While fast food has gotten a bad reputation, the fact is that 36% of Americans eat it on any given day of the week. It's easy, convenient, and in some cases, more economical than sitting down at a traditional restaurant or making food at home. While it's typical for fast food choices to be incredibly high in calories, sodium, and saturated fat, you don't have to feel bad about eating it. As a dietitian, fast food has a place in my diet for days I haven't planned (and those days that just don't go as planned) – because eating something is always better than being hungry.
Fast food chains have listened to consumer demand, making healthier meal and snack options available. One restaurant that's made eating a little on the go easier to do is Chick-fil-A. While there are still plenty of menu items that are delicious but don't qualify as "healthful," there are quite a few options that taste amazing and can keep you on track with your health goals.
Instead of just one or two items that aren't deep fried, slathered in mayonnaise, or excess sugar, Chick-fil-A has quite a variety of more health-conscious foods to choose from, setting them apart from other fast-food chains.
Is Chick-fil-A healthy?
Keep in mind that "healthy" is a very subjective term. What's healthy for one person may not be healthy for the next. Chick-fil-A has plenty of menu items that are high in sodium and saturated fat and low in fiber and other important nutrients. That being said, there are also multiple orders you can place at this fast-food joint that are healthful.
They offer grilled options instead of deep-fried ones and have menu items like fresh fruit cups, Greek yogurt, and kale salads. It's up to you to choose the healthier foods that are aligned with your unique health goals.
If you're on the go and need something quick to fill you up and leave you feeling energized, grab any of these 12 dietitian-approved healthy Chick-fil-A orders. Read on, and for more, don't miss 60 Healthy, Low-Calorie Fast-Food Meals Under 500 Calories.
12 Healthiest Meals to Order at Chick-fil-A
"Chik fil A's grilled nuggets can be a good entrée option, especially for people with diabetes, since they are lowest in carb with only 1 gram, 25 grams of protein, are low in fat (3 grams), and only half a gram of saturated fat," says Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, CDE, registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist, founder of Diabetes EveryDay and author of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies.
For a balanced meal, there's room for a fruit cup and a side of waffle fries, too, adds Smithson.
Hash Brown Scramble Bowl with Grilled Fillet
There are several ways to customize this breakfast bowl, but hashbrowns, eggs, and a grilled chicken fillet is my favorite. The extra protein from the grilled chicken, along with the eggs, adds 30 grams of protein to this scramble while keeping the fat lower than other options.
This option is lower in carbohydrates but still includes hashbrowns, making it a good choice for someone who may be watching their carb intake but still wants to enjoy traditional breakfast foods like potatoes!
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
"One healthy option at Chick-fil-A is their Grilled Chicken Sandwich, which provides a filling 28 grams of protein," says Kristin Draayer, MS, RDN. The lemon-marinated grilled chicken breast is so flavorful it doesn't even need sauce, but you could always add some buffalo or BBQ to spice things up. It's a classic chicken sandwich that's low in fat, high in protein, and even adds 4 grams of fiber to your day.
Greek Yogurt Parfait with Granola
A Greek yogurt parfait is perfect for a light breakfast or snack that will actually keep you full. While regular yogurt only has a couple of grams of protein, this Greek yogurt cup has 13 grams to help keep you full and stabilize the carbs from the granola.
If you want something a little more decadent, get the cookie crumbs instead of the granola. While granola may seem like the healthier choice, you'll save calories, carbs, and a small amount of sugar when you choose the cookie crumb topping. Pick whichever topping will be the most satisfying!
Egg White Grill
Talk about a high-protein breakfast sandwich! This egg white grill from Chick-fil-A could be my favorite fast-food breakfast option. Between the grilled chicken breast, egg whites, and cheese, one sandwich has 26 grams of protein. It's also low in saturated fat, which can add up quickly in breakfast sandwiches that include sausage or bacon. It's a great balanced breakfast choice to power through the morning.
Cup of Chicken Tortilla Soup
Shredded chicken combine with navy and black beans bring an impressive 23 grams of protein to this cup of soup. But even more impressive than the protein in this chicken tortilla soup is the fiber. Thanks to the beans and blend of vegetables, one serving has 17 grams of fiber. That's 60% of the daily value for fiber in just one cup!
Cool Chicken Wrap
"I love their cool chicken wrap – It feels indulgent when I am on the go or just don't want to cook, and packs a whopping 14 grams of fiber from the multi-grain wrap. Sometimes I order ranch for dipping too!" says Caroline Thomason, RD CDCES, a northern Virginia-based dietitian who helps women stop dieting and find confidence with food.
Cobb Salad with Crispy Nuggets
"The warm crispy nuggets on top of a stacked salad complete with roasted corn and Charred Tomato and Crispy Red Bell Peppers, is so satisfying and flavorful," says Dani Lebovitz, MS, RDN, a kids food and body positivity expert based in Franklin, TN, and founder of Kid Food Explorers. "Plus, it packs a surprising 42 grams of protein, keeping me full for hours even when I'm running after three kids!" Lebovitz adds.
The fruit cup is such a great addition to any meal or side on the Chick-fil-A menu. Only 12% of adults eat the recommended 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit daily. If you're one of them, adding this fruit cup to any meal can help you get closer to the goal. And this fruit cup isn't just a mixture of melons either. In each cup, you'll find red and green apple pieces, mandarin orange segments, fresh strawberry slices, and blueberries.
Kale Crunch Side Salad
If a traditional side salad seems a bit boring, you have to try this crunchy kale salad with curly kale, green cabbage, and toasted almonds. To top it off, it's tossed with a sweet and tangy Apple Cider and Dijon Mustard vinaigrette, making it easy to get a serving of leafy greens in with any meal.
Market Salad with Grilled Nuggets
One of my all-time favorite salads is loaded with protein from grilled chicken and almonds and filled with leafy greens and fresh fruit. The red and green apples, strawberries, and blueberries make this salad the perfect warm-weather meal.
You don't have to worry about this salad leaving you hungry – with almost 600 calories, plenty of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 32 grams of mostly healthy fats, you'll end your meal full and satisfied.
Sure, fruit can satisfy a sweet craving, sometimes, but when you're truly craving something decadent and sweet – treat yourself!
I love the Icedream cup since it's the perfect size to satisfy a sweet craving after a meal without being too filling.