The second restaurant in our “Safe Fast Food Series” is Arby’s, aka my favorite restaurant in college. Who am I kidding? I craved their delicious roast beef long after college!
Arby’s was the first restaurant I looked at when we went dye-free. I remember literally breathing a sigh of relief when I saw that my cherished Classic Roast Beef Sandwich, while admittedly not super healthy, was free of artificial colors. But that was three years ago….
I’m sad to report that my favorite sandwich is no longer dye-free. Guys, I don’t think you understand, I’m genuinely sad about it. It was my fall-back fast food meal. I’m so bummed that I’m going to write them a letter. I don’t have high hopes it’ll change anything, but a girl’s gotta try!
I’m not sure why Arby’s changed over the past few years. There are a lot more food dyes now, specifically in their breads. And for a sandwich place, that means most foods are off limits. 😦
That said, there are still some pretty good TBHQ/BHT/artificial color free options.
Our Top 5 Picks:
1. Grand Turkey Club
2. Roast Beef Mighty Minis
3. French Dip (just don’t dip it in the artificially colored, chemical-laden Au Jus)
4. Roast Turkey Chopped Farmhouse Salad (leave off the cheese, which has annatto)
5. Ham, Egg, and Cheese on Sourdough or Croissant or Biscuit or Wrap
There may be even more choices if you can get them to switch out the bread on your sandwich. Here’s a list of the breads that DON’T have dyes: Whole Grain Wrap, Sub Roll, Sourdough Breakfast Bread, Mini Bun, Croissant, Breakfast Biscuit, Flour Tortilla*, and King’s Hawaiian Buns*. The last two have asterisks because they contain BHT. I’d like to make a special note that the King’s Hawaiian rolls you buy at the grocery store do not have BHT in them, just these ones specially made for Arby’s. Honestly, I feel a little disappointed in King’s Hawaiian, but I’ll probably forgive them because they’re just SOOOO delicious!
Here is the full list of dye-free Arby’s Food (* contains TBHQ or BHT):
French Dip (don’t eat the Au Jus!)
Grand Turkey Club
King’s Hawaiian Roast Beef Sandwich*
King’s Hawaiian Roast Beef Max Sandwich*
Prime-Cut Chicken Tenders*
Roast Beef Mighty Minis
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Buffalo Dipping Sauce
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Ranch Dipping Sauce
Spicy Three Pepper Sauce*
SIDES AND DESSERTS:
Chocolate Chunk Cookie*
Ham, Egg, and Cheese on Sourdough or Croissant or Biscuit or Wrap
French Toast Sticks*
And finally, the list of food you can get if you leave off ONE thing:
Roast Turkey Ranch and Bacon Wrap (no cheese)
Roast Turkey and Swiss Wrap (no mustard)
Crispy Chicken Chopped Farmhouse Salad* (no cheese)
Roast Turkey Chopped Farmhouse Salad (no cheese)
Chopped Side Salad (no cheese)
King’s Hawaiian Roast Beef and Swiss* (no mustard)
King’s Hawaiian Roast Beef and Swiss Max* (no mustard)
Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on Sourdough or Croissant or Biscuit or Wrap (no cheese)
Overall review: Arby’s isn’t as great as it used to be, but still provides a few meaty meals that haven’t been fried in terrible preservatives. For that reason I would recommend eating at Arby’s over McDonald’s.