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The 5 Worst Items at KFC

In the fourth part of our 10-part series on eating at chain restaurants, we take a look at KFC. Check out part two, where we examine Cheesecake Factory.

KFC is not often thought of for its healthy food choices. If you're trying to make better food choices don't fret, there are still ways to navigate this menu to help you stay on track. Here are KFC's top five worst and best menu items.

DON'T EAT: Spicy Crispy Chicken Breast

Although chicken breast is a lean option, when it is deep fried it can slap on many additional calories and fat. KFC's Spicy Crispy Chicken Breast is highest of the chicken items coming in at 520 calories for one piece. It also packs a day's worth of sodium at 1,220 milligrams.

INSTEAD EAT: Next time you are a having a KFC chicken craving, you can squash the guilt by choosing the Original Recipe Chicken Breast without Skin or Breading. The best way to eliminate much of the added fat and calories but still preserve the taste is by enjoying the chicken breast sans skin and breading. This option comes in at only 130 calories, two grams of fat and 520 milligrams of sodium.

DON'T EAT: Extra Crispy Thigh Value Box

Extra crispy should be code for extra calories, fat and salt. This value box is the worst of the bunch. One serving is 660 calories, a whopping 1,560 milligrams of sodium and 41 grams of fat. This is a health conscious eater's worst nightmare and should be avoided.

INSTEAD EAT: KFC now offers grilled chicken options, making the Grilled Drumstick Value Box one of the healthiest alternatives to their original recipe. Although still high in sodium, this is by far the best option in the value box variety. One serving provides 380 calories. Pair this with a low-calorie side dish and it's a great meal for a fast food option.

DON'T EAT: Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is synonymous with comfort food. Sadly, there is no comfort when discovering KFC's dish comes in at 790 calories per serving. This dish also tops the charts of one of KFC's highest in saturated fat at 37 grams.

INSTEAD EAT: Although not one of the healthiest options on the menu, if you are looking for an item that is easy to eat on the go, the 6-Piece Original Recipe Bites are not all that bad. For a serving of six, they are 200 calories and provide 22 grams of protein. Even being the original recipe, they are modest in sodium at 660 milligrams.

DON'T EAT: Macaroni and Cheese

Unfortunately, that creamy cheesy pasta side dish is not a healthy one, as many of us can assume. High in refined carbohydrates and loaded with sodium, this dish might be full of flavor but not light on calories.

INSTEAD EAT: Although not the best substitute for a pasta dish, your blood pressure and cholesterol will thank you for choosing Green Beans. A serving of green beans comes in at only 25 calories and is chock full of fiber and nutrients including Vitamin C and K. It is one of the few vegetables on KFC's menu.

DON'T EAT: Potato Wedges

Crispy potato wedges sound like a delicious option and seeing as they are a vegetable, how bad can they be? Unfortunately, deep frying these wedges and topping them with salt takes away the many benefits a potato has. They are listed as the highest calorie side dishes at 290 calories per serving. That can be considered the amount of calories for a small meal just on its own.

INSTEAD EAT: Corn on the Cob is also considered a starchy vegetable like its friend the potato, but this variety comes in at a lot fewer calories. One three-inch serving of their corn on the cob is only 70 calories. This option also has no salt added which is rarely seen in fast food menus.


Kristen Bourque, RD, LD has been writing health-related articles since 2000. Her nutrition articles and recipes have been featured in "Today's Dietitian" as well as the Canadian magazine "Glow". Kristen combines her love of nutrition with cooking on her personal blog, Swanky Dietitian.

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