Chick-fil-A, The Crazy Healthy Way


At three o’clock this afternoon, I got an email from a parent in my daughter’s class that said, “In honor of Charlie’s birthday tomorrow, we will bring lunch from Chick-fil-A for the entire class. It’s his favorite meal: chicken nuggets and fruit.”

My first reaction was, “Uh-oh, how am I going to make this right for my little one?” She is severely allergic to gluten, and we know from experience that the wheat in Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets makes her wheeze, and fight for breath. I knew she would be sad to miss out Charlie’s birthday treat.

And then I came to my senses. What a great opportunity! The perfect way to remind my kids that there is ALWAYS a yummier, and healthier, choice than fast food.

I did not grow up in the South, like many of my friends here in Atlanta, and my mom was more of a baker than a chef. So, I have no experience with frying anything. But tonight I would finally try my hand at frying chicken, and I would do it in a crazy healthy way.

We also don’t eat meat very often, so I was surprised/happy to find one package of organic chicken breasts in the fridge. All systems GO.

I cut the chicken into small pieces, dipped it in egg or egg replacer, then dipped it in a mixture of Pamela’s Gluten-Free Baking and Pancake Mix, salt, and pepper. I think of myself as an intuitive cook (translated: I find it hard to follow recipes, and would rather figure things out as I go), so I just guessed at how much baking mix, salt and pepper to use.

I also guessed at how to work with the oil. Grapeseed oil is flavorless and has a high smoke point, so this seemed the best option for frying (coconut oil is healthier, but I thought the taste would be too strong). I doubled the amount of oil I usually use to sauté veggies, and let it get nice and hot over medium-high heat, before adding the chicken.

And then I thought, why not go all the way, and replicate the Kids Meals at Chick-fil-A?

Hmm…how to recreate the sides in a hurry? Toss new potatoes with grapeseed oil and salt, and roast them at 450 degrees for ten minutes. Slice some apples, and voila! Faux Chick-fil-A in a crazy healthy way.

Not as nutrient-dense as most of our dinners, but we all need to live a little, right? The best part: all three of my girls said tonight’s dinner was better than Chick-fil-A. Way better. Everyone had seconds, and I still have enough to send with my youngest tomorrow, so she will not feel left out.

Recreating Chick-fil-A at home was easier, and more satisfying than I expected. In 20 minutes, I went from doubting my ability to create a healthy substitute, to showing my kids that Chick-fil-A might taste good, but we can do better.

Turning doubt in opportunity. That, in a nutshell, is what this crazy healthy life is all about.

2 thoughts on “Chick-fil-A, The Crazy Healthy Way

  1. Life&Ink says:

    It’s wonderful when you realize that good tasting AND healthy most definitely go together. When my daughter went from vegetarian to vegan it changed the way I felt about cooking. We discovered so many incredibly delicious meals and the size of my spice collection tripled! And then, when my husband’s cholesterol went from 210 to 180, with the only difference being eating vegan 3-4 times a week, well the proof was not only in meals my family liked but was reflected in a very measurable way as well. Great post and great message! 🙂


    • I agree! Cooking is so much more fun now, than it was before I became a vegetarian in 2003. Transforming my diet forced me to pay more attention to the kinds of food I was eating. In the process, I realized that real food tastes better than anything else. Thank you for your feedback, and good luck with your efforts to keep your family healthy! They are lucky to have a mom who cares so very much.


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