*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Finding a healthy menu item to order when you are at a fast food restaurant can be difficult at most fast food chains. At home you might have your healthy meal plans all laid out but when you head to a fast food restaurant that can quickly go out the window.
This is especially the case since many fast food restaurants will only have a token salad and beyond that won’t serve anything that is remotely healthy.
Thankfully Chick-fil-A has healthy menu options galore (or at least more than just one choice).
They have many different healthy options that you can choose from such as:
- Side Salad
- Grilled Chicken Nuggets
- Grilled FIlet
- Kale Salad
- Cobb Salad
- Market Salad
- Spicy Southwest Salad
Now with the larger salads whether they are healthy or not really depends on the salad dressing and chicken topping that you choose (since small changes make big differences) but what about when it comes to the new salad, the Kale Crunch Side Salad?
Now don’t let the word “kale” keep you from trying this healthy side dish. The Kale Crunch Salad recipe that Chick-fil-A uses makes the salad both tasty and healthy as well.
But is this new side actually a great option to choose when you are trying to have a healthier lifestyle?
A Kale Crunch Side Salad is a healthy choice for a part of your meal as it is only 120 calories and has 9 g of fat, 8 g of carbs, and 3 g of protein. However, you will want to add some lean protein (like the grilled nuggets) to make it a complete meal.
The Kale Salad is especially a healthy choice when you compare it to the Waffle Fries or other sides that Chick-fil-A offers (like their combo meal). The Kale Salad is a far healthier side than even a side salad (mainly because of the dressing).
So yes, Chick-fil-A’s newest salad is a nice healthy choice since this superfood salad is low in calories and has a balanced amount of the other macronutrients that you need.
As with everything though how good your meal with a Kale Salad is depends on your other choices. If you get a Grilled Chicken Sandwich or Grilled Nuggets with it then you have a balanced and healthy meal. But if you get a Deluxe Chicken Sandwich, a Cool Wrap, a Spicy Deluxe Sandwich, or other less healthy entree options then your meal overall wouldn’t be considered healthy.
Although the Kale Salad by itself is healthy (which is a great thing) just eating the Kale Salad as your full meal wouldn’t be healthy. That is because you will not be getting enough calories or protein to make a complete meal and would be depriving your body of the nutrients that it needs.
So don’t just order the Kale Salad and think you are good. Instead get some grilled nuggets (made from real chicken breasts) or a grilled chicken sandwich to round out your meal and make it nice and balanced.
Chick-Fil-A Kale Crunch Side Salad Nutrition Facts
Now while I listed three of the important nutritional values above I don’t want to just stop there. So in this section I will give you all of the nutrition facts for the Kale Salad.
In the nutritional table below I will give the amount of and daily value for:
- Grams of fat
- Grams of saturated fat
- Milligrams of cholesterol
- Milligrams of sodium
- Grams of carbs
- Grams of fiber
- Grams of sugar
- Grams of protein
As you can see from the nutritional information above there really is nothing about the Kale Salad that could be considered unhealthy.
Now eating just a Kale Salad for a meal would not be seen as a healthy diet but as a part of a meal paired with a healthy protein choice from Chick-fil-A you can certainly make a niche healthy meal.
How Is Chick-Fil-A’s Kale Crunch Side Salad Made?
Now that we know how healthy a Kale Salad is as well as the nutritional values that it has, let’s take a quick look at exactly how a Kale Salad from Chick-fil-A is made.
There is no super secret kale salad recipe that Chick-fil-A uses so it is pretty straightforward for them to make or for you to make at home if you want to make a copycat version.
A Kale Salad is made with a blend of green cabbage and curly kale. The team member then gives this fresh kale mixture a good shake after adding apple cider and dijon mustard vinaigrette.
This apple dijon dressing is a part of every salad so be warned, it isn’t something that you add yourself later that you can leave off.
When you get your superfood kale salad you will also get a package of roasted almonds for the top of the salad that you can add at your table. You can also just leave the roasted nuts off your Kale Salad if you wish.
Chick-fil-A also has a Lemon Kale Caesar Salad but it is a seasonal item (and only available in certain locations at certain times) whereas the normal Kale Crunch Side Salad is always an available option.
What Makes Chick-Fil-A Kale Crunch Side Salad Healthy Or Not?
When looking at whether something is considered to be a healthy diet choice or not there are a few important nutritional facts that I will typically look at. Those are:
- Saturated Fat
Of course depending on your daily diet other nutritional items might be more important to you. That is why I created the entire nutritional image above.
The first thing that I was to look at with the Kale Salad is the number of calories.
Chick-Fil-A Kale Crunch Side Salad Calories
Chick-fil-A’s Kale Crunch Side Salad has 120 calories in it which is the lowest of all of Chick-fil-A’s sides besides the fruit cup. With only 120 calories and health experts recommending that you get between 1300 and 3000 daily calories (depending on many different factors) then the Kale Salad is certainly a healthy option when it comes to the amount of calories.
For comparison a side salad from Chick-fil-A has 470 calories in it (because of the dressing) so your superfood side salad is a far healthier choice.
Chick-fil-A’s french fries are also much higher in calories with a medium container packing 420 calories in it (and that doesn’t even include any dipping sauces).
Chick-Fil-A Kale Crunch Side Salad Fat
The next thing that I want to look at is the fat content of the Kale Salad. With experts recommending that you get between 44 and 78 g of fat (when on a 2000 calorie diet. You certainly want to make sure that what you eat isn’t super high in fat content.
Thankfully you don’t have to worry about that with the Kale Salad.
The Kale Salad only has 9 g of fat which is 12% of your daily recommended intake (if trying to consume 2000 calories). In comparison a Medium Waffle Fry has 24 g of fat while a normal side salad with dressing has 42 g of fat (yes a side salad from Chick-fil-A has more fat than a Medium Waffle Fry)!
Chick-Fil-A Kale Crunch Side Salad Saturated Fat
The next nutritional value that I want to look at is saturated fat.
The AHA recommends that you only get 13g of saturated fat if you are on a 2000 calorie diet. But how does a Kale Salad stack up to that?
Chick-fil-A’s Kale Salad only has 1 g of saturated fat which means that in regards to sat fat it is still a healthy choice.
In comparison, a medium sized side of fries has 4 g of saturated fat while a side salad (with dressing) has 8 grams of saturated fat. So certainly the Kale Salad still looks really healthy when you are considering the saturated fat.
Chick-Fil-A Kale Crunch Side Salad Sodium
The last major nutritional value that I want to look at is the sodium content. Many fast food chains have sides or meals that look pretty healthy… until you get to the sodium content and then that makes the item unhealthy.
But is that true with the Kale Salad as well?
The Kale Salad only has 140 mg of sodium which is 6% of the recommended daily amount (according to the DGA experts). So that means the Kale Salad is still healthy even when looking at the sodium content.
What about the side salad or waffle fries though? How do they compare when it comes to sodium?
A medium waffle fry from Chick-fil-A only has 240 mg of sodium which is surprisingly low. Especially when you compare it to fries from other fast food joints.
However the side salad doesn’t fare as well. It has a whopping 690 mg of sodium which means it has 30% of your recommended daily sodium intake in it. WOW not good at all.
When looking at the calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium content of the Kale Salad it is clear to see that it is an incredibly healthy choice. As long as you pair it with a nice grilled chicken sandwich or grilled nuggets (and don’t order the fried nuggets, ice cream, or something like that) then you are set to have a healthy and complete meal.
And getting a healthy and complete meal at a fast food restaurant is hard to do!
Is Chick-Fil-A’s Kale Crunch Side Salad Healthier Than Other Fast Food Chain’s Salads?
Now this article wouldn’t be complete without comparing the kale salad to other small salad options that are available at other fast food restaurants. The issue with that is that Chick-fil-A is currently the only fast food restaurant that sells a Kale Salad.
So what I will do is compare the Kale Salad with whatever small salads are available at each of the fast food chains. I just wanted to make the comparison as clear as possible before beginning.
|Small Salad Comparison||Chick-fil-A |
|Burger King |
|Jack In The Box |
All of the side salads from the other fast food chains appear to be a healthier choice…until you realize that the majority of them don’t include any dressing at all. So the above information for all but Carl’s Jr. is essentially just for the lettuce, tomatoes, and a few onions (that some restaurants put on their side salads).
Once you add on some dressing (as who really wants to eat a dry side salad) the Kale Salad drastically pulls away from the competition when it comes to being the healthiest salad available at any fast food restaurant.
Chick-fil-A Kale Crunch Side Salad Macros
If you are considering getting a Kale Salad you might be wondering what the macronutrients are for it. Well you are in luck as I will give them below.
If you want to see the other nutritional information in the Kale Salad just scroll up to the nutritional facts label and you can easily see all the details including the macronutrients.
Below are the macronutrients for Chick-fil-A’s Kale Crunch Side Salad:
- 9 g of fat
- 8 g of carbs
- 3 g of protein
Although the Kale Salad is a healthy choice it is not a complete meal in and of itself. It should be paired with a healthy protein to help you get a nice balanced meal.
Just make sure that you don’t add a sugary drink (with unlimited free refills) and ruin your meal by drinking hundreds of calories in lemonade or soft drinks.
Of course there are other healthy options that you can get at Chick-fil-A like the Market Salad or the Cobb Salad. But just make sure not to douse them in tons of salad dressing as that will take those salads to unhealthy levels of fat and sodium as well!
Matter of fact a Cobb Salad with dressing, toppings, and Chick-n-Strips on top has 910 calories so even the calories on that salad mean it isn’t healthy with all those toppings!
As with everything when it comes to health… it isn’t black and white. Just because something is a salad doesn’t always mean it is healthy and just because something is chicken nuggets doesn’t always mean it is unhealthy (if they are grilled nuggets).