'm ok with the roast beef sandwich but it isn't something my kids would go for. And the applesauce is the sugary type.
To be fair, I don't check calorie and fat counts on food choices for my kids. I do pay attention to sugar and we try to avoid fried foods. We've been focusing on ordering water with our meals- because it's both healthier and less expensive.
I compared the Subway roast beef to the Arby's meal just for the sake of being as "apples to apples" as possible. However, my kids tend to get a sandwich with pepperoni, cheese, olives for Zach, tomatoes for Teagan. They don't eat the bread. They get apples and water (sometimes a juice box or milk for a treat).
So the results of the taste test?
Honestly, neither one of us is itching to go back and get one sandwich or the other.
Christy... Arby's. But only if she's with a group that has chosen Arby's- then she'd get the chicken salad again unless she had coupons for something that presented a better value. If she's with a group going to Subway, she's more likely to get something besides the chicken salad.
For me... Subway. But I wouldn't order chicken salad.
(Although, as a family, we generally prefer McAlister's.)