When it comes to fast food, Chick-Fil-A® is one of the healthier options. However, healthy as far as how many calories are in food items is one thing, while being low FODMAP friendly is another. Chick-Fil-A® does have an allergen information sheet on their website, but as those on a low FODMAP regimen know well, staying clear of symptoms is more than just avoiding wheat and certain soy or dairy products. Therefore, follow the tips below to help you find enjoyable and safe low FODMAP meal options at Chick-Fil-A® restaurants.
Skip the biscuits for breakfast
As hard as this may be to do, those mouth-watering, fluffy and buttery biscuits at Chick-Fil-A® are made from wheat flour, which is a no-no on the low FODMAP diet. This doesn’t mean that you can can’t enjoy a morning meal at Chick-Fil-A® though. They have a la carte hashbrowns that are low FODMAP friendly as well as a fruit cup that you can enjoy on the side (just ask for no apples in your cup, or pick them out and give them to a friend or loved one who isn’t on a low FODMAP diet).
And if you are craving protein, ask to have your egg served on the side in a bowl. They have a hashbrown scramble menu choice, but it is covered with cow’s milk and cream-based American cheese as well as chicken battered with wheat flour and containing some high fructose ingredients that could cause your tummy to tumble. Therefore, ask if you can have grilled chicken, without the marinade, in your bowl instead and ask for no cheese.
Unfortunately, even Chick-Fil-A®’s grilled chicken is prepared in a marinade that contains dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, and cane molasses. Therefore, even though Chick-Fil-A® is know for their chicken dishes, those following the low FODMAP regimen will have to do without. Some people have reported that it is possible to get the grilled chicken sandwich without the marinade on a gluten free bun and it will be accommodated. You can certainly ask. Please note: the GF bun contains raisins & molasses. We do not know the amounts, but 1/2 a serve of raisins & 1/4 serve of molasses are low FODMAP, so try carefully.
Stay fresh with salads
Most salads are safe at Chick-Fil-A® as long as you ask for no croutons and no dressing, since the dressings currently available all contain either cream, honey, garlic, and/or onion. Stick to simple dressings such as oil and vinegar from home, grab some Sriracha sauce packets at the restaurant, or simply top your salad with salt and pepper.
Here are safe salad choices at Chick-Fil-A® with recommendations on what ingredients to avoid so you can keep it low FODMAP friendly.
- Grilled Market Salad: This Romaine lettuce-based salad contains safe veggies such as baby greens, shredded red cabbage, and shredded carrots as well as low FODMAP friendly crumbled blue cheese. Other toppings include fruits such as strawberries and blueberries and a packet of granola and roasted nuts.
Ingredients to avoid: ask for no chicken, apples or granola as well as no roasted nuts. The apples are a naturally high fructose fruit, the nuts contain wheat, and the granola contains high fructose honey. Also, ask for no dressing or croutons.
- Cobb Salad: This salad also contains Romaine lettuce and baby greens as well as shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, roasted corn kernels, and topped with a blend of low FODMAP friendly Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses. Grape tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, grape tomatoes, and crispy charred red bell peppers finish off the delicious flavor of this salad choice.
Ingredients to avoid: ask for no chicken nuggets as well as no dressing or croutons. Also, ask for no crispy charred bell peppers since they contain wheat-based ingredients.
- Spicy Southwest Salad: A bed of Romaine lettuce and baby greens creates the foundation for this spicy and delicious salad. Toppings such as shredded red cabbage and carrots, grape tomatoes, a blend of low FODMAP friendly Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, as well as poblano chiles, red bell peppers, roasted corn, and black beans provide flavor. Seasoned tortilla chips and chili lime pepitas (spicy pumpkin seeds) are provided on the side for extra zesty spiciness.
Ingredients to avoid: ask for no chicken or black beans and choose to have no dressing on the side.
- Asian salad: This salad contains a bed of Romaine lettuce and baby greens topped with shredded red and green cabbage, carrots, mandarin orange segments, and served with Honey Thai almonds, Chinese Garlic and Ginger Wontons, and Honey Sesame dressing on the side.
Ingredients to avoid: ask for no chicken, no almonds (contains honey), no wontons (wheat-based and contains garlic), and no dressing (contains honey).
Stay safe with sides
Delicious waffle fries, a fruit cup (ask for no apples), and side salad are all low FODMAP friendly choices. The Superfood side, consisting of kale and broccolini tossed in a maple vinaigrette dressing and topped with dried sour cherries and roasted walnuts, almonds, and pecans, is fairly safe with the exception of a few ingredients. Ask for no dressing or cherries, and you should be good to go with this healthy side dish. Stay clear of yogurt parfaits and the chicken noodle soup side to be low FODMAP safe.
Stay simple with drink choices
Lemonade, diet lemonade, and water are all low FODMAP friendly beverage choices at Chick-Fil-A®. Skip carbonated colas, milk-based ice cream cups, cones, and milk shakes. You can also grab a cool iced coffee, as long as you let them know to keep milk out of your drink.
Even though you may have to be careful about reading labels and menus, you can still enjoy a delicious meal at Chick-Fil-A® on a low FODMAP diet.
Disclaimer: Menu ingredients could change. Visit your local restaurant to find out what is offered in your Chick-Fil-A® restaurant.
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.