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

Arby's
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Arby’s first sandwich shop opened in Ohio back in 1964. Today, the fast food franchise has 3,400 locations around the world. Arby’s menu is known for its emphasis on meat, especially roast beef. You can also order sandwiches, salads, burgers, and “sliders,” with pork, chicken, and turkey. Arby’s also offers a range of sides, including its famous Curly Fries, as well as desserts and beverages.

The nutrition of Arby’s menu is similar to what you’d find at other fast food restaurants. If you’re eating a low-carb, low-fat, or low-sodium diet, trying to decide what to order at the drive-thru can be tricky. With its focus on meat-based sandwiches, most Arby’s menu items are high in calories, fat, and sodium.

Arby’s provides a lot of helpful facts about the nutrition of its menu on its website, as well as a calculator you can use to estimate the nutritional content of your order.

Once you know the facts about the nutrition of Arby’s food, it will be easier to assemble a healthier meal from your options. You can also read about the meal options and nutrition of Freddy's, a similar restaurant chain.

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 on a regular basis, 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

Most Nutritious Options

  • Roast Beef ’n Cheese Slider

  • Chicken Tender Slider

  • Turkey ’n Cheese Slider

  • Ham ’n Cheese Slider

  • Chopped Side Salad

  • Potato Cakes

  • Vanilla Shake

  • Nestlé Pure Life Bottled Water

Least Nutritious Options

  • Half Pound French Dip & Swiss

  • Buttermilk Chicken Cordon Bleu 

  • Roast Turkey, Ranch, and Bacon

  • Loaded Italian 

  • Farmhouse Salad with Crispy Chicken

  • Curly Fries 

  • Ultimate Chocolate Shake

  • Barq’s Root Beer

Depending on where you live, Arby’s may offer a breakfast menu, limited-time, or regional items, including Market Fresh sandwiches. While marketed as being healthier alternatives to Arby’s signature sandwiches, these options are at least as high in calories and fat (if not higher) than the classics.

For example, the Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich is higher in sugar than a regular chicken slider—18 grams versus just 1 gram.

In addition to arming yourself with knowledge of the menu, make sure to pay attention to portion size when you’re considering your options at Arby’s. Many items on the menu can be healthier choices as long as you stick to smaller portion sizes or share a larger order.

When you’re able to customize your order, take the opportunity to cut calories, fat, and sodium from a meal by skipping extras like cheese, sauces, sides, desserts, and sugary drinks.

Roast Beef

Arby's is known for roast beef sandwiches. While they are the cornerstone of its menu, these sandwiches can also be among the least healthy choices. If you look beyond the classic roast beef smothered with melted cheddar cheese sauce, you'll find several lower-calorie options.

Most Nutritious Option

240 calories, 11g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 670 mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 1g sugar, and 14g protein

Least Nutritious Option

740 calories, 35g fat, 16g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 3400 mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 55g protein

Adding cheese and sauce to any sandwich, as well as doubling up on sliced meat, piles on extra calories and fat.

While the Classic Beef 'n Cheddar sandwich is one of the longest-running items on Arby’s menu, it’s far from the healthiest.

Even though a helping of roast beef gives the sandwich 23 grams of protein, it also has 450 calories, 20 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, and almost 1300 milligrams of sodium. The half-pound version of the sandwich packs 740 calories, 39 grams of fat, and 2530 milligrams of sodium. 

Chicken

Arby's also has several meals made with chicken. While fast food chicken can be a healthier option, Arby's fries the meat rather than grills it, adding fat and calories.

Most Nutritious Option

290 calories, 12g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 720 mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 1g sugar, and 15g protein

Least Nutritious Option

660 calories, 34g fat, 10g saturated fat, 1830 mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate, 8g sugar, and 38g protein

One of the easiest ways to reduce the carb count of your meal is to skip the bun and cheese and order small size chicken tenders. The 3-piece order of chicken tenders has 360 calories and 28 grams of carbohydrate. Order a 2-piece from the Arby’s kid’s menu to reduce the calorie and carb count even more—just 240 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrates.

Turkey

In general, turkey is one of the leaner meat options you can choose for a sandwich or salad, giving you some protein without adding as much fat. Arby’s offers other options for turkey, including salads, gyros, and wraps.

Most Nutritious Option

200 calories, 7g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 760 mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, and 14g protein

Least Nutritious Option

800 calories, 34g fat, 10g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 2420 mg sodium, 79g carbohydrate, 16g sugar, and 45g protein

As with other sandwiches and sliders, if you skip the extras like dressing, bacon, and cheese, these options can be lower in carbs and fat than other items on the menu.

Pork

Bacon is a fast-food staple, but it's one of the saltiest items you can add to a sandwich or salad. While ham can be a better choice for protein, cured varieties can also be high in sodium. Arby’s makes use of both ham and bacon in most of its menu items, though you can usually opt to forgo these salty, high-fat, additions.

Most Nutritious Option

230 calories, 9g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 750 mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 13g protein

Least Nutritious Option

680 calories, 40g fat, 14g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 2270 mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 32g protein

One of the easiest ways to reduce the sodium content and calories of a sandwich, salad, or wrap is to skip highly-processed add-ons like bacon.

Salads

Arby's salad offerings are limited and can easily become less-healthy options when topped with cheese, bacon, and high-fat, high-calorie, salad dressings. Dressings can also be an unexpected source of added sugar.

Most Nutritious Option

70 calories, 5g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, and 5g protein

Least Nutritious Option

430 calories, 24g fat, 8g saturated fat, 1000 mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 4g sugar, and 28g protein

For more protein, Arby’s also offers a Farmhouse Salad with turkey instead of fried chicken. To keep this option lower in calories and fat, skip the salad dressing and extra toppings like shredded cheese and bacon.

Sides

Known for its Curly Fries, Arby's offers a few other options for sides—though most are high in carbs, fat, and salt. Other than adding calories, these sides don't offer much nutrition to your meal.

Most Nutritious Option

Potato Cakes (2 pieces)

250 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat, 430 mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 2g protein

Least Nutritious Option

670 calories, 44g fat, 8g saturated fat, 1950 mg sodium, 57g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, and 12g protein

Your best bet with Arby’s sides is to skip them completely. Most of these options are fried and therefore add calories, fat, and sodium without contributing any necessary nutrients.

While they may be one of Arby’s claims to fame, a large order of Curly Fries adds 650 calories, 77 grams of carbohydrate, and 35 grams of fat to your meal.

If you want to add something to your sandwich, consider rounding out your order with a small side salad for just 70 calories.

Desserts

Arby's offers a dessert menu of milkshakes, cookies, and turnovers, but these sweet treats are high in calories, carbohydrates, and of course, sugar.

Most Nutritious Option

250 calories, 8g fat, 5g saturated fat, 210 mg sodium, 40g carbohydrate, 37g sugar, and 8g protein

Least Nutritious Option

820 calories, 22g fat, 15g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 660 mg sodium, 142g carbohydrate, 129g sugar, and 21g protein

While a milkshake might seem like the least healthy option, a snack-sized shake actually has fewer calories than the cookies. The Triple Chocolate Cookie has 450 calories and 21 grams of fat, but a snack-sized Vanilla Shake has just 250 calories and 8 grams of fat.

Beverages

Whether you're eating out or at home, water is the healthiest beverage choice to accompany your meal. Like most fast food restaurants, Arby's offers bottled water for purchase. There are also a few other low-calorie options, such as iced tea or diet soda. However, these choices can add sugar and sodium to your meal.

Most Nutritious Option

Nestlé Pure Life Bottled Water

0 calories, 0g fat, 0 mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 0g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Barq’s Root Beer (40 ounces)

450 calories, 0g fat, 180 mg sodium, 122g carbohydrate, 122g sugar, and 0g protein

Like most fast food restaurants, Arby’s offers a range of fountain drinks—primarily regular and diet soda. Water is always the healthiest choice, but if you’re looking for another option that won’t add many calories to your meal, a small cup of brewed iced tea has just 5 calories and no sugar.

Another beverage with more nutrition than soda or sugary juice is a small bottle of low-fat milk from the kid’s menu. With 90 calories and 2 grams of fat, it’s a healthier alternative to sugary soft drinks.

Diet-Specific Options

If you follow a special diet, you may find dining out to be a challenge. Even the most customizable fast food restaurants aren’t always easy to navigate with specific dietary needs.

On its website, Arby’s offers information about the ingredients it uses, a breakdown of what’s included in each menu item, and helpful documents for people with certain dietary considerations.

Gluten-free

Arby’s provides ordering guidelines for customers who are gluten-free.

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

  • Condiments, including many of Arby’s signature sauces (Cheddar Cheese sauce, Horsey sauce, Red Ranch sauce, Smoky Q sauce, Bronco Berry sauce, Dijon Honey Mustard, Parmesan Peppercorn Ranch, and others)
  • Angus beef, corned beef, pepper bacon, roast beef, pit-smoked ham, roast turkey, and brisket
  • Chopped salads and dressings
  • Vanilla, Chocolate, and Jamocha shakes

Low-carb

  • Chopped Farmhouse Roast Turkey Salad
  • Chopped Side Salad
  • Tree Top Applesauce
  • Chicken Tenders (2 pieces)
  • Light Italian Dressing, Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, Marinara sauce, ketchup, Buffalo dipping sauce, and Ranch dipping sauce

Low-FODMAP

While meat can often be suitable for a low-FODMAP diet, fast food and other restaurants often prepare it with high-FODMAP seasonings like garlic or cooked with onions.

Several of Arby’s meats are low-FODMAP friendly. You’ll want to forgo the buns used for sandwiches, as they’re made using high-FODMAP flour, but sliced meat can be paired with other ingredients to make a meal.

  • Roast beef, corned beef, turkey, and ham
  • Provolone, mozzarella, gouda, or Swiss cheese slices (if tolerated)
  • Sauerkraut and peppers
  • Potato Cakes

Diabetes-friendly

  • Chopped Farmhouse Turkey or Side Salad
  • Buttermilk Ranch Dressing or Light Italian Dressing
  • Chicken Tenders (2 or 3 pieces)
  • Ranch, Buffalo, or Honey Mustard dipping sauce
  • Turkey and Cheese or Roast Beef Slider

Low-fat

  • Chopped Farmhouse Turkey or Side Salad
  • Light Italian Dressing
  • Tangy BBQ or Buffalo dipping sauce
  • Turkey, Roast Beef, and Ham Slider
  • Tree Tops Applesauce

Low-sodium

  • Chopped Farmhouse Turkey or Side Salad
  • Potato Cakes (2)
  • Chicken Tenders (2 pieces)
  • Ketchup or Bronco Berry Sauce
  • Vanilla or Chocolate Shake (snack size)
  • Apple or Cherry Turnover

Vegetarian & Vegan

Given that Arby’s menu specifically caters to meat-eaters, and the chain has openly stated it has no intention of adding meat-free options, no items on the menu are guaranteed to be vegan or vegetarian.

With the heavy presence of meat and cheese in the kitchen, even the vegetables the restaurant uses may have come into contact with animal products.

A few items on Arby’s menu may be compatible with a vegan or vegetarian diet.

For vegans, the Chopped Side Salad (without cheese) dressed with either light Italian dressing or Balsamic Vinaigrette is the only option.

Vegetarians have a few additional menu items to consider, including:

  • All Shake Flavors
  • Jalapeno Bites
  • Curly Fries, Potato Cakes, Onion Rings, and Mozzarella Sticks
  • Apple or Cherry Turnover and Chocolate Chip or Triple Chocolate Cookies

Food Allergies and Safety

If you have food allergies, you’ll want to review Arby’s ingredients list carefully before placing an order. Luckily, the restaurant makes it easy to do so by providing a document on its website. 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 healthy meal on the menu may present a challenge. To get a better sense of your options, use Arby’s online menu and nutrition calculator to estimate the caloric cost of your meal. Whether ordering a salad or one of Arby’s signature sandwiches, the easiest way to reduce the calories, fat, and sodium is to avoid extras like cheese and bacon, as well as choosing the smallest portion size. While Arby’s does offer a menu of desserts, these choices are best avoided as they add unnecessary sugar, calories, and fat to your meal without the benefit of any real nutrition. However, if you do want to treat yourself, choose from the three flavors of “snack-sized” shake, all of which are under 350 calories.

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