Dunkin' Donuts' Gigantic Sandwiches Are Snacks, Not Lunch, Or So The Company Insists

Your days of nibbling on mini pretzel or trail mix might be over: Fast-food corporations are trying to reinvent snacking. Dunkin' Donuts is the latest chain to capitalize on this trend, and trying to convince us that Dunkin' Donuts sandwiches are snacks, not lunch. Entire sandwiches, like its 660-calorie Bacon Ranch Chicken Sandwich, are being hailed as snacks. The whole thing is laughable, but the consequences of this marketing tactic could be, well, very bad.

So, Dunkin' Donuts' menu has expanded to include more sandwiches beyond its breakfast varieties, such as BBQ Chicken, Ham and Cheese, and Texas Toast Grilled Cheese. But whatever you do, don't consider them lunch options. According to ABC News, Dunkin' CEO Nigel Travis told the Associated Press, "We're not moving into lunch. We're in snacking. We never talk about lunch."

The company's business strategy focuses on two main areas of growth — breakfast and snacking — as a way to capitalize on evolving eating patterns, which apparently has people eating more smaller snacks throughout the day rather than sticking to the traditional regimen of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For most of its existence, Dunkin' Donuts has received most of its business before 11 a.m. during the morning breakfast rush. In an effort to attract more customers throughout the day, it introduced a line of deli sandwiches that people could grab to go along with their Coolattas.

Dunkin' Donuts isn't the only fast-food restaurant utilizing this business strategy; other big names have been trying to target the snacking market as well. McDonald's offers Snack Wraps and Fruit 'N Yogurt Parfaits, while Taco Bell has its Nachos and Caramel Apple Empanadas to tie you over between meals. Because it's totally healthy to eat a whole plate of 760-calorie nachos before dinner.

And therein lies the issue with this whole snacking campaign. While it's true that snacking throughout the day, or eating smaller meals more frequently can help you maintain a healthy weight, the snacks that nutritionists recommend differ dramatically from the ones that these chains offer. Health experts recommend snacking on things like fresh fruit, nuts, baby carrots, and Greek yogurt, not a grilled, processed-cheese sandwich with bacon.

In fact, you might as well eat an entire meal if the snack contains just as many calories or more. Laura Catalusci, MA, a certified health education specialist in New York, tells Everyday Health: "Remember — your snack is not your main meal and should not contain more than 300 calories."

Well then, that leaves out just about everything on the Dunkin' Donuts menu. But for those of you who happen to pass by a DD (because they're on every corner) and you just can't resist a "snack," here are 7 items you should skip, and why...

Tuna Melt on a Croissant, 680 Calories

Because adding processed American cheese to your tuna salad and slapping it between a buttery croissant will probably shave five years off your life.

Texas Toast Grilled Cheese With Bacon, 550 Calories

I guarantee you won't eat one of these and think, "Well, I'm glad I did that."

Turkey Cheddar Bacon, 460 Calories

Because that slice of white cheddar looks like straight-up plastic.

BBQ Chicken, 590 Calories

Because who the hell goes to Dunkin' Donuts for BBQ?

Tuna Salad and Chicken Salad Wraps, 520 Calories and 500 Calories

Because it's trying its damnedest to look healthy, and we know it's not. Just the sheer nerve of these wraps should have you boycotting them.

Bacon Ranch Chicken Sandwich, 660 Calories

Strangely, this description says, "Freshly made and served on a warm French roll, you’ll savor it for lunch, dinner or any time in between."

Wait, I thought we weren't supposed to consider this lunch? Maybe in the end, DD just wants people to eat their sandwiches at all hours of the day.

Images: Dunkin' Donuts