How to eat healthy at KFC

There is nothing more delectable and tempting than aromas emanating from a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant as you drive by. Even though food loaded with fat and salt is a no-no for restrictive diets or any other kind of diet, it is still possible however, to make healthy food choices at KFC. It is even possible to plan your menu before heading to KFC, keeping calories to 400 calories, with 15 grams of fat; visit the Dr. Gourmet website for a select listing of healthy food choices at KFC.

Since healthy eating is all about portion control, making better food-alternative choices, limiting your intake of fats, sugar, and salt in meals, you can still have an enjoyable experience while dining at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Entrees

Keeping in mind to limit your intake of fat, when ordering deep-fried chicken breast, avoid buying “extra crispy” as this implies more oil and more trans fats. Furthermore, if you take the skin off chicken pieces, you can pare down calories, fat, and sodium by almost one half. Two healthy choices are the Grilled Chicken Breast (190 calories/6 gm fat/550 gm sodium), and the KFC Honey BBQ Sandwich which contains 300 calories with 6 gm of fat and 1.5 gm saturated fat. Although the thick sweet sauce may seem a bit sinful, this delicious sandwich is still the lowest calorie full-size sandwich on the menu. In addition, chicken thighs and legs that are grilled still have fewer calories than deep-fried white meat.

KFC Original Recipe Drumstick – One drumstick weights in at a healthy 140 calories, with 8 gm fat/2 gm of saturated fat. When this entree is accompanied by a 3″ cob of corn, baked beans, or a very small helping of potato salad or coleslaw, you can be relatively satisfied you have eaten a healthy meal.

The third alternative to KFC meat portions would be chicken salads and wraps, keeping in mind to use low-fat dressings and sauces as healthier choices.

Side dishes

Mashed potatoes – As scrumptious as French fries and fried potato wedges are to the palate, they are the second class of foods loaded with fat and must be replaced by a healthier version. Mashed potatoes with or without gravy are a better substitute, as one helping has 90 calories/3 gm fat/ 380 gm sodium. Some KFCs use milk and butter to make their mashed potatoes, but some do not, so you should ask about individual establishment preparations. Compared to fries they are still a better choice.

Healthier still would be a serving of green beans (20 cal./320 sodium), or a 3″ cob of corn weighing in at 70 cal./0.5 gm fat, and no sodium.

Potato salad – It is still possible to have your cake and eat it too. Having a side of potato salad is still preferable to French fries as it is trans-fat free. Made with onions, celery, red bell peppers and a tablespoon of mayonnaise, it contains 180 cal./9 gm fat/1.5 gm saturated fat.

KFC coleslaw – Even though KFC coleslaw is still considered fattening food, it is nonetheless made with two healthy ingredients: cabbage and carrots. While cabbage is high in Vitamin C and fiber, great for the digestive system, carrots are a good source of Vitamin A, C and K plus potassium, a valuable mineral for heart health. One serving of coleslaw clocks in at 190 cal./11 gm fat/2 gm saturated fat. If you want to avoid potato/coleslaw/macaroni salads altogether, opt for a side dish of baked beans or salad with low-fat dressing.

Beverages

It is best to stay away from sugary beverages and make a healthier choice by drinking water or unsweetened ice tea. A 32 oz. of regular cola contains 400 calories, and if you supersize it, the calories are doubled. If you choose a diet soda, check out the sodium content first. Furthermore, diet soft drinks are not considered healthy alternatives to the regularly-sugared sodas, so when in doubt, stick to calorie-free water.

Dessert

Desserts at KFC are just as fattening as their meat counterparts, so you may want to skip dessert or bring some fruit to eat after your meal. Avoid the pecan pie as one slice will kick up the calories an extra 410, with 22 gm of fat, plus 22 gm of sugar. The dessert with the highest content of sugar is the Lemon Parfait Cup, having 390 cal./14 gm saturated fat, and a whopping 47 grams of excess sugar.

If you have a sweet tooth and must indulge in something sugary at KFC, opt for a single oatmeal cookie. This will only add on an extra 50 calories/6 gm fat/15 gm sugar, which makes it a reasonably healthy dessert choice.

Next time you have the urge for fried chicken at KFC, plan your menu or know which healthy choices you are going to make, and the dining experience will be a good one, and…guilt-free.