- Chick-fil-A offers some menu items that have a lot of protein and are low carbohydrates, which some dietitians say make them great options.
- Waffle fries and the classic Chick-fil-A sandwich are both items some dietitians and nutritionists suggest ordering.
- Fruit cups are a popular meal addition suggestion from dietitians and nutritionists.
For more than 70 years, Chick-fil-A has been serving chicken sandwiches to patrons around the country. The fast-food joint prides itself on having a burger-free menu, making Chick-fil-A a one-of-a-kind fast-food establishment.
When you’re on the go or are just craving some chicken, it can be tough to find mindful fast-food options. Fortunately, some of Chick-fil-A’s menu items are a bit more healthy than others. So if you’re looking for recommendations as to what to eat, we talked to four dietitians about what they would order from the Chick-fil-A menu and why.
Here’s what dietitians suggest ordering from Chick-fil-A.
The Chick-fil-A sandwich paired with a super-food side salad will help satisfy cravings.
Kara Lydon, registered dietitian, licensed nutritionist, owner of Kara Lydon Nutrition, and blogger at The Foodie Dietitian, encourages her clients to listen to their body’s internal wisdom to decide what sounds good and what feels good in the moment.
“If you’re going to Chick-fil-A, something tells me you’re craving their signature chicken sandwich,” Lydon told INSIDER. A Chick-fil-A Sandwich has 440 calories, 19 grams of fat, and 40 grams of carbs.”Enjoy it, as it contains protein, carbs and fat and then balance it out with a super-food side to get some veggies in for variety.”
One dietitian suggests pairing your Spicy Southwest Salad with a fruit cup.
Lydon advises anyone who is looking for a balanced meal that incorporates all three essential macronutrients including carbs, protein and fat, to check out Chick-fil-A’s Spicy Southwest Salad, which has 340 calories and 14 grams of protein. She advises pairing it with a fruit cup, which contains mandarin oranges, strawberries, red and green apple slices, and blueberries.
“This is a salad that’s sure to feel satisfying and satiating. It’s packed with protein from the chicken and beans, contains fats from the cheese and dressing, and has some carbohydrates from the tortilla chips,” said Lydon. “Pair this with a fruit cup and you’ve got a well-balanced meal.”
The Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap pairs well with chicken noodle soup.
The Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap contains 350 calories and a whopping 37 grams of protein.
“The grilled chicken wrap is a nourishing option because you’re getting satiating protein from the chicken, fat from the cheese and carbohydrates from the flatbread,” Lydon told INSIDER. “Pair it with chicken noodle soup to make it a well-balanced meal.”
The chicken tortilla soup has plenty of protein and it isn’t too high in calories.
The chicken tortilla soup has 23 grams of protein and 340 calories with 10 grams of fat. Mitzi Dulan, a registered dietitian, and nutritionist recommend this option because of how much protein it contains.
“Protein helps make you feel satisfied. It is also important for the immune system and maintaining your lean muscle mass,” said Dulan.
Grilled nuggets are a mindful alternative to the signature nuggets.
If you still want to chow down on nuggets but want to avoid the fried version, Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN, and owner of Chelsey Amer Nutrition, recommends ordering Chick-fil-A’s grilled nuggets. This menu item has 140 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, and 25 grams of protein.
“These are a kid-friendly choice, with a protein punch,” Amer told INSIDER. “Opting for grilled nuggets over fried is a much lighter choice, with over three times less fat.”
17 things you never knew about Chick-fil-A
The Market Salad has fruits, veggies, and protein.
With a combination of greens, fresh fruit, nuts, and grilled chicken, the Market Salad is one of the most nutritionally balanced options at Chick-fil-A, according to Amer. The bed of lettuce, chicken, fruits, contains 340 calories, 14 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbs, and 28 grams of protein.
But, she’s quick to point out that “the sodium content is higher than desired for just one meal, so it’s not the best everyday choice.”
Water is always a good idea.
Like many fast food restaurants, Chick-fil-A has a variety of soda to choose from. The fast-food chain also brews up its own sweet tea and lemonade, but Amer suggests skipping the sugary drinks, instead pairing water with your Chick-fil-A meal.
“Be sure to stay hydrated,” said Amer. “Water is always the best beverage of choice when having a salty, fast-food meal.”
A sunflower multi-grain bagel is a decent option at any time of day.
“As a well-balanced option, it contains 43 grams of carbohydrate including sunflower seeds, cracked oats, and millet, as well as 8 grams of protein,” Mancella told INSIDER. “I suggest adding a side of fruit cup for some additional fibre. You’ll even get 25% of your daily vitamin C at only 50 calories more.”
Chick-n-Strips have less carbs than you might think.
“This is my personal go-to,” said Mancella. According to Chick-fil-A, the Chick-n-Strips are hand-breaded and pressure cooked in peanut oil. “If you are looking to keep the carbohydrates on the lower side during your lunch or dinner, these strips contain only 21 grams of carbohydrates and a hefty 26 grams of protein.”
Waffle fries can be a decent gluten-free option.
“Don’t be afraid of the fries. These contain only 280 mg of sodium and can be a great option for those looking to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle,” said Mancella. “The waffle fries contain only 2 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat.”
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