Every Item at Chick-fil-A—Ranked
Order wrong, and you're playing chicken with your health. Here's the best and worst of the Chick-fil-A menu. And if you love our rankings, don't miss these restaurant foods with crazy-high amounts of sugar!
Sandwiches… First, the Worst
Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe
570 calories, 27 g fat (8 g saturated), 1,750 mg sodium, 7 g sugar, 35 g protein
Meet the worst sandwich on the Chick-fil-A menu. The sodium count alone is clucking ridiculous—it has more than a day's worth, and as much as 65 Rold Gold Tiny Twist pretzels! But we're even more grossed out by the list of 84—yes, 84—ingredients, only a few of which are natural foods. The chicken's seasoning includes MSG, a chemical salt used to make foods more savory (the FDA receives complaints each year that it makes people feel weak or headachey); there's more of that in the "spicy" seasoning, which also includes artificial colors; and the list goes on to include multiple types of added sugars, fattening oils and Dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foam agent. There's even chemicals in the pickles!
Chick-fil-A Chicken Deluxe Sandwich
500 calories, 23 g fat (7 g saturated), 1,640 mg sodium, 7 g sugar, 32 g protein
Slightly less devious than its spicy cousin, thanks to a lower calorie count, this sandwich still contains more than a day's worth of sodium, artificial colors normally found in candy, and fatty oils. That's just the nature fast food, you say? Well, somehow McDonald's manages to make their Big Mac with healthier ingredients than it takes to make this Deluxe nightmare.
Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich
490 calories, 21 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 1,600 mg sodium, 5 g sugar, 30 g protein
Another sandwich with more than a day's worth of sodium—and fortunately, the last. Where do they pack in all that sodium? There's salt in the chicken seasoning, the spicy seasoning, the spicy seasoned coater, the bun and the pickles—basically, in every ingredient except the box it comes in.
Chick-fil-A Chicken Salad Sandwich
500 calories, 20 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 1,120 mg sodium, 12 g sugar, 28 g protein
Don't let the rolled oats on top of the bread fool you: They're the second-to-last and therefore least prominent ingredient in this "healthy" imposter, coming right before the tiny leaf of green lettuce. Taking a starring role instead are chicken tenderloins smothered in four kinds of sugar, and a mayo made with made with high fructose corn syrup. Just what you don't want in your "salad."
And now…the Best Sandwiches
Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich
440 calories, 18 g fat (4 g saturated), 1,390 mg sodium, 5 g sugar, 28 g protein
This could have just as easily been the best of the worst, but it made it into the official "best" category because the calories aren't too crazy. You'll rarely find anything deep-fried designated an "Eat This" at Eat This, Not That! but Chick-fil-A's classic sandwich is a surprisingly modest indulgence. You can go even lighter by ordering it grilled, but if you hanker for fried chicken, there are much worse ways you could get your fix, even if we're not thrilled by the MSG, artificial colors, sodium count, and—how could we forget?—Dimethylpolysiloxane, a silicone-based antifoaming agent also found in Silly Putty and shampoo. But that's not unique to this sole item, so if it freaks you out, perhaps steer clear of Chick-fil-A in general.
Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
440 calories, 14 g fat (7 g saturated), 1,090 mg sodium, 8 g sugar, 38 g protein
At Eat This, Not That!, we believe there's a direct line between ingredients you can pronounce and a healthy foods, and the Grilled Chicken Club is proof of that: Unlike the sandwiches you've just read about, it has no anti-foaming agents, no artificial colors and no MSG. Instead, you'll find chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, buckwheat flour, tomatoes, lemon peel and other ingredients, tallying up to a low calorie count, and a grab-and-go lunch option you can feel good about eating. Finally, a sandwich we can recommend.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
320 calories, 5 g fat (1.5 saturated), 800 mg sodium, 7 g sugar, 30 g protein
Simply put: Order this. Every time. Made with many natural ingredients we can get behind—such as whole spelt flour, red bell peppers, and fruit juices for sweetness—this is the very best sandwich at Chick-Fil-A, and one of the best fast food sandwiches anywhere.
Nuggets and Strips
4 count: 470 calories, 24 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 1,320 mg sodium, 2 g sugar, 43 g protein
Chick-fil-A calls these "generously portioned" which is fast-food code for they're cheap to make and bad for you. The Chick-n-Strips have the fat and sodium equivalents of 3 servings of mac-and-cheese at Denny's, as well as MSG, an anti-foam agent and various salts! Strip down your chicken; don't order chicken strips.
8 count: 270 calories, 13 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 1,060 mg sodium, 1 g sugar, 28 g protein
Eat This, Not That! recently ranked every fast food chicken nugget, and Chick-fil-A's came in 9th on the worst list—and nowhere near the best list. That's because we can't pronounce half the ingredients.
Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets
8 count: 140 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 530 mg sodium, 1 g sugar, 23 g protein
Perfect after a workout or as a bite-sized lunch, these protein-bombs are better than any nutrition bar. The sugar count's super low, the sodium's kept in check (relatively), and they're low in fat and calories. Plus: They're made from whole breast fillets. Order these guilt-free. They ranked #1 in our list of every chicken nugget—ranked!
Side Items… First, the worst
Waffle Potato Fries
400 calories, 21 g fat (3 g saturated), 180 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 5 g protein
It might just be our imagination, but waffle fries just seem to taste better, don't they? Chick-Fil-A gets major points for having the least amount of salt in their fries than any other fast food restaurant, but the high calorie count keeps this dish on the Not That! side of the equation. They ranked #7 worst in our list of every fast food French Fry—ranked!
Chicken Salad Cup
360 calories, 24 g fat (4.5 saturated), 1,120 mg sodium, 5 g sugar, 28 g protein
Remember that time Elmer Fudd high-dove into a glass of water? We thought of that reading the ingredients list of the Chicken Salad Cup. How did Chick-fil-A manage to squeeze ⅔ a day's worth of salt, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and multiple sugars into one small container? Sneaky wabbits.
Hearty Breast of Chicken Soup
140 calories, 2.5 g fat (1 g saturated), 1,040 mg sodium, 2 g sugar, 12 g protein
As any bubbie can tell you, good chicken soup is made by putting ingredients in a pot and cooking 'em up. So without further ado, we present the ingredients list in this hearty—not healthy—soup. Do a shot every time you see the word maltodextrin—it's a caloric sweetener and flavor enhancer made from rice, potatoes or, more commonly, cornstarch that has the potential to raise blood glucose and insulin levels.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
260 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 960 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 22 g protein
Although this bowl features some of the same chemical ingredients found in the Chicken Soup, at least it contains half as many ingredients overall, and the most prominent are ones we love: water, navy beans, onions, black beans, corn…..green chile peppers. In other words, soup!
50 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 10 g sugar, 0 g protein
Can't go wrong with red and green apples, Mandarin oranges, blueberries and strawberries. Pair it with a protein, like the grilled chicken nuggets.
80 calories, 4.5 g sodium (3 g saturated), 110 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 5 g protein
With lettuce, cheese, cabbage and carrots, the side salad is the perfect way to boost fiber and protein.
Per 5 oz portion: 140 calories, 7 g fat (N/A saturated)
We'll have exact nutritionals on the new Superfood Side, with kale and broccolini, when it's launched January 18th, but we can already tell you it's the best side dish here because it's got to be less salty than the soups and more flavorful than the salad. Look for an update here next week.
Breakfast… They're All Pretty Bad
Despite making healthy strides at lunchtime, Chick-fil-A continues to offer high-sodium calorie-bombs for the most important meal of the day. We can't fully recommend any of these, but here they are ranked from worst to best.
The Breakfast Platters
Chicken: 680 calories, 37 g fat (13 g saturated), 1,920 sodium, 7 g sugar, 30 g protein
Bacon: 610 calories, 34 g fat (13 g saturated), 1,660 mg sodium, 6 g sugar, 24 g protein
Sausage: 810 calories, 54 g fat (20 g saturated), 1,850 mg sodium, 6 g sugar, 28 g protein
The sun rises. The rooster crows. And you're hungry for some freshly-cracked eggs, served alongside Dimethylpolysiloxane, Yellow # 5, artificial flavor, "natural butter type flavor" and more sodium than almost every menu item at Taco Bell. That's what you get if you order the Chicken, Bacon or Sausage breakfast platters. So don't! They're the worst breakfast at this place.
Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
670 calories, 44 g fat (19 g saturated), 1,470 mg sodium, 5 g sugar, 23 g protein
Sausage is far worse than bacon, because it ups the sodium count—the slice here has three kinds of salt in one patty: sodium phosphates, MSG and old-school salt! The Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit is also the most caloric sandwich on Chick-fil-A's entire offerings, and has more calories than even the bacon platter. Avoid.
Sausage Breakfast Burrito
500 calories, 28 g fat (11 g saturated), 910 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 22 g protein
Sausage again—this time mashed up with "natural butter type flavor," starches, cheeses and mold inhibitors in a carb-laden wrap. Burri-don't.
430 calories, 17 g fat (7 g saturated), 240 mg sodium, 29 g sugar, 7 g protein
If it's before noon and you're eating something with icing on it, you better be five years old and at a child's birthday party. Because otherwise, you're putting, in this case, seven kinds of sugar into your body with very little protein to provide long-lasting energy. They should rename this a cluster headache.
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
460 calories, 23 g fat (12 g saturated), 1,210 mg sodium, 6 g sugar, 18 g protein
Every chicken joint needs a biscuit, but that doesn't mean you have to order it. Chick-fil-A's is made with vegetable oil shortening and butter oil. Add bacon and cheese into it, and you've got a sandwich with more fat than a Bacon Double Cheeseburger at Burger King!
Spicy Chicken Biscuit
450 calories, 21 g fat (8 g saturated), 1,260 mg sodium, 6 g sugar, 16 g protein
You've heard us rail against the Spicy Chicken patty, in the sandwich section. It fares do better wedged into a biscuit.
Chicken, Egg & Cheese Bagel
480 calories, 20 g fat (6 g saturated), 1,040 mg sodium, 8 g sugar, 27 g protein
Even at a place like Dunkin' Donuts, the bagels are one of the unhealthiest things on the menu—worse than the glazed! Remember that whenever you see a bagel at a fast food joint, including this one, which is a big ol' oily, doughy white flour ball ruining the decent protein in between.
440 calories, 20 g fat (8 g saturated), 1,210 mg sodium, 6 g sugar, 16 g protein
Pro tip: Order this same chicken later in the day, on a regular sandwich, and save yourself 4 grams of saturated fat and get an extra 12 grams of protein.
370 calories, 14 g fat (4 g saturated), 900 mg sodium, 8 g sugar, 20 g protein
To save money and space, fast food restaurants repurpose lunch items in the morning. That's why you'll find Chick-fil-A Nuggets wedged into yeast rolls, and dubbed "Minis." Compared to everything else you've seen so far, they're OK, with 6 grams less fat than a Chicken Biscuit.
Chicken Breakfast Burrito
460 calories, 20 g fat (8 g saturated), 1,030 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 26 g protein
Grab-and-go breakfast burritos only seem like they're convenient. Start your day with ⅔ of your recommended sodium intake and you'll be more tired leaving Chick-fil-A than when you walked in.
Greek Yogurt Parfait
Without granola or cookie crumbs: 100 calories, 3.5 g fat (2 g saturated), 35 mg sodium, 11 g sugar, 6 g protein
It's Greek yogurt, plain and simple, with sugar, strawberries and blueberries. Just skip the granola (aka sugar-coated nuts and fruit) and Oreo cookie crumbs (duh).
290 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 60 mg sodium, 20 g sugar, 2 g protein
In the time it takes to go to Chick-fil-A and order the oatmeal, you could microwave 20 bowls of Quaker Oats—and save yourself a few bucks. But this is still the best breakfast option here, especially if you scrape off the sugary toppings and pair it with an apple from home. Every fast food chain should offer it.
And a Note About the Hash Browns
240 calories, 15 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 400 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 2 g protein
For a measly 2 grams of protein, the Chick-fil-A hash browns aren't worth the whopping 15 grams of fat (which comes from canola oil, palm oil and fully refined high oleic canola oil.
Wraps and Salads
430 calories, 22 g fat (7 g saturated), 1,370 mg sodium, 6 g sugar, 39 g protein
How does this salad have nearly a day's worth of sodium? Because it's got Chick-fil-A Nuggets cut up and tossed over it. A pig wearing a fancy dress is still a pig.
330 calories, 13 g fat (2.5 calories), 1,090 mg sodium, 11 g sugar, 29 g protein
Mandarin oranges pair nicely with the protein—if only the chicken wasn't breaded: you'd kick down the sodium count.
Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap
340 calories, 13 g fat (4.5 saturated), 900 mg sodium, 3 g sugar, 36 g protein
Unlike the breakfast burrito, this is one grab-and-go item we love: The handy package is made mostly with Eat This, Not That!-approved ingredients, starting with the wrap, a flatbread crafted from flax flour and oat fiber, two belly-filling starches that'll keep you regular on the regular.
Grilled Market Salad
200 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated), 570 mg sodium, 8 g sugar, 23 g protein
As we've learned, "grilled" means good at Chick-fil-A. This salad has grilled chicken, juice for sweetening and baby field greens, blueberries and Blue cheese, some of our favorite superfoods.