Food Showdown: Chicken Snack Wraps

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It used to be that bigger was better in the fast food world. Now that more of us are watching our wallets and our waistlines, the value menu and snack-size portions are all the rage at the fast-food giants. Four of the big chains--Burger King, KFC, McDonald's, and Wendy's--have a snack-size chicken sandwich. McDonald's and Wendy's even offer grilled versions.

The good news is that these are slimmed down versions of some of your favorite sandwiches. The bad news is that "slimmed down" means, in most cases, fried chicken wrapped in a flour tortilla doused in a creamy sauce.

Let's take a look at the offerings from three of the restaurants. (Burger King has not yet posted the nutritional info for its Spicy Chicken BK Wrapper. Considering that the commercial I saw for it boasted more chicken than other fast food snack wraps, I'm guessing the wrap will be heavier on fat and calories, too.)

So should you choose a wrap the next time you're hungry away from home? Let's weigh the pros and cons.

+ Fewer calories than a full-size sandwich
+ Cheaper than a whole sandwich (usually on "value menus" but prices vary in different states and countries)
+ Easy to eat package
+ Sometimes, grilled versions are available

- Flour tortilla is high in calories (140 calories and 4 g fat in some cases) and low in nutrition
- The tortilla accounts for more than half the calories in most wraps
- Iceberg lettuce is usually the only vegetable
- Wrap often comes with creamy or greasy sauce and is topped with cheese
- Chicken is usually breaded and fried

There are some benefits to choosing a wrap over a full-size fast-food sandwich, but these wraps seem a bit heavy for just a snack.

Overall, the best choices are the Wendy's Grilled Chicken Go Wrap, which has 260 calories and 11 g fat, and the McDonald's Grilled Honey Mustard Wrap, with 260 calories and 9 g fat. (Save calories by omitting the sauce and/or cheese, if you prefer.)

Fast food restaurants are by no means beacons of healthy nutrition, but they have considerably diversified their menus in recent years. You could do significantly worse than these wraps, but you could also make better choices, too. (We'll blog about some of those better choices soon!)

While these wraps might not cost much, there are likely other choices that pack more nutrition per bite.

Have you tried these wraps? Which one(s) do you like? Do you have a favorite fast food that's better than average?

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I used to work at a walmart and what fast food franchise do they have there? McDonalds. It was so hard to resist going anywhere but when you are stuck with a 30 minute lunch that is all you really have time for. One day I ordered a salad, for the amount of time it took to make it I thought they were picking the tomatoes and other veggies. About 5 minutes later after placing my order, I get it not only with the wrong dressing (I had ordered it with balsimac vinegarette and got ranch) but it came with an extra surprise: The butt end of the lettuce. Now I saw that on Hell's Kitchen and chef Ramsey was not too impressed. Neither was I but I was starving and needed something. So, not only did I get a high calorie dressing when I clearly asked for something else but they did a sloppy job on the salad they made me. Report
Nope. Haven't tried these and it's doubtful that I ever will. I don't do fast food anymore. EVER. There are simply too many healthy foods out there, even when eating out to continue killing ourselves with these types of foods. Report
I like making chicken wraps at home using grilled chicken strips, light ranch, light cheese and veggies. I do need to opt for the whole wheat tortillo though. I haven't tried them yet but since I like whole wheat it shouldn't be a problem. Report
I think I'd rather save my few bucks and eat something simple at home or keep an apple handy for the hunger moments, which I've been doing for years.

Although yesterday for some odd reason I ate Carl's Jr. which is so unlike me, then I ate KFC, which is even more odd..... I paid for it though, my lungs are mad at me as well as my digestive tract.

I ate small portions, I generally get the kids meal when I have some strange craving for fast foods, and I typically only eat half of the meal, which is good.... Report
I have tried both Wendy's and McDonald's snack wraps. I always get them with grilled chicken and "without sauce/dressing". The meat is usually so moist that you don't miss the sauce. I have tried the Wendy's spicy chicken wrap (no sauce) and it is very good if you like "spicy". (I know it's fried but I would only get this one about once every few month, if that.) Report
I was going to have that today, for lunch, I opted for a homemade grilled chicken salad. It looks so good, though, I do plan to have one, but, I'll make it myself. Report
I say buy some whole wheat, low fat wraps, grill some chicken for the week, and make your own wrap with lettuce, tomato, hummus or craisins or olive tapenade. It only takes a few minutes to assemble one when you have the ingredients on hand. These wraps from the fast food restaurants are too high in fat and sodium. Report
I like the McDonald's Ranch crispy. I don't feel too guilty eating it because it's not as bad as the Big Mac that I really want and I usually don't have fries with it. I try to get the yogourt cup instead. I'm starting to develop lack of enthusiasm for McD's fries these days which is a good thing!

I have also been contemplating trying to make these wraps at home. That way I can control the kind of dressing, the type of lettuce, if I want more veggies, the amount of cheese and wrap in a whole wheat tortilla. Report
I like the Wendy's wrap the best,and get the grilled version. I didn't eat it for a snack ,though. It was the main meal, with a baked potato. I had McDonald's a long time ago, but I prefer the Wendy's wrap the best. I don't usually get this ,though. Report
I like the McDonald's snack wrap best. For lunch, I get 2 with no sauce and combine them for 1 larger wrap. So more protein, and not many more calories. I can stay under 350 cal for lunch that way. Report
I like McDonald's ranch wrap. I ask for it with lite sauce because they put way too much on otherwise. In general, we are eating out much less lately so I do not have them often. If we are eating out, I will usually "cheat" with something that I really like. Report
Does anybody know how many calories does a Friendly's chicken wrap have? Please e-mail me if you guys know the answer. I always order that when I go to that restaurant = ] Report
Oh my gosh, I love the McDonalds snack wraps, and I only get them grilled, (except once when they said it would be 5 minutes and I was in a hurry). I figured they were around 300 calories...Still, just like the article says, the unhealthy nutrients aren't worth it, all the preservatives and sodium and who knows whats given to the chickens...Either way, I will probably try to enjoy them less now, but at least I was eating one of the least, uh, worst ones?! Report
some of the cons you put down are only cons if you let me be, example you said the meat usually comes fried or breaded but you can always ask them for it grilled, and without the sauces and creams.That being said I try to avoid fastfood as much as possible. Report
I only eat out when I'm running errands over lunch or after work and will get home too late to eat. On those rare occasions, I choose the grilled chicken wrap at McD or the go wrap at Wendys or a kid's meal at Wendys and sometimes treat myself to the childs version of a frosty. I need to eat 2 wraps usually (maybe some day just one will be enough ;), but I love the idea of combining the fillings and put it in one tortilla to save calories and fat. And being the frugal person I am, I would save the tortilla to use in a future meal. Thanks for the great idea! Report
I liked the buffalo wrap until about 2 minutes ago. I thought I was doing good by walking my granddaughter to Mcdonalds to play and she has a cheeseburger and orange juice and I a snackwrap and a black coffee. Man was I born yesterday,????? Im killing the girl. No more eating I will buy the apples for her and myself now. Thankss Report
I've had the McDonald's grilled ranch snack wrap several times, not bad so long as it's the grilled chicken and you get a side of salad or soup and not the fries... I would suggest the grilled versions to anyone looking to satisfy their grumbellies before grocery shopping... Report
I do eat them occasionally, especially when traveling. If you order them without sauce, much better. If you order 2 and put all the stuff from the 2 on 1 tortilla, then you've got a decent lunch. Sometimes I order a side salad with it.
I've tried the ones at McD's and Wendys. They are good but not really worth the calories. They don't go very far in filling you up!! Report
Dairy Queen has them too, grilled and crispy, and you can get them customized to your liking (no sauce, no cheese). They do still use the iceberg lettuce though, but that's because it's cheap. Report
I would have to eat 2, so that would blow my calories out of the water for one meal. Report
My children call McDonalds/KFC and the like - "sometimes food". That is, we don't eat at these "restaurants" every day, and probably not even monthly. The wrap is probably more "healthy" than the burger; but it is still "sometimes food". If we are in a situation where I can choose between something at McDonalds/KFC etc and Subway for example, I will choose Subway. But if we are travelling and its KFC or nothing - I'll choose the Wrap. McDonalds in Australia has Chicken salads - which I believe is better than a wrap- I'll only use half of the french dressing sachet. Report
I think the mcdonalds crispy chicken snack wrap with ranch is SO good. But to me, it's not worth it for something that doesn't really even fill you up! Report
I don't like fast food and my Dr. asked me stay away from because of colestral problems to if I really want fast food I go Veggie sandwich without cheese and sauce at subway Report
I would rather eat at home and know what I'm eating and staying healthy.

Down with FAT food places!!! I haven't eaten fast food junk since 11/18/2005 and I'm loving it!!

Hey girls & guys you go for it and thanks for all the good ideas Report
wraps are great.. Report
I have had the chicken grill wrap w/out sauce and it tastes pretty good. I don't really like the flour tortilla but I only get them when I am in a place where I need to. Usually I get the snack size Fruit and Yogurt parfait. Report
I tried the Wendy's Grilled Chicken Wrap the other day in an attempt to find a better fast food option - flavor was great, but I thought of it more like a meal than a snack - maybe that's the key to adding these into your meal plan! Report
I'd rather spend my calories on other things. Report
If I do eat fast food it's either the Asian Chicken Salad with Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing at McDonald's OR the Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich Combo without Mustard Sauce, a small Chili with crackers (instead of fries), and a Light Lemonade at Wendy's. Delicious! Report
I agree I dont eat out I know what I am eating if i cook it myself Report
joyElise had it right- I also like Wendyís grilled chicken sandwich WITHOUT honey mustard- I think most fast food sauces taste HORRIBLE. If you get this sandwich with the chicken right off the grill, ask for extra tomato and you dont NEED any additional sauces!

Also, it is VERY IMPORTANT to note that Wendy's does NOT use TRANS FATS! McDonald's food has alot of trans-fats. Even if it means you have more calories, you should always opt for trans-fat free foods because trans fats have really bad effects on good vs bad cholesterol levels. Report
These are surprising in the protein content. WISH they had more fiber. A couple are high in sodium, but one can cut that down elsewhere if you plan... Report
I guess I'm lucky; I just don't like the taste of any fast food! Report
the sodium content is awful Report
I have tried the McDonalds wrap and it was a good choice - compared to other choices when in that situation and need to eat, especially with other people. It was light and not too filling. I usually bypass fast food and just get home to eat but sometimes you go along with the crowd. Report
I bought the SOUTH BEACH DIET low cal wraps in the meat section of the grocery store and tried them, and I thought the wrap tasted like cardboard. Won't waste money on that again, but the frozen SBD meals are good. Report
I make my own chicken grill wrap at home...whole wheat tortilla, grilled chicken, low calorie/fat ranch, low-fat cheese, iceberg and romaine lettuce, sometimes shredded carrot if I have it. I personally like mine. Report
I've had the McDonald's one before...And, I've had the KFC one...Honestly, they are nothing to rave about...But, that's my opinion... Report
I tried the McDonald's Snack Wrap and I decided calorically it's not worth it. It tastes ok but I was still hungry. I would much rather go to SubWay and get a 6 inch or better yet wait until I get home. If I want to indulge in fast food I am going to go for it; forget the "healthy options". Even though some places try, it's not the place you want to go looking for health food. You end up disappointed with because thosel "healthy options" are still relatively high in calories, sodium, and fat and lack nutritional value. Report
Thank you for the article, it just reinforces my decision not to eat fast food. Report
I really don't eat fast food at all and when I do I get a salad. Or I usually eat subway. Report
I stay as far away from FAT food place as possible. I am asked all the time if I think its possible to never eat fast foods. I yes Yes YES. I plan never to ever eat at one of those place....see the video on the 6 year old burger... ( go to Report
I love the McDonald's grilled chicken chipotle wrap...yum! Report
I like the Wendyís grilled chicken sandwich. Iím not a honey mustard fan, so I leave it off and add ketchup. At 290 calories, itís 3.5g of fat and 28g of protein. (With the honey mustard itís 320 cals and 7g of fat.) Itís a lot more protein than the chicken go wrap, but I might try it w/o the cheese at some point.

Of course, my favorite fast food is the Carl's Junior BBQ chicken sandwich (360 cal, 4.5g of fat, 34g of protein) but I live in MA and only get it when I go visit my Mother-in-Law. It's so yummy it's not even fast foody. Report
if I would have to choose between my arm and a chicken wrap, I would definitely go for the wrap. :-) I had the McD grilled wrap before with chipotle bbq. It is actually not bad, but I do eat for lunch with the fruit-and-yogurt parfait, not for snack. I never tried the wrap from Chick-fil-a, but it sounds great. A few years ago Wendy's offered a chicken ceasar pita bread, those were my favorite, but after a few months they dissapeared. I guess not everybody felt the same about it. Report
The McDonald's grilled chicken wrap with honey-mustard is the only thing I ever get from there. Report
If I,m out & decide to go the fast food route I go to Wendy's. A side salad with italian and a chili. Paired with a no calorie drink I'm out the door under 500 calories. Report
I'd rather just go for a salad. Money isn't the issue with me. I like best quality. Report
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