We asked 3 nutrition experts what they would order at KFC for a high-protein meal
- Insider asked nutrition experts what they would order from KFC for a high-protein meal.
- US adults are advised to eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight a day.
KFC isn't generally associated with healthy food, but that doesn't mean you can't get a nutritious meal with a good amount of protein from there, nutrition experts told Insider.
US adults are advised to eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight a day, but active people may require more to help with muscle growth and repair.
"Food is not just nutrition but clearly also a way of celebrating, socializing, and so much more," she said.
Here's what three registered nutrition experts told Insider they'd order for a high-protein meal at KFC.
Dr Mike Molloy: Spicy Classic Chicken Sandwich
Molloy, who is the founder of sports nutrition company M2 Performance Nutrition, told Insider that even though he hasn't been to KFC for years, he knows what he'd get: the Spicy Classic Chicken Sandwich.
Molloy said he'd choose it because it has a "decent bit of protein," is "not brutal on the fat intake," and "the bun has the right amount of carbs for his nutrition goals.
The KFC Spicy Classic Chicken Sandwich contains 620 calories, 33 grams of fat, 49 grams of carbs, and 34 grams of protein.
"I would probably pair that up with a diet soda because fried spicy chicken and soda go so well together," Molloy said.
Jaclyn London: Chicken thighs, green beans, corn, and mashed potato
Registered dietitian Jaclyn London told Insider she would order à la carte items from KFC as she's "a big sucker for sides."
"I'd start with one to two of the chicken thighs (this cut is juicier than chicken breast, but nutrient — and protein — packed), and then add a side of green beans, corn and, if I'm going with someone else who wants to share, I'd add a side of mashed potatoes or coleslaw, too," London said.
With one chicken thigh and a whole serving of mashed potatoes, London's order is 770 calories, 42 grams of fat, 55 grams of carbs, and 43 grams of protein. Green beans contain 25 calories and corn contains 70 calories.
"Corn and potatoes are vegetables too," London said. "Any time you have the opportunity to add more veggies to your meal, the more nutritious and satisfying it becomes – remember that!"
Alix Turoff: Kentucky Grilled Chicken with sides and a cookie
Registered dietitian Alix Turoff recommended the Kentucky Grilled Chicken as a high-protein option.
One Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast has 210 calories, seven grams of fat, 0 carbs and 38 grams of protein compared to one Original Recipe Chicken Breast which has 390 calories, 21 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs, and 39 grams of protein.
"If you're trying to get the most bang for your buck calorie-wise, the lower-calorie side options include corn on the cob (70 calories), green beans (25 calories), and sweet kernel corn (70 calories)," Turoff said. "The moderate-calorie sides include the macaroni and cheese (140 calories), macaroni salad (140 calories), mashed potatoes (110 calories), and mashed potatoes with gravy (130 calories)."
Turoff also recommended KFC's side salads: the Caesar salad (14 calories) and the house salad (15 calories, without dressing). Dressing options range from 15 calories for the light Italian dressing to 260 calories for the creamy parmesan Caesar dressing.
"For dessert, a chocolate chip cookie is a nice way to finish things off with something sweet for 120 calories (versus 300 calories in their cakes/pies)," Turoff said.
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