The Best and Worst Foods at Chick-fil-A
When the chicken cravings hit, there's no better way to satiate your hankerings than with a visit to your local Chick-fil-A. Chicken sandwich, anyone? While we love the poultry joint for its concise menu and low-calorie options, there are also a few meals, treats, drinks, and dressings that you should absolutely skip. Find out what the best—and worst—picks are below to make better choices during your next fast food run.
The Best Foods on the Chick-Fil-A Menu
Chick-fil-A is proof that fast food restaurants can serve options that fit in a healthy, balanced diet.
The Best Breakfast Items at Chick-fil-A
Egg White Grill
This chicken twist on the traditional breakfast sandwich is a great morning go-to. The chicken provides essential protein to get your body started for the day. Not only that, but it also comes with egg whites stuffed between a multigrain English muffin.
Hash Brown Scramble Bowl
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? You don't have to decide while eating this scramble, which has chicken and eggs for a high-protein breakfast for any go-getter. Just don't go scrambling your diet by ordering the burrito version (see our worst Chick-fil-A menu items below).
Greek Yogurt Parfait
If you're not craving a breakfast sandwich and need a morning meal on-the-go, this Greek Yogurt Parfait is a decent choice (although we'd typically prefer to see more fiber relative to the sugar). Crunchy granola and fresh strawberries top protein-rich Greek yogurt for a sweet start to your day. Since this parfait tops off at 21 grams of sugar, you can cut back on the sweet stuff by omitting the granola and sticking to just the fruit instead.
The Best Mains at Chick-fil-A
Grilled Market Salad
Packed with fiber-rich Romaine lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, and grilled chicken, the Grilled Market Salad is one of the best meals on the Chick-fil-A menu. The blueberries, strawberries, and green apples infuse the salad with a natural sweetness while the blue cheese lends some creaminess to the crunchy greens and roasted nuts. If you're watching your sodium intake, be sure to pair it with the light balsamic vinaigrette below.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
For a warm multi-grain chicken bun, this sandwich choice clocks in at 310 calories and 29 grams of muscle-building protein and three grams of belly-flattening fiber. But beware of its high sodium count. If you decide to go with this Chick-fil-A menu choice, pair it with a tall glass of water.
These nugs pack a protein-punch with 25 grams for only 140 calories! The grilled nuggets—as opposed to the traditional fried ones—also have less saturated fat. Plus, they don't have refined carbs from the breading, so they'll keep you fuller longer to help you get through your day. Who said healthy can't be tasty?
Nuggets Kid's Meal
Even though the grilled nuggets are our go-to pick, you're not too far off with the classic breaded nuggets. Order them on their own for you or paired with the fruit salad and juice for your little one. Although lower in sugar than soda, we recommend you enjoy a glass of water with your meal instead to cut down on sugar.
The Best Sides at Chick-fil-A
Pair your grilled chicken salad with the side salad to get a hearty dose of fiber-rich greens. Filled with Romaine lettuce, crispy red bell peppers, shredded carrots, and Monterey Jack cheese, this fiber-rich side has all the components to make your meal balanced and complete.
This superfood side salad packs broccolini, kale, dried cherries, and heart-loving omega-3-rich walnuts into one delicious bowl. At 11 grams of sugar, this Chick-fil-A menu side is on the high end of the sweet spectrum, so we suggest swapping the maple vinaigrette dressing for a healthier choice, such as a balsamic vinaigrette.
Looking for a post-meal treat? The chicken joint's fruit cup is a better choice than indulging in one of their sugar- and fat-laden milkshakes. Red and green apples, mandarin oranges, blueberries, and strawberries fill each cup for only 50 calories. The downside is that the mandarin oranges are laced with a syrup, racking up the sugar quite a bit.
The Best Dressings at Chick-fil-A
Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
While this salad dressing is low in calories, it's not low in sugar or sodium. Like many low-fat or "light" salad dressings, this balsamic vinaigrette makes up for lost fat with sugar. But since it's one of the better options on the Chick-fil-A menu, use it sparingly on your salads.
Chili Lime Vinaigrette
If you want to add some zest to your salads, the chili lime vinaigrette is the way to go for just 60 calories. It infuses a little heat to your greens with some tanginess, too, thanks to the apple cider vinegar.
Light Italian Dressing
The light Italian dressing is the lowest calorie salad topper on the list, but it packs a hefty 470 mg of sodium to make up for it. So if you want to dress it with your greens, use a light hand. Better yet, take the salad home with you and prepare your own with a healthy salad dressing.
The Best Desserts at Chick-fil-A
Whether it's warmer out or you're craving a sweet ending to your meal, treat yourself every once in a while to this low-cal, low-fat ice cream. If you want to cut out some carbs, try ordering the ice cream in a bowl instead of a cone!
As you're about to see, all of Chick-fil-A menu's milkshakes are crazy-high in sugar. That being said, if you simply must order one, you should go for the vanilla, which has the least amount of calories and sugar of the milkshake bunch.
The Best Drinks at Chick-fil-A
Amongst the milkshakes, sweetened teas, and fruit juices that the chicken joint offers, coffee (not the iced, sweetened variety) is one of the best beverage options next to water. So be sure to pick up a cup of joe with your Greek yogurt parfait when you're on your way out. Just be sure to avoid loading it with sugar, artificial sweeteners, and cream.
Freshly-Brewed Iced Tea Sweetened
If you need a little mid-day pick-me-up, try Chick-fil-A's freshly-brewed sweetened iced tea over their milkshakes, iced coffees, lemonade, or sodas. Because it's still fairly high in sugar (despite being the lowest sugar option out of the sweetened picks on the Chick-fil-A menu), consider cutting back on the sugar by ordering the unsweetened option or by watering it down and splitting it with a friend.
The Worst Foods on the Chick-Fil-A Menu
Although we know nearly everything on the Chick-fil-A menu is absolutely delicious, not every item is best for your belly. The following items are amongst the fattiest, saltiest, and sugary options you can order at the chicken chain.
The Worst Breakfast Items at Chick-fil-A
Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit
Whether you stack the fatty toppings on a roll or a bagel or, in this case, a biscuit—waking up to a BEC will derail your diet more often than not. If you're looking to improve your heart health, take note that this breakfast 'wich contains half your entire day's worth of saturated fat in addition to inching close to the AHA's ideal daily sodium limit of just 1,500 milligrams.
Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
This breakfast no-go steals the highest-calorie-sandwich spot on the Chick-fil-A menu, clocking in at a walloping 600 calories along with boasting an absurd amount of saturated fat and sodium. We're noticing a trend here: Avoid ordering the biscuit sandwiches at this chicken joint.
Hash Brown Scramble Burrito
This breakfast—which has enough sodium for two meals—is also high in calories and high in fat. If you want to start your day feeling sluggish and tired, this is the way to go, but otherwise stay far, far away for your body's sake.
The trademarked Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit may be a poultry lover's go-to pick, but this lunch option should definitely be avoided given its exorbitant fat, carb, and sodium contents.
The Worst Mains at Chick-fil-A
Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
This sandwich proves that not every Chick-fil-A menu item that stars grilled chicken is, in fact, better for your body. Aside from the solid protein content, this bacon-spiked sandwich packs in a belly-ballooning amount of sodium and artery-clogging saturated fat.
Another seemingly slimming option, this bowl of low-carb veggies is tainted with fatty fried chicken nuggets, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheese. For 510 calories and almost 1,400 milligrams of sodium, you're better off satiating your cravings with a sandwich.
Spicy Deluxe Sandwich
When eating out, we usually opt for the spicy menu items, given they're full of metabolism-boosting capsaicin. But Chick-fil-A's zesty sandwich contains over three-quarters your daily recommended intake of sodium in addition to appetite-spiking MSG.
Chick-n-Strips Kid's Meal
Remember our pick on the best list? By ordering the poultry chain's kid's meal instead of these strips, you'll provide your little one with two extra grams of protein for 50 fewer calories and three fewer grams of fat. Seems like a no-brainer to us.
The Worst Side at Chick-fil-A
Waffle Potato Fries
We know Chick-fil-A's waffle fries are one of their most popular menu items, but for this many calories, you might as well order another main. Stick to some of the healthier sides to keep your total calorie and fat count lower.
The Worst Dressings at Chick-fil-A
Garlic & Herb Ranch Dressing
The first and therefore most abundant ingredient in this salad dressings list is inflammatory soybean oil, and if you keep skimming the list, you'll also spot unnatural preservatives.
Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing
Avocado and lime are both Eat This!-approved ingredients, but their health benefits are nearly negligent in this condiment that has more fat than Chick-fil-A's Grilled Chicken Club sandwich!
If you're ordering a slimming salad off the Chick-fil-A menu, why adulterate it with this sodium-stuffed dressing?
The Worst Desserts at Chick-fil-A
Chocolate Chunk Cookie
This chunky chocolate cookie's calorie count matches up to a small meal. If you must round out your lunch with something sweet, go for splitting this cookie with a friend, order the nutrient-filled fruit cup instead, or whip up one of these desserts that actually help you lose weight.
Cookies & Cream Milkshake
Chick-fil-A's Oreo-inspired shake boasts about three times more sugar than the AHA recommends women consume per day!
Craving cocoa? Satisfy your sweet tooth with this Dark Chocolate Banana Nut Smoothie recipe rather than this artificially-flavored milkshake off the Chick-fil-A menu.
Real strawberries are only the third ingredient listed—preceded by Icedream and a milkshake base, which both contain a laundry list of Not That! additives.
The Worst Drinks at Chick-fil-A
You may be wondering how a cup of lemonade manages to pack in 320 calories and six grams of fat. One glance at the ingredient list explains it all: Chick-fil-A sneaks iced cream into its citrusy beverage, increasing the fat and sugar count by leaps and bounds.
This might seem like a good alternative to its frosted brother, but it actually has even MORE sugar. If you're hankering for something sweet, go for one of the best desserts. Better yet, have some fruit!