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Fast Food Chicken Sandwich Comparison - Cost and Ingredients

My prior post was about how to make a great chicken sandwich substitute using cauliflower. But every now and then, it is tough to beat the convenience of a fast food chicken sandwich. Plus every chain is getting into the game. It started with Chick-fil-A but now everyone has a chicken sandwich including Popeyes, Shake Shack, KFC, McDonalds, Wendy's, Burger King, and even Panera. 

I've also become accustom to the convenience of the apps for each of these chains. They make it so much easier to order and to customize your sandwich. Like who knew McDonalds allowed you to add or remove different toppings to your sandwich? Well, with the app you can. The other great thing about the app is for most of the chains, they provide a thorough list of ingredients. It is pretty eye-opening to compare the ingredients from one chicken sandwich to the next. Below is a cost and nutritional summary of the sandwiches near me. For a taste test comparison, check out the Rankings from Thrillist.

Based on the cost, ingredients, and nutritional comparison below, my go-to is Popeyes. Even though it is the worst for me, it is the best value and sometimes it's just worth being indulgent every now and then. I also like the old-school chicken sandwich options from McDonalds, Wendy's, and Jack in the Box. These are lower calorie and pretty inexpensive at $2.50 or less compared to the premium sandwiches that range in price from $5-8. I can order two of those sandwiches, eat cleaner, and fill up more than the one premium sandwich even from the same restaurant.

Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich - $5.39. 440 calories, 17g fat (4g saturated, 70mg cholesterol), 1,400mg sodium, 41g carbs (1g fiber, 6g sugar), 29g protein. Notable ingredients include monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, egg, and bunch of chemical and processed ingredients.

McDonald's McCrispy - $4.69. 470 calories, 20g fat (5g saturated, 70mg cholesterol), 1,140mg sodium, 46g carbs (1g fiber, 9g sugar), 26g protein. Notable ingredients include monosodium glutamate, butter, and a handful of chemicals and processed ingredients. A bit cleaner than Chick-Fil-A.

McDonald's McChicken - $1.89. 400 calories, 21g fat (3.5g saturated, 40mg cholesterol), 560mg sodium, 39g carbs (1g fiber, 5g sugar), 14g protein. Only notable ingredients are a few chemicals and egg in the mayonnaise that can be ordered without.

Popeyes - $4.99. 700 calories, 42g fat (14g saturated, 90mg cholesterol), 1,765mg sodium, 50g carbs (2g fiber, 8g sugar), 28g protein. They do not provide the ingredient list but it's a pretty high calorie, high sodium, high fat sandwich. No wonder it's so good.

KFC Classic Chicken Sandwich - $5.49. 650 calories, 35g fat (4.5g saturated, 90mg cholesterol), 1,260mg sodium, 49g carbs (1g fiber, 6g sugar), 34g protein. They do not provide the ingredient list. Interestingly, it has one of the highest proteins of the sandwiches in this list and is lower than most sodium and saturated fat.

Shake Shack Chicken Shack - $8.09. 550 calories, 31g fat (7g saturated, 110mg cholesterol), 1,170mg sodium, 34g carbs (0g fiber, 6g sugar), 33g protein. They do not provide the ingredient list but mention allergens as dairy, egg, wheat, soy, gluten, and sesame. One of the lowest carb options and high protein.

Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich - $6.39. 490 calories, 21g fat (3.5g saturated, 75mg cholesterol), 1,450mg sodium, 49g carbs (2g fiber, 5g sugar), 28g protein. Notable ingredients include monosodium glutamate and a bunch of chemicals and processed ingredients.

Wendy's Crispy Chicken Sandwich - $2.39. 330 calories, 16g fat (3g saturated, 35mg cholesterol), 680mg sodium, 33g carbs (1g fiber, 4g sugar), 14g protein. Decently clean ingredients for the chicken part. The bun is still full of chemicals and processed ingredients. This is the lowest calorie chicken sandwich in this comparison.

Burger King Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwich - $6.89. 607 calories, 31g fat (5g saturated, 80mg cholesterol), 1,333mg sodium, 54g carbs (4.5g fiber, 10g sugar), 34g protein. No ingredients list provided but allergen information lists dairy, egg, wheat, soy, and sesame.

Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich - $5.99. 682 calories, 39g fat (7g saturated, 65mg cholesterol), 1,382mg sodium, 63g carbs (3g fiber, 8g sugar), 23.5g protein. No ingredients list provided but allergen information lists dairy, egg, wheat, soy, and sesame.

Arby's Classic Crispy Chicken Sandwich - $5.59. 510 calories, 25g fat (5g saturated, 55mg cholesterol), 1,230mg sodium, 48g carbs (4g fiber, 7g sugar), 24g protein. Notable ingredients include buttermilk and whey powders but that's it. Interestingly, both the chicken and the bun have cocoa powder.

Culver's Crispy Chicken Sandwich - $6.49. 460 calories, 14g fat (3g saturated, 55mg cholesterol), 1,110mg sodium, 56g carbs (1g fiber, 6g sugar), 25g protein. Notable ingredients include buttermilk, whey, and egg powders plus the bun has butter and a bunch of chemicals and processed ingredients.

Sonic Crispy Chicken Sandwich - $6.59. 550 calories, 30g fat (6g saturated, 45mg cholesterol), 870mg sodium, 48g carbs (4g fiber, 10g sugar), 21g protein. No ingredients list provided but allergen information lists dairy, egg, wheat, soy, and sesame.

Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Sandwich - $6.89. 620 calories, 34g fat (4.5g saturated, 50mg cholesterol), 1,320mg sodium, 50g carbs (3g fiber, 4g sugar), 27g protein. Notable ingredients include monosodium glutamate but that's it. No dairy or egg. They do not offer a non-spicy version of this sandwich.

Jack in the Box Chicken Sandwich - $2.49. 510 calories, 32g fat (5g saturated, 35mg cholesterol), 900mg sodium, 40g carbs (2g fiber, 3g sugar), 15g protein. Notable ingredients include monosodium glutamate, dried milk and whey. Pretty free of other chemicals and processed ingredients.

Panera Signature Take Chicken Sandwich - $12.79. 570 calories, 29g fat (10g saturated, 180mg cholesterol), 920mg sodium, 41g carbs (2g fiber, 5g sugar), 36g protein. Notable ingredients include eggs in the chicken batter, butter/eggs/milk/whey in the bun, and parmesan crisps with milk.


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