10 Healthy Options at Chick-fil-A for Athletes
Chick-fil-A is a restaurant commonly enjoyed by athletes for a quick meal on-the-go. It can be helpful for athletes to know what healthy options are available at Chick-fil-A that can help them meet their sports nutrition needs.
Healthy Fast-Food Choices for Athletes
Athletes looking for healthy options at fast-food restaurants should focus on meals that provide a good source of carbohydrates, a moderate amount of lean protein, and that are low in saturated fat.
Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy needed to perform at its best. While protein is important for supporting athletes with building and maintaining lean muscle mass.
Tips for Making Healthy Fast-Food Choices
General tips that can help athletes with making healthy choices at fast-food restaurants include:
- Limit fried foods – Choose entrees that are grilled, roasted, or baked instead of deep fried.
- Choose a healthy side item – Side items such as fruit cups, apple slices, Greek yogurt parfaits, steamed vegetables, and side salads are all great options.
- Watch portion sizes – Don’t supersize your meal. Instead plan to have a healthy snack later in the day if you are still hungry.
- Ask for the sauce on the side – Ordering the sauce for your sandwich or dressing for your salad on the side allows for you to control the amount added to your meal.
- Select a healthy beverage – Enjoy water, low-fat milk, or 100% fruit juice to drink with your meal.
Now that you have some general ideas for making healthy fast-food choices, let’s look at 10 healthy options at Chick-fil-A for athletes.
Healthy Options at Chick-fil-A for Athletes
All the nutrition information included in this article comes from the Chick-fil-A® website. Menu options and nutrition information may change as products are updated. For the most current nutrition information, refer to the Chick-fil-A website.
Healthy Options at Chick-fil-A for Breakfast
#1 Egg White Grill
The Egg White Grill breakfast sandwich is a healthy option for athletes at Chick-fil-A. The breakfast sandwich is made with grilled chicken, egg whites, and American cheese and is served on an English muffin.
The breakfast sandwich provides both carbohydrates (30 grams) and protein (26 grams), making it a nutritious selection. Athletes can enjoy the Egg White Grill with a side of fresh fruit and 1% milk for a healthy breakfast on-the-go.
#2 Chicken, Egg & Cheese Muffin
For those who prefer the original Chick-fil-a breaded chicken, the Chicken, Egg & Cheese Muffin is a good choice. This breakfast sandwich is made with the original Chick-fil-A breaded chicken breast, folded egg, and American cheese, is also served on an English muffin.
Each Chicken, Egg & Cheese Muffin provides 37 grams of carbohydrates and 27 grams of protein. For comparison purposes, ordering the same sandwich on a biscuit adds 5 grams of saturated fat. Since athletes should aim to limit saturated fat in their diets, the English muffin sandwich is a healthier option.
How is the Original Chick-fil-A Chicken Made?
If you have ever wondered how the original Chick-fil-A breaded chicken is made, here’s the scoop. According to the Chick-fil-A website, the restaurant uses 100% whole chicken breast meat that contains no added fillers, hormones, or antibiotics.
The chicken is dipped in a milk-and-egg wash, breaded by hand, and then pressure cooked in 100% fully refined peanut oil – resulting in the classic Chick-fil-A chicken that has become a fast-food favorite for many.
#3 Greek Yogurt Parfait
The Greek Yogurt Parfait with Granola is another healthy breakfast option at Chick-fil-A. The parfait is made with vanilla bean Greek yogurt, fresh mixed berries, and a granola topping. Each parfait provides 36 grams of carbohydrates along with 13 grams of protein.
Healthy Entrée Options at Chick-fil-A
#4 Grilled Chicken Sandwich
The Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a great option for athletes at Chick-fil-A. It is made with a marinated and grilled chicken breast, lettuce, and tomato and is served on a multigrain bun. Each sandwich provides 43 grams of carbohydrates and 28 grams of protein making it a healthy entrée choice for athletes.
#5 Chick-fil-A® Sandwich on Multigrain Bun
Those athletes who prefer the original Chick-fil-A breaded chicken can order the classic Chick-fil-A® Sandwich, which provides 29 grams of protein. For a healthier option, consider ordering the sandwich on a multigrain bun. Athletes can also request vegetable toppings, such as lettuce and tomato, be included on the sandwich.
#6 Grilled Nuggets
In addition to the sandwiches, the Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets are a healthy option for athletes looking to add a lean source of protein to their meal. An 8-count of grilled nuggets provides 25 grams of protein and <1 gram of saturated fat.
To boost the carbohydrate content of the meal, athletes can order a fresh fruit cup or a fruit and yogurt parfait to enjoy with the grilled nuggets.
Healthy Side and Salad Options at Chick-fil-A
It can sometimes be challenging to find fresh fruit and vegetable options at fast-food restaurants. However, Chick-fil-A has a variety of healthy side options athletes can select from.
#7 Fruit Cup
Chick-fil-A offers a fresh Fruit Cup that includes chopped red and green apples, mandarin oranges, strawberry slices, and blueberries. A medium fruit cup provides 15 grams of carbohydrates.
The fresh fruit cup is available as a side to be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Fresh fruit contains carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals making it a great addition to an athlete’s meal.
#8 Side Salad and Kale Crunch Side
Chick-fil-A also offers a variety of fresh salads that athletes can enjoy as healthy additions to their meals. Chick-fil-A serves both a traditional side salad as well as a kale crunch salad that provide a great way for athletes to add leafy greens to their lunch or dinner.
The salad dressings at Chick-fil-A are served on the side, which allows you to control the amount added to your salad. Chick-fil-A dressings that are lower in saturated fat and are healthier options include:
- Light Italian Dressing
- Zesty Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
- Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Fat-Free Honey Mustard Dressing
#9 Market Salad
The Market Salad is a great way for athletes to add both fruit and vegetables to their Chick-fil-A meal. The salad includes grilled chicken served on top of mixed greens with chopped red and green apples, fresh strawberries and blueberries, and blue cheese.
The Market Salad is also served with roasted almonds and harvest nut granola on the side. This salad provides 28 grams of protein and 41 grams of carbohydrates making it a healthy choice for athletes.
#10 Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup is another healthy side option at Chick-fil-A that athletes can enjoy with their meal. A cup of chicken noodle soup provides 10 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbohydrates. While a bowl of chicken noodle soup provides 17 grams of protein and 38 grams of carbohydrates.
Pairing a bowl of chicken noodle soup with a Chick-fil-A Market Salad is a nutrient-rich meal option that athletes can enjoy at Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A Gluten-Free Options
The Chick-fil-A website clearly labels the allergens that each menu item contains. For athletes who need to avoid gluten, it is important to note that all of the breaded chicken items on the menu contain wheat. Individuals who are gluten sensitive will want to select other options such as the grilled chicken nuggets.
Healthy Options at Chick-fil-A for Athletes
You are now set with 10 ideas for healthy options to order the next time you visit Chick-fil-A. For additional sports nutrition tips on dining out, check out my blog: Building a High-Protein Chipotle Bowl for Athletes.
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About the Author
Mandy is a Sports Dietitian Nutritionist in the San Antonio, TX area. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Licensed Athletic Trainer, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Mandy has experience working with athletes at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. She believes the key to reaching one’s full potential, both in everyday life and in sports performance, relies on a healthy nutritional foundation. Learn more about the work Mandy does here.