Chick-Fil-A brands itself as the second largest quick serve chicken restaurant in the US. They did $3.5 billion in business last year in 1,600 locations. And this week they announced their commitment to healthy fast food by announcing a revamped, healthy kids meal:
In recent months, many fast food chains have updated their side options in an attempt to offer healthier children’s menu items.Chick-fil-A instead is concentrating on making the entrée healthier by adding Grilled Chicken Nuggets as an alternative for children. The move marks the first time a national fast food chain has offered a grilled entrée as part of a children’s menu.
The chain also is enhancing its side choices, adding Buddy Fruits®Pure Blended Fruit To Go applesauce as a complement to the Fruit Cup option Chick-fil-A added to its menu in 2004. And, the chain is changing its children’s beverage line to only feature one percent milk, 100 percent apple juice, its signature freshly squeezed lemonade, and water as drink choices. more from Chick-fil-A…
The fast food chain has decreased calories by almost 50% and saturated fats by 80%. This is by choosing to grill instead of fry the chicken.
Could this be fast food nirvana?
We took a deeper look at each of the items in the kid’s meal:
Grilled chicken nuggets – 100% natural chicken breast, seasoning (salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika).
While we’re not fans of MSG (may cause reactions in some people), the list is simple and similar to what you would prepare at home.
Milk – milk
No added flavors or sugars to the skim milk. Good! We applaud the fact that plain milk is being promoted instead of chocolate milk.
Applesauce – Apples, concentrated apple juice, cinnamon.
This is basically the dessert part of the meal. “Concentrated apple juice” is a tricky way of saying SUGAR. Overall, this tiny container has 14 grams of sugar, accounting for 75% of the 60 calories in the treat. So don’t kid yourself about it being a “fruit serving” for your tot. This is, however, a much better and lower calorie choice than a sundae or pastry with 50 ingredients.
Your better option is to choose the mini fruit bowl which comes with pieces of real fruit but is not promoted in the press release, unfortunately.
Bottom line: This is the closest we’ve seen a fast food chain come to nutrition in a kid’s meal, starting with ingredient lists humans can understand and through small sensible portions of food that you could make at home. Kudos to Chic-fil-A. Let’s see if KFC and the burger boys follow suite.