Navigating the Chick-fil-A menu in pursuit of a healthy meal can be a challenge, especially when a Chick-fil-A Deluxe Sandwich, waffle fries and milkshake are calling your name.
With a menu that revolves around fried chicken, it’s safe to say not everything on the Chick-fil-A lineup is inherently nutrient-dense.
Still, with a bit of strategic planning, you can make health-conscious choices at Chick-fil-A.
It’s key to focus on balanced options, incorporating lean protein sources, fresh vegetables and whole grains, said Christopher Mohr, a registered dietitian and co-owner of Mohr Results, Inc., in Louisville, Kentucky.
“For those aiming for healthier choices, it’s advisable to opt for grilled over fried items, be selective with sauces and dressings, and consider portion sizes to align with your nutritional goals,” he said.
With these guidelines in mind, keep reading for what nutrition experts suggest ordering at “The Chick.”
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
For healthier choices at Chick-fil-A, go grilled.
“Choosing a grilled chicken breast sandwich will not only cut down on the saturated fat and the sodium, but it will also reduce the advanced glycation end products commonly created when protein is exposed to dry high-temperature heat like frying,” said Michelle Routhenstein, a preventive cardiology dietitian at EntirelyNourished.com in New York.
“It’s made with a boneless breast of chicken, marinated in a blend of seasonings and grilled for a tender and juicy backyard-grilled taste,” said Mohr.
He said the sandwich provides a good source of lean protein, which is essential for muscle maintenance and repair, and is lower in calories (330 calories) and fat (7 grams) than its fried counterparts.
“Pairing it with a side salad instead of fries can further enhance its nutritional profile,” he added.
Routhenstein also recommended forgoing fries but suggested pairing this sandwich with a fruit cup to increase the potassium level of your meal, which will negate the high sodium content.
Chick-Fil-A’s 300-calorie Grilled Nuggets are another health-conscious option, said Mohr.
“These bite-sized pieces of boneless breast of chicken are marinated with a special blend of seasonings and grilled,” he said.
“They offer a high-protein, low-fat alternative to the traditional fried chicken nuggets,” he also said, noting that these grilled nuggets are especially suitable for those looking to increase their protein intake without extra calories or fat.
The 60-calorie Fruit Cup is a refreshing and nutritious pick, said Mohr.
“It typically includes a mix of mandarin orange segments, fresh strawberries, red and green apple pieces, and blueberries,” he said, noting that the fruit cup is rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber — promoting digestion and overall health.
“It’s an excellent choice for adding a serving of fruit to your meal, especially as a dessert alternative to high-calorie, high-sugar options,” said Mohr.
Egg White Grill
For a healthy breakfast choice at Chick-fil-A, Mohr recommended the 290-calorie Egg White Grill.
“It features a breakfast portion of grilled chicken breast, grilled egg whites and American cheese served on a toasted multigrain English muffin,” he said, noting that this item provides a good balance of lean protein from the chicken and egg whites, helping to keep you fuller for longer.
Plus, said Mohr, it’s lower in calories and reduced fat content compared to traditional breakfast sandwiches — making it a smart choice for those watching their dietary intake.
Market Salad with Grilled Filet
Another healthy option at Chick-fil-A could be ordering a Market Salad with grilled chicken on top, suggested Routhenstein.
This 550-calorie salad comes with nutrient-dense ingredients such as mixed greens, red and green apples, strawberries, blueberries, roasted almonds and more.
“I would just remove half or more of the blue cheese crumble on top to lower the sodium and saturated fat content that can increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels,” she said.
Make a meal out of sides
Here’s an outside-the-box idea: “Many times, looking at the side options could give you a balanced meal that checks all the boxes,” said Routhenstein.
“For instance, if you wanted to have a Greek Yogurt Parfait, a Fruit Cup and a [Kale Crunch Side] salad, you would have a well-balanced meal that would be satisfying and a healthy on-the-go option.”
A representative for Chick-fil-A noted that anyone can check out the chain’s food options at https://www.chick-fil-a.com/stories/9-nutritious-chick-fil-a-menu-picks.
For more nutrition facts on menu items, visit Chick-fil-A’s nutrition and allergens page on its website.
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