The Unhealthiest Thing You Can Order At Chick-Fil-A

Admittedly, nobody goes to Chick-fil-A to nibble on a leaf of lettuce and pass up those yummy chicken sandwiches and those oh-so-good waffle fries. If you must suffer for the sake of your diet, it's better to do it at a lesser fast food restaurant, or maybe just buy a bag of kale chips at the gas station (if you're driving through the kind of upscale, health-conscious neighborhood whose gas stations run to that kind of thing instead of tastier, but far less healthy fare). Chick-fil-A, after all, was meant to be enjoyed. Still, though, if you're eating there on a regular basis, you may want to inform yourself about any real nutritional pitfalls that may lay in store for you, apart from the obvious ones like ordering a Family Meal and eating the whole thing yourself.

In order to find out the one thing you should definitely steer clear of when dining at Chick-fil-A, Mashed asked Brenda Braslow, in-house Registered Dietitian for nutrition app MyNetDiary, to pick the single worst item on the Chick-fil-A menu. Good news for late risers. Braslow told us, "The most unhealthy item I found was on the breakfast menu."

This breakfast biscuit is loaded with fat, calories, and sodium

Braslow says that the worst single item you can order is the sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit. According to Chick-fil-A's nutrition guide, this item, all on its own, has 630 calories, 43 grams of fat (19 of those saturated), and 1540 mg sodium. Although the calorie count is pretty hefty for a breakfast sandwich, as it may approach (or exceed) 1/3 of your daily budget, Braslow is even more concerned about the fat and sodium.

Most health organizations, Braslow tells us, recommend keeping your daily fat intake at 30 percent of your daily calories, with calories from saturated fat making up less than 10 percent of the total. Based on a 1,800 calorie per day allowance, she calculates that this biscuit sandwich will put you at 72 percent of your "total fat budget," while you'll hit 95 percent of the recommended saturated fat level. You'll also be at about 2/3 of your daily sodium level since the US Food and Drug Administration recommends not exceeding 2,300 mg. As Braslow points out, "If you chose to eat [the sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit], you would need to be really careful with the rest of your daily intake to stay within healthy sodium, fat, and saturated fat intake guidelines." Plus, it's not even like this item is even all that good - you can do better nutritionally, and taste-wise, too.

How you can make a healthier breakfast choice

Instead of ordering the sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit, Braslow recommends what she calls the "more reasonable" choice of the bacon, egg, and cheese muffin. While it tastes just as good (or better) than the sausage biscuit, this menu item is much lower in calories, fat, and sodium. Chick-fil-A nutrition data indicates that it has only 300 calories, 13 grams of fat (6 of them saturated), and 790 mg of sodium. Braslow feels the sodium content is still on the high side but admits that "sodium is really hard to limit with fast foods in general as they use a lot of sodium to preserve the food."

Overall, though, Braslow doesn't find Chick-fil-A to be a bad choice as far as fast food restaurants go. She says that in looking over the menu, she found a number of reasonably healthy choices, and told us that in her professional opinion, "Chick-fil-A offers more reasonably healthy items than many other fast-food restaurants."