Fast Food Chicken – The Good, the Bad and The Horribly Unhealthy

Let’s face it, fast food isn’t good for us, so we should really try and limit our intake of it. That said, when you are on the road, sometimes you just have to stop in at a fast food joint. Although we try and do picnics as often as possible, with healthy sandwiches we make ourselves, sometimes that just doesn’t work into the schedule. Such was the case today, when we had to choose fast food for lunch.

Now it’s not like we had a lot of options, so we decided to stop in at Kentucky Fried Chicken and try to order as healthy as possible. Healthy is a relative term here, because fast food just isn’t healthy, but when you have no other options, you just have to try and make the best choices possible.

So here’s what I did. I ordered a 2-piece meal with grilled chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes with no gravy. They also give you a biscuit with it, but I just didn’t eat it. Not eating it is much easier than trying to get them to understand that you just don’t want a biscuit.

I also peeled the skin off the chicken to cut down on some of the fat

And here’s how my meal broke down calorie-wise:

Chicken – 260

Potatoes – 90

Green Beans – 25

Total: 375

Compare that to an Extra Crispy chicken meal (as opposed to grilled), with mashed potatoes with gravy, cole slaw, a biscuit and butter.

Chicken – 510

Potatoes – 120

Cole Slaw – 180

Biscuit – 180

Butter – 30

Total: 1020

So although my choice is higher in sodium than I like to go(1400mg), it’s much lower than the 2380 mg. content of the Extra Crispy meal. At home when I’m cooking all my own food I limit myself to 1500 mg. of sodium per day, but when I’m on the road I usually raise the limit to 2400 mg. per day. And when I eat a little too much sodium for lunch, I really tone it down at dinner time. In practice I usually come in at 2000 mg. per day when I’m on the road, which really isn’t too bad.

In the end, it’s all about making healthier choices. For example, we didn’t choose to eat at Smithfield’s Chicken, which doesn’t even provide nutritional information. Myfitnesspal.com lists Smithfield’s BBQ plate with hushpuppies, potato salad and sweet tea as having a whopping 1286 calories though. I can’t even imagine the sodium!!

And although I have no idea how many calories Smithfield’s kids meal has, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you shouldn’t be serving your offspring a chicken leg, french fries, hushpuppies, cookies and a soda. And we wonder why the childhood obesity rate is rising?

In short there are no healthy choices at Smithfield’s. Not that I’m a huge Kentucky Fried Chicken fan, but at least you have a leaner option there.

The bottom line is, healthy living is all about the choices we make – on the road and at home. Think about that next time you pull up to the drive through.

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