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2 Healthier Fried Chicken Alternatives for 2024 Mardi Gras

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It’s Mardi Gras, y’all, and you know what that means: beads, masks, drinks and fried chicken! This parade snack is an undisputed favorite among locals, so for those keeping wellness top of mind, consider this: Instead of skipping fried chicken altogether, consider some healthier options that will satisfy your cravings at least somewhat nutritiously.

Here are two alternatives to indulge your Carnival-time cravings. 

Popeyes Blackened Tenders

Deep-fried but not breaded, a three-piece serving of these white meat tenders has 26 grams of protein for just 170 calories, 0 saturated fat, and 2 grams of carbs. Added bonus: The sodium is also lower than regular strips and tenders, with 550 mg sodium per three tenders.

Chick-Fil-A Grilled Nuggets

An eight-piece order has just 140 calories, with 1 gram of saturated fat, 2 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of protein. That's without any added sauces, which can add a hefty dose of sugar and/or salt. Added bonus: While the ingredients of the grilled nuggets aren't exactly "wholesome," they're among the cleaner versions of fast food ingredients.

As noted in the article, also keep these points in mind:

  • Keep it to one or two pieces, not the bucket. 
  • Skip the sides, since chicken is already a splurge.
  • Pulling off the skin can shave calories, fat and sodium from every piece.
  • Though it’s hard to rank which pieces are best, strips and tenders typically range from 310 to 380 calories for a three-piece order, which can be a good bet in comparison to chicken breasts and wings, which tend to be a bit higher.

Happy eating, and have a safe and happy Mardi Gras, y’all!

Registered Dietitian Molly Kimball offers brand-name products as a consumer guide; she does not solicit product samples nor is paid to recommend items. Be inspired to live your strongest, healthiest life! Subscribe to Molly's podcast FUELED | wellness + nutrition for the latest trends and research related to your body and mind.

Ready to change your diet for good? Our registered dietitians can help.

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