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7 Unhealthiest Chick-fil-A Orders, According to Dietitians

High in saturated fat, calories, sodium, and added sugars, these are the Chick-fil-A menu items experts say you should skip.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in calories, fat, saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium and falls short in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains – far off from the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. With a third of all Americans eating fast food each and every day, it's no surprise we're falling short on these beneficial foods and nutrients and suffering the consequences.

Even fast food joints that typically offer higher quality foods, like Chick-fil-A, have plenty of menu options that can make it hard to get a nutritionally balanced diet if eaten too often. While no one food or meal can make or break your health, hitting the drive-thru each week and ordering foods high in saturated fat, calories, and sodium can set you further and further away from your health goals.

When choosing the menu items to limit at Chick-fil-A, experts look at these three nutrients:

  • Saturated fat: The American Heart Association recommends that you get no more than 5-6% of your calories from saturated fat to reduce the risk of heart disease, while the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest limiting it to 10% or less of your daily calories. Skip fast food options that have more than 8 grams of saturated fat, which would put you at over a third of the recommended daily limit.
  • Sodium: The average American eats over 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, which is 1,000 milligrams over the recommended 2,300 milligrams per day. Eating too much sodium can increase your blood pressure, damaging your heart, kidneys, eyes, and brain.
  • Added sugars: Sweet treats and sauces can pack in added sugars, which experts recommend getting less than 10% of your calories from each day. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you should aim for less than 50 grams of added sugars. Some sweet treats from Chick-fil-A can pack double this amount in just one serving.

The unhealthiest Chick-fil-A orders

Here are some of the worst menu items for your health at Chick-fil-A, according to dietitians. And for more on what you should be ordering, check out 12 Healthy Chick-fil-A Orders, According to Dietitians.

Hash Brown Scramble Burrito with Nuggets

Chick-fil-A's Hash Brown Scramble Burrito with Sausage
Per serving: 700 calories, 40 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 1,770 mg sodium, 51 g carbs ( 3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 34 g protein

"The amazing taste of the Hash Brown Scramble Burrito comes at a cost," says Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND. While you can customize your hash brown scramble burrito to include any meat you'd like, or even get it without potatoes, the traditional burrito comes with their signature chicken nuggets.

While the 700 calories and 34 grams of protein are bound to be satisfying, you're also getting 1,770 milligrams of sodium. That's 77% of the recommended daily limit of sodium for the entire day!

 The 10 Best High-Protein Fast-Food Breakfast Orders

Peach Milkshake

Chick-fil-A Peach Milkshake
Per milkshake (412 g): 620 calories, 20 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 400 mg sodium, 101 g carbs ( 1 g fiber, 98 g sugar), 11 g protein

"Chick-fil-A's Peach Milkshake is an unhealthy choice due to its high calorie, sugar, and fat content," says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT of One Pot Wellness. Each order of this fast-food milkshake has 13 grams of saturated fats and a massive 98 grams of added sugars, almost 200% of the amount recommended in one day.

"Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can lead to health concerns such as weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease," says Chun. And, the 13 grams of saturated fat is 60% of the recommended daily limit. The high amount of saturated fat in this milkshake contributes to health concerns such as high cholesterol and heart disease, Chun adds.

Mac and Cheese

chick-fiil-a mac and cheese
Per medium-size serving: 450 calories, 29 g fat (16 g saturated fat), 1,190 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 20 g protein

"The Chick-fil-A Mac and Cheese is one of the worst choices on the menu," says Amanda Lane, MS, RD, CDCES, founder of Healthful Lane Nutrition. Remember that a side dish is a complement to a meal, and this one adds an entire 450 calories, 16 grams of saturated fat, and 1,190 milligrams of sodium. That's more saturated fat and sodium than we'd recommend in an entire meal. Lane recommends the fruit cup or side salad to go with your meal as a healthier option.

 6 Unhealthiest Fast-Food Mac & Cheese Dishes

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich

Chick-fil-A's Grilled Chicken Club
Per serving: 520 calories, 22 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 1130 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (3 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 38 g protein

For a fast-food chicken sandwich, this isn't the worst, but we can do better. One Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich has 8 grams of saturated fat, which is 36% of the recommended daily limit, and 1,130 milligrams, or 49% of the DV for sodium.

To save 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 150 grams of sodium, skip the slice of cheese.

Southwest Salad with Spicy Grilled Fillet

Chick fila southwest salad
Per serving: 690 calories,49 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 1,220 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (8 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 33 g protein

"If this main course salad is served as listed on the menu – you are getting more than you bargained for," says Michelle Rauch, MS, RDN. The word "salad" automatically makes most of us think we're making a healthy choice, but this salad has 10 grams of saturated fat and 1,220 milligrams of sodium, both of which increase the risk of heart disease.

But, the Spicy Southwest Salad is delicious and can be a healthier option with a few tweaks. Skip the dressing or put it on the side, adding it sparingly, suggests Rauch. She also recommends swapping the spicy grilled fillet for grilled chicken nuggets and getting the shredded cheese on the side to save on fat, calories, and sodium.

 10 Best Restaurant Salads to Order, According to Dietitians

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit

Chick fil-a sausage egg cheese biscuit
Per serving: 620 calories, 42 g fat (18 g saturated fat), 1,510 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (2 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 22 g protein

Although this breakfast sandwich may be a filling option because of its high protein content, the Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit's high sodium and fat make it one of the worst choices, explains Joanna Ayalloore, MS, RD, LDN, owner of Nutrition Kept Simple. You'll get a massive 18 grams of saturated fat per serving, which is 82% of the recommended daily limit, all in the first meal of the day.

Chick-fil-A Sauce

chick-fil-A sauce
Per one-ounce packet: 140 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 6 g carbs ( 0 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 0 g protein

"Even though this sauce is iconic and delicious, it really is one of the worst things you can order from Chick-fil-A," says Lara Clevenger MSH, RDN, CPT. The number one ingredient in the Chick-fil-A sauce is soybean oil, which is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, and the second ingredient is sugar, explains Clevenger. Each one-ounce packet of sauce adds 13 grams of fat, 2 of them saturated, and 6 grams of added sugars to your meal (and that's if you use just one!).

 The 7 Best Fast-Food Dipping Sauces, According to Chefs

Kelsey Kunik, RDN
Kelsey Kunik is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, nutrition consultant, and sustainable food blogger. Read more about Kelsey