I know a lot of people who darn near worship Chick-fil-A. While most of their following is because of their delicious fried chicken sandwiches and seasoned waffle fries, I’ve always thought that the chain had some of the freshest salads of any fast-food chain, and the chargrilled chicken sandwiches are always pretty tasty. Flavor and freshness aside, does Chick-fil-A really have healthy options? And if so, what are they? We recently took a look at the menu to see if its meals met our registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield’s healthy guidelines of having less than 500 calories and less than 500 milligrams of sodium, according to the the new daily sodium recommendations. The options below are what met our criteria — we wish there were more!
Healthiest Menu Options at Chick-fil-A
1. Half of a Chargrilled and Fruit Salad with half a packet of Fat-Free Honey Mustard Dressing. While not a huge lunch, this half salad gives you plenty of protein and fiber for just 140 calories and 430 milligrams of sodium.
2. Half of a Southwest Chargrilled Salad with salsa. Bring some salsa from home and top a few tablespoons of it on half of this salad for a meal that’s less than 200 calories and about 450 milligrams of sodium.
3. Small order of Waffle Fries, Side Salad without dressing and a Large Fruit Cup. Get creative with this mix-and-match vegetarian meal that gives you a little bit of everything. You can have all this food — even the fries! — for 450 calories and only 240 milligrams of sodium.
4. Large Fruit Cup and a Yogurt Parfait. Try this combination for a good breakfast on the go. With fiber, protein and calcium, it has just 340 calories and 65 milligrams of sodium.
Unfortunately none of the sandwiches at Chick-fil-A met our sodium requirements — not even when you only ate half of them! And remember, like most restaurants, the key to keeping your sodium down is to avoid or go very light on all sauces, dressings and condiments — they’re so high in salt!
March 25th, 2011