Could Chick-fil-A be the next health food hot spot?
The purveyors of fried chicken and waffle fries are exploring previously uncharted territory: grain bowls. As of this week, Chick-fil-A locations in Tampa, San Francisco, Sacramento and Huntsville, Alabama will offer Harvest Kale And Grain Bowls and Egg White Grill Grain Bowls. If the bowls prove popular, these healthy menu items could hit Chick-fil-A stores nationwide by 2018, Eater reports.
The Harvest Kale And Grain Bowl offers a blend of red and white quinoa, farro and chopped kale, topped off with feta cheese, apples, dried cherries, roasted nuts and balsamic vinaigrette. If you need a chicken fix, you can add sliced grilled chicken to the dish. The Harvest Kale And Grain Bowl with chicken contains 370 calories and 22 grams of protein.
Chick-fil-A’s new breakfast bowl option is a stark departure from the restaurant’s famed chicken biscuit. The Egg White Grill Grain Bowl features scrambled egg whites, grilled chicken and cheese atop a blend of red quinoa, white quinoa and farro. This bowl contains 220 calories and 29 grams of protein.
The two grain bowls are an obvious move for a company that’s scrapped unhealthy menu items for more wholesome options in recent years. Last month, the company ditched its spicy chicken biscuit for the Egg White Grill, sparking a massive furor online. Earlier this year, Chick-fil-A replaced cole slaw with their Superfood Side, a mix of kale, broccolini, dried sour cherries and walnuts. The restaurant chain has also witnessed a massive uptick in salad sales. “We overhauled our salad lineup in 2013,” said David Farmer, Chick-fil-A’s vice president of menu strategy and development. “Since then, we’ve seen fifty percent growth in the salad category.”
In addition to its grain bowls, the company is testing other “healthy” breakfast items at locations across the United States, like an Egg White Grill Bowl and Berry Protein Blend breakfast smoothie. The company’s new Hash Brown Scramble Burrito ― hash browns, scrambled eggs, cheese, with a choice of sausage or chicken nuggets ― has a higher calorie content than its counterparts at 650 calories, but it does boast an impressive 31 grams of protein.
While it’s significant to see Chick-fil-A making healthy dining accessible in the fast food industry, the question remains: Can grilled chicken salads and kale grain bowls compete with a breaded, fried morsel of chicken nugget scrumptiousness?
Only time will tell.