Fast food fish sandwich deals and options signal start of Lent

Much like leaves changing color signals the transition from fall to winter, fast food restaurants adding fish deals to the menu often signals the beginning of the annual Christian period of observance known as Lent.

With many Christians choosing to not eat meat on Fridays as a form of penance during the course of the 40-weekday preparation of Lent, fast food restaurants often roll out fish sandwich and other meal deals and options for those choosing to take part in the practice. Here are a few of the fish offerings from the major fast food chains, along with nutritional information.

Arby's - Fish Sandwich

Known primarily for their roast beef sandwiches and chicken offerings, Arby's rolled out their Fish Sandwich offering back in January and are now offering various limited specials on said sandwiches. At participating locations, patrons can get two Fish Sandwiches for $4.00 or the Fish Sandwich combo meal, which includes small fries and a small drink, for the same price.

Arby's Fish Sandwich is described as, "Light, flaky fish fillet served with delicious tartar sauce, fresh lettuce," and has received the No.1 rating for a fast food fish sandwich from Grubgrade.com.

Nutritional info:
Calories - 536 (from Fat - 210)
Fat - 24g (Saturated Fat - 4g)
Sodium - 967mg
Carbs - 63g (Sugar - 9g)
Protein - 20g

Burger King - BK Big Fish

A year-round offering from Burger King, the BK Big Fish generally sees a price decline for Lent, with 2-for-deals, single-sandwich deals and combo deals offered at participating locations. Generally, it's $1.49 for a single sandwich, 2-for-$3.00 for two and $2.99 for the BK Big Fish combo.

Burger King describes the sandwich as, "A crisp, golden breaded 4.3-ounce filet, tangy tartar sauce, and fresh lettuce all served on a corn-dusted bun."

Nutritional info:
Calories - 640 (from Fat - 210)
Fat - 32g (Saturated Fat - 5g)
Sodium - 1370mg
Carbs - 66g (Sugar - 9g)
Protein - 23g

Carl's Jr. - Carl's Catch Fish Sandwich

Another year-round offering, Carl's Jr.'s Fish Sandwich, known as 'Carl's Catch' is one of the fish sandwich chain offerings to include tomato with the generally standard battered fish, tartar sauce and lettuce toppings. At some Carl's Jr.'s locations, restaurant goers will also see Fish & Chips on the menu, and, at Carl's Jr.-Green Burrito hybrid locations, fish tacos.

Nutritional info:
Calories - 560 (from Fat - 243)
Fat - 27g (Saturated Fat - 7g)
Sodium - 990mg
Carbs - 58g (Sugar - 2g)
Protein - 8g

Jack in the Box - Fish Sandwich Combo

Jack in the Box has already rolled out their main fish deal for Lent, a Fish Sandwich Combo for $2.99 at most restaurants. Jack in the Box's fish sandwich consists of a pair of battered "Alaskan Pollock" with lettuce and tartar sauce, and served on the chain's trademark sesame seed bun.

At just $2.99, which includes a small drink and small fries, the Fish Sandwich combo is, perhaps, the most budget friendly meal offering from any chain. The other fish option on the menu is Jack in the Box's Fish & Chips offering which includes three of the aforementioned filets, along with fries and a drink.

Nutritional info:
Calories - 647 (from Fat - 330)
Fat - 37g (Saturated Fat - 5g)
Sodium - 11247mg
Carbs - 62g (Sugar - 7g)
Protein - 18g

KFC - Fish Snacker

Having cornered the fried chicken market, but not wanting to miss out on business during Lent, KFC came out with a fish variation of its "Snacker" sandwich in 2008. Much like the other Snacker sandwiches, the Fish Snacker is a small, single Alaskan Pollock fish filet that has been breaded and fried, and served with a just tartar sauce on a sesame seed bun. Depending on the location, the Fish Snacker is usually offered around this time of year from anywhere from $0.99 to $1.49 for a single sandwich.

While the calorie, fat and sodium count for the Fish Snacker are significantly less than most of the other fast food offerings, keep in mind that the sandwich is called a "Snacker" for a reason, and is significantly smaller in size than the other fish offerings.

Nutritional info:
Calories - 320 (Calories from fat - 130g)
Fat - 14g (Saturated Fat - 3g)
Sodium - 540mg
Carbs - 32g (Sugars - 5g)
Protein - 15g

McDonalds - Filet-o-Fish

The original Lent fish dish, the Filet-o-Fish was rolled out in 1962 by a McDonalds owner whose customer base was largely Catholic. McDonalds' patrons will see a nice price cut on the Filet-o-Fish starting this week, with many restaurants offering either $0.99 or 2-for-$3.00 sandwich deals in various parts of the country. Made from Alaskan pollock, the Filet-o-Fish features a battered fish patty, along with a half-slice of American cheese and tartar sauce.

Nutritional info:
Calories - 380 (from Fat - 162)
Fat - 18g (Saturated Fat - 3.5g)
Sodium - 640mg
Carbs - 38g (Sugar - 7g)
Protein - 15g

Wendy's - Premium Cod Fillet Sandwich

Wendy's Premium Cod Filet Sandwich is relatively new to the block, having been first introduced in 2010, but the fast food chain, which recently edged out Burger King for the No.2 spot behind McDonalds, offers a solid option for Lent observers. Wendy's fish sandwich features cod caught in the North Pacific that has been battered in Panko breading and served with tartar sauce and lettuce on a buttered, toasted bun.

While Wendy's doesn't offer any standard deals on the Premium Cod Fillet Sandwich per say, the company has been rolling out printable coupons worth a dollar off ($1.00) the general $3.99 price for the fish sandwich combo meal.

Nutritional info:
Calories - 510 (from Fat - 330)
Fat - 26g (Saturated Fat - 6g)
Sodium - 970mg
Carbs - 51g (Sugar - 7g)
Protein - 18g

Image credit: Wikipedia Commons