Eating Healthier at Fast Food and Chain Restaurants

Baja Fresh
Boston Market
Burger King
El Pollo Loco
Jack in the Box
Kentucky Fried Chicken
La Madeleine
Maggiano's Little Italy
Noodles & Company
Olive Garden
Panda Express
Panera Bread
Ruby Tuesday
Taco Bell


The Health of It All

Eating Healthier at Fast Food Restaurants : Popeyes

Popeye's Logo

People love their fried chicken, and Popeyes Fried Chicken is almost a religion to some people. The flavor is based on a recipe created by Al Copeland, a New Orleans legend, and Popeyes has been in business for almost 50 years. The chicken has the spicy flavor profile of Cajun cuisine as described on their webite:

"Popeyes® culinary heritage is built upon the rich Cajun and creole flavor profiles that are unmistakably Louisiana. We continuously draw upon and celebrate this heritage to inspire new, authentic menu creations the world craves. Popeyes distinguishes itself with a unique New Orleans style menu…"

The issue is that it is not very good for you - and not for why you might think.

Eating fried chicken every now and then is not a big deal. Yes, it is high in fat and calories and should be considered a splurge and not a day-to-day part of your meal plan. The real issue is the sodium. 

This is the case more and more with fast food restaurants, and it has made it hard to choose anything that might be something reasonably healthy to eat.  I have created this list of selected items for you to use when you must eat out. The items listed fall generally under 500 calories or so and under 15 grams of fat, so if you are going to be eating at Popeyes, this is a fairly good guideline. The challenge is the added salt, and for this list I have tried to keep this closer to 600 milligrams per serving.

I've also included a printable version so that you can print it out and take it with you for reference.

Bonafide® chicken -spicy or mild Portion size Total calories Total fat (g) Sat fat (g) Sodium (mg) Dietary fiber (g)
Leg (each) 1 160 9 4 460 1
Handcrafted tenders & nuggets
Handcrafted tenders - blackened 3 pieces 170 2 0 550 0
Handcrafted nuggets® 6 pieces 225 14 6 345 2
Loaded chicken wrap 1 310 12 5 790 3
Signature sides
Corn on the cob* cobbet (1) Reg 210 6 3 30 4
Corn on the cob* cobbet (3) Lg 630 18 9 90 12
Red beans & rice Reg 247 16 5 606 6
Cajun rice* Reg 183 6 3 576 2
Cole slaw Reg 140 10 2 190 1
Grits 1 370 5 0.5 30 7
Additional menu items*
Jambalaya* Reg 190 9 3 640 1