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The #1 Unhealthiest Chick-fil-A Order (and What To Eat Instead)

A dietitian explains why you might want to avoid one especially unhealthy menu item at Chick-fil-A, and suggests a healthier alternative.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

I may be a nutritionist, but I won't lie: I eat fast food sometimes, like anyone else. One of my personal favorite chains is Chick-fil-A. Every once in a while, a battered chicken sandwich, waffle fries, or box of crispy nuggets hits the spot.

Still, when I scan this restaurant's poultry-forward menu, there's one item I'll never order. Hint: it doesn't even contain chicken!

Below, I'm sharing the number one unhealthiest menu item at Chick-fil-A. (And don't worry, I won't leave you hanging—I've also got a top choice for the healthiest order on the menu.)

The Unhealthiest Chick-fil-A Order Is… the Hash Brown Scramble Burrito with Sausage

chickfila sausage burrito
Nutrition (Per Serving):
Calories: 720
Fat: 47 g (Saturated fat: 16 g, Trans fat: 0.5 g)
Sodium: 1,450 mg
Carbs: 46 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 1 g)
Protein: 28 g

This beast of a breakfast wrap combines hash browns, scrambled eggs, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, and sausage strips in a flour tortilla. With its hefty, meaty ingredients, it's no surprise that the Hash Brown Scramble Burrito with Sausage packs 720 calories. On a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, that's 36% of your daily target. That may be fine for people who like to front-load calories early in the day, but when you're hungry later on, it can be easy to forget how many calories you took in at breakfast.

 12 Healthy Chick-fil-A Orders, According to Dietitians

Moving along to the burrito's nutrition facts, you'll notice that it also has 16 grams of saturated fat (mostly from the sausage and two varieties of cheese). That means you're 81% of the way towards hitting your daily value of 20 grams of saturated fat set by the FDA. When it comes to heart health, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a stricter daily upper limit of 13 grams (or 5-6% of total calories) per day of this type of fat, meaning this order far exceeds the AHA's limit. The sodium here won't do your heart any favors, either. Salty sausage and hash browns contribute 1,450 milligrams out of the recommended daily total of 2,300.

Apart from all of that, I'm also no fan of this mega-breakfast's lack of fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. If you're going to consume 720 calories, you might as well be getting at least one serving of fruit or veggies.

A Healthier Option is… the Market Salad with Grilled Chicken Filet

Chick fil a market salad
Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 320
Fat: 12 g (Saturated fat: 3 g)
Sodium: 560 mg
Carbs: 26 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 12 g)
Protein: 28 g

This popular salad has spawned numerous copycat recipes for people who want to recreate its fresh taste and healthy nutrition. More power to you if you want to try your hand at making it at home—but when you want the real thing, you can feel good about ordering this item at Chick-fil-A.

The salad's 320 calories are quite moderate for a small lunch or dinner, and its fat, saturated fat, and sodium aren't over the top, either. What I really like, though, is its cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, apples, blueberries, and mixed greens. These not only provide anti-inflammatory antioxidants, but they also provide a nice boost of fiber. You'll get 5 grams if you finish the whole thing.

 14 Best High-Protein Fast-Food Sandwiches

Interestingly, this salad has something in common with the Hash Brown Scramble Burrito with Sausage: the exact same amount of protein. For a far better-for-you meal, you can still keep up your protein stores—and enjoy something fresh, too!

Sarah Garone, NDTR
Sarah Garone, NDTR, is a registered nutrition and dietetic technician, and a health, nutrition, and food writer. Read more about Sarah
Sources referenced in this article
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