What to Eat at Arby's: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

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Verywell / Christian Alzate

Arby's tagline is "We have the meats," and the fast-food chain lives up to this slogan. The restaurant is centered around roast beef, and also offers chicken and turkey options. Its classic menu items are the Beef & Cheddar Sandwich and Curly Fries.

But, Arby's is also known for its dipping sauces, particularly Arby's Sauce (a barbeque-like red sauce) and Horsey Sauce (a creamy horseradish sauce). The menu is segmented into roast beef sandwiches, chicken, sides and snacks, desserts, beverages, and a kid's menu. It also has a Market Fresh section, which is the chain's selection of fresher and more vegetable-forward options.

Fast food is not typically considered nutritious, but with moderation and smart choices, it can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle. With its focus on meat sandwiches and fries, Arby's, like its counterparts, has many items high in fat, calories, and sodium—with some options containing more than the daily recommended salt intake. However, once you know the facts about the nutrition of Arby’s food, it will be easier to assemble a healthier meal.

What Experts Say

“Most options at Arby's don't fulfill a full veggie portion and are very high in sodium—some with more than a day’s recommended sodium. If you eat here regularly, add vegetables (try the side salad) and other higher fiber foods to your meals, and opt for lower sodium options to maintain overall nutritional balance.”

Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Navigating the Menu

Arby's has many items that are high in sodium. In fact, some options contain more than the daily recommended salt intake of 2,300 milligrams. However, once you know a little more about what Arby's offers, it will be easier to assemble a nutritious meal. This is particularly important if you are traveling and Arby's is the only option available.

What to Order & Avoid at Arby's
Most Nutritious Options  Least Nutritious Options 
Classic Roast Beef (Roast Beef) Half Pound French Dip & Swiss/Au Jus (Roast Beef)
Chicken Tenders (3) Chicken Chicken Club Wrap (Chicken)
Roast Turkey Gyro (Turkey) Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon (Turkey)
Side Salad (Salads) Crispy Chicken Entrée Salad (Salads)
Curly Fries - Snack (Sides) Mozzarella Sticks (6) (Sides)
Cherry Turnover (Desserts) Ultimate Chocolate Shake (Desserts)
Nestlé Pure Life Bottled Water (Beverages) Barq’s Root Beer (Beverages)

Most Nutritious Option

Arby's classic roast beef sandwich is the most nutritious main menu item. Accompanied by a healthy beverage and a side salad, it can make for a smart meal choice.

Roast Beef

When looking at Arby's main dishes, you will find that roast beef dominates the options. Beef is packed with protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins, but the accompanying bun, cheeses, and sauces add fat, sugar, and sodium. You could consider ditching half the bun when ordering a sandwich to help minimize these factors. Or you can hold the cheese or put the sauce on the side.

✓ Classic Roast Beef

The classic roast beef sandwich contains 360 calories, 14g fat, 5g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 970mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 23g protein. This sandwich gives you all the classic flavors of a roast beef sandwich without the sauces and up-sizing of other options.

✗ Half Pound French Dip & Swiss/Au Jus

The half-pound French Dip & Swiss with cheese has 740 calories, 35g fat, 16g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 3,400mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 55g protein. Adding extra meat and melted cheese adds fat and calories, as does dipping the sandwich in its own juices that otherwise would have been discarded.

If French dips are your favorite, go for the regular size. The smaller size of this sandwich delivers 540 calories, 22g fat, 10g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 2,550mg sodium, 51g carbohydrates, 3g sugars, and 34g protein.

Chicken

Chicken is a leaner option than beef, and Arby's has a few options. However, like many fast-food chains, some of these items feature fried chicken. Keep in mind, the breading and frying adds on fat and sodium.

✓ Chicken Tenders (3)

The 3-piece chicken tenders at Arby's come in at 370 calories, 18g fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1,190mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 23g protein. If you're a fried chicken fan, the smaller serving of tenders can feed your fix. Just remember that any dipping sauces will contribute to sugar consumption.

✗ Chicken Club Wrap

The chicken club wrap delivers 650 calories, 35g fat, 9g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 1,370mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate, 12g sugar, and 41g protein. Don't let the word "wrap" trick you into thinking this is a lower calorie or healthier option. The addition of fatty bacon and sugary honey mustard sauce tips this selection onto the less nutritious side.

Turkey

White meat turkey generally gives you some protein without adding as much fat as beef, and it's less likely to be offered fried. Although not known for turkey, Arby's does offer a few options in this category.

✓ Roast Turkey Gyro

The roast turkey gyro has 470 calories, 20g fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1,530mg sodium, 48g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 25g protein. This is on the Market Fresh menu, which promotes more options with veggies—like the lettuce, tomato, and onion on this gyro, but it is still very high in sodium.

✗ Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon

The roast turkey ranch and bacon sandwich has 810 calories, 35g fat, 10g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 2,420mg sodium, 79g carbohydrate, 16g sugar, and 45g protein. The addition of bacon and creamy ranch make this Market Fresh option less nutritious than many of its counterparts. Skipping the pork and sauce helps pare it down.

Salads

Arby's has few salad options, and toppings like bacon and cheese make them less nutritious than they may appear. Salad dressings can also add unexpected fat, sodium, and sugar. However, salads are one of the few ways to get vegetables on this menu that aren't deep fried potatoes, which can help make your overall meal more nutritious.

✓ Side Salad

The side salad at Arby's has 70 calories, 5g fat, 110mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, and 5g protein. Swap this menu item in for one of the more traditional sides, like fries, particularly if you choose a low-fat, low-sugar dressing, like the light Italian.

✗ Crispy Chicken Entrée Salad

The crispy chicken entrée salad contains 430 calories, 25g fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 1,170mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 4g sugar, and 28g protein. This salad is not only topped with fried chicken but also bacon, which contributes to its lower nutrition metrics.

It is also served with ranch dressing unless requested otherwise, which is the most calorie-dense dressing option at Arby's. For instance, the ranch dressing adds an additional 210 calories, 22g fat, and 330g of sodium.

Sides

Arby’s is known for Curly Fries—crispy golden potatoes cut in curls and spirals. Although made from potatoes, the frying process adds a lot of calories and fat to French fries, and the sodium content is also high. When choosing a side at Arby’s, keep size in mind, and consider swapping a fried option for the aforementioned side salad, instead. You also could consider sharing the side with someone who is dining with you.

✓ Curly Fries (snack)

The snack size Curly Fries has 250 calories, 13g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 570mg sodium, 29g carbohydrates, 0g sugar, and 3g protein. This small size is a great way to get your fix without derailing your whole order. Just keep in mind that dipping sauces—including ketchup—will add calories, as well as sugar and salt.

✗ Mozzarella Sticks (6)

The 6-piece serving of Mozzarella Sticks at Arby's has 650 calories, 35g fat, 14g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 2,110mg sodium, 56g carbohydrates, 4g sugar, and 29g protein. The breaded coating and oil on top of gooey cheese really adds up. The marinara dipping sauce adds an additional 170mg of sodium and 3g of sugar.

Desserts

For an after-meal addition, Arby’s highlights its milkshakes, but they are chock full of sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, order a snack-size milkshake to keep the calorie and sugar content down, or consider one of the smaller pastry items, instead.

✓ Cherry Turnover

The cherry turnover contains 390 calories, 13g fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 200mg sodium, 65g carbohydrates, 40g sugar, and 4g protein. On the plus side, the sodium content in this dessert is far lower than most items on the menu.

✗ Ultimate Chocolate Shake (Large)

This large-size Ultimate Chocolate Shake has 1,050 calories, 32g fat, 21g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 650mg sodium, 160g carbohydrates, 149g sugar, and 25g protein. Sizing up really increases the calories, fat, sugar, and sodium in this dessert, which is made of chocolate and topped with more chocolate, as well as whipped cream. Make it a more reasonable indulgence with the snack size, which cuts calories to 350, fat to 9g, and carbs to 60g. You also could consider the vanilla or Jamocha flavors, which also have slightly fewer calories.

Beverages

Like most fast-food restaurants, Arby’s offers a variety of fountain beverages. Many of these are sugary and few offer nutritional benefits.

Arby's also offers diet soda. There is mixed research on diet soda, some research says swapping calorically dense beverages with diet versions can help with weight goals. While, other research it's unclear if there is any benefit. These factors may help you make your own decision.

✓ Nestlé Pure Life Bottled Water

A bottled water contains 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg sodium, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar, and 0g protein. Water is always the healthiest choice, but if you want something with more taste, a medium or large unsweetened iced tea has just 5 calories.

✗ Barq’s Root Beer (Large)

A large Barq’s Root Beer has 340 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 135mg sodium, 91g carbohydrates, 91g sugar, and 0g protein. The calories in soda come entirely from sugar, so if fountain soda is your favorite, stick with a small size.

Diet-Specific Options

Although you might have to mix and match to find a suitable meal option, the Arby's menu contains items appropriate for those following gluten-free, low-carb, low-FODMAP, diabetes-friendly, low-fat, low-sodium, vegetarian, and vegan diets.

Gluten-Free

Items on Arby’s that may be suitable for a gluten-free diet include:

  • Meats: Corned beef, bacon, roast beef, roast chicken breast, roast turkey, smoked brisket 
  • Side salad
  • Crinkle Fries (but not Curly Fries - check to see if they share oil with gluten-containing items)
  • Milkshakes
  • Many sauces including Arby’s sauce and Horsey sauce

Arby’s actually does better than many of its fast-food counterparts in indicating gluten-free options. Although its buns do contain gluten, there are items that are suitable for a gluten-free diet, which they indicate in their gluten-free ordering guidelines. There is a risk of cross-contamination, though, so be sure to talk to the restaurant about how your food is prepared.

Low-Carb

Lower-carb options at Arby’s include:

  • Chicken Tenders (3 pieces)
  • Roast Chicken Entrée Salad
  • Side Salad
  • Curly Fries (snack size)

If you’re trying to cut back on carbs, you should avoid sugary items, including those with a lot of sauce like BBQ sauce, sweet-n-sour, and ketchup. And if you're choosing a salad, skip the dressing or pick the light Italian or ranch, both of which have fewer carbs than the balsamic and honey mustard.

Low-FODMAP

Arby’s has several low-FODMAP meats and cheeses which include:

  • Roast beef, corned beef, and turkey
  • Provolone, mozzarella, gouda, or Swiss cheese slices (if tolerated)

If you’re following a low-FODMAP diet, you might be using meat in place of some carbs, which can be helpful at Arby’s. However, fast-food restaurants often prepare meat with high-FODMAP ingredients like garlic or onions. You’ll also have to skip the buns at Arby's because of the high-FODMAP flour.

Diabetes-Friendly

If you have diabetes, consider these items at Arby’s.

  • Roast Chicken Entrée Salad
  • Side Salad
  • Buttermilk ranch dressing or light Italian dressing
  • Chicken Tenders (3 pieces)

Low-Fat

If you are watching your fat intake, consider these options:

  • Classic Roast Beef
  • Chicken Tenders (3 piece)
  • Roast Chicken Entrée Salad
  • Side Salad
  • Curly Fries (snack size)

Arby’s is not a low-fat establishment, but comparatively speaking, you can find the items with the lowest fat content on the menu. 

Low-Sodium

These items have under 600 milligrams of sodium.

  • Side Salad
  • Curly Fries (snack size)
  • Ultimate Chocolate Shake (snack, small, medium)
  • Jamocha Handcrafted Shake (snack, small, medium)
  • Vanilla Handcrafted Shake (snack, small, medium)
  • Salted Caramel & Chocolate Cookie
  • Triple Chocolate Cookie
  • Apple Turnover
  • Cherry Turnover

Arby’s does not have a sodium-conscious menu. If you’re limiting your salt intake, this restaurant may not be your best option.

Vegetarian & Vegan

For vegans, the side salad (without the cheese) with either light Italian dressing or balsamic vinaigrette is the only option. Meanwhile, vegetarians can consume these items (although keep in mind they may be prepared on the same grills as the meat):

  • All shake flavors
  • Jalapeño Bites
  • Curly Fries
  • Mozzarella Sticks
  • Apple Turnover
  • Cherry Turnover
  • Salted Caramel & Chocolate Cookie
  • Triple Chocolate Cookie

Given its tagline, it's not surprising that Arby's is not heavy on vegetarian options. All of its sandwiches and salads—with the exception of the side salad—include meat. There are vegetarian side items, and there are lots of dipping sauces that vegetarians can get creative with should they choose.

Food Allergies and Safety

If you have food allergies, it's best to review Arby’s ingredients list closely before ordering. The restaurant provides a list online so you can check ahead of time if you do not want to spend time doing so when in the drive-thru or in line inside. You can also find useful guidelines for eating at Arby’s if you are avoiding certain ingredients, like gluten.

While these common food allergens may or may not be found on Arby’s menu, the item you order may contain ingredients that were produced, transported, stored, or prepared near one or more of the allergens.

If you have a food allergy, inform the Arby’s employees taking your order and preparing your food. In some cases, they may be able to accommodate your need by using gloves, separate utensils, or grills to reduce the chance of contaminating your meal with an allergen. While it’s not always possible, it’s always a good idea to be cautious when dining out with a food allergy—and it never hurts to ask. 

A Word From Verywell

Arby’s is a fast-food favorite for meat-eaters, but if you’re counting calories, trying to lower your sodium intake, or cutting back on fat, finding a nutritious meal on the menu is challenging. To get a feel for your options, use Arby’s online menu and nutrition calculator to estimate the calorie impact and nutrition of your meal.

The easiest way to reduce the calories, fat, and sodium at Arby's is to avoid extras like cheese and bacon, choose the smallest portion size, and limit your sauces. While Arby’s does offer a menu of desserts, these options are best avoided—but if you want to treat yourself, choose from the three flavors of “snack-sized” shakes, all of which are under 350 calories.

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people consume too much salt.

  2. Today's Dietitian. Do artificial sweeteners help you lose weight? — Research examines relationship between nonnutritive sweeteners and weight loss.

  3. Today's Dietitian. Best to limit low-calorie sodas and drinks, stick to water instead.

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