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?