Chicken wings are a popular appetizer and finger food enjoyed by many. When dining out or ordering takeout, chicken wings are often served in portions of 5-10 wings. But have you ever wondered just how many calories are in a single chicken wing from a restaurant or grocery store like Publix? In this article, we’ll take a close look at the calorie count of Publix chicken wings and see how they fit into a balanced diet.
The Nutritional Profile of Chicken Wings
In general, chicken wings are considered a high-fat, high-protein food. The calorie count can vary greatly depending on whether they are breaded or fried and what sauces or seasonings are used. Plain, baked chicken wings have around 40-50 calories per wing on average. Wings served at restaurants or takeout joints are typically fried or breaded, which adds more fat and calories. Hot wings or other heavily sauced wings also pack on the calories from sugar-laden sauces. So a single wing from a restaurant order can range from 60-150 calories depending on preparation methods.
The main nutrients in chicken wings are:
- Protein: 6-8g per wing
- Fat: 3-15g per wing
- Carbs: 0-5g per wing
Chicken wings provide protein for building muscle and bone strength. But they are also high in saturated fat, so moderation is key. The breading, batter and sauces used for fried or sauced wings can also make them high in carbohydrates, salt, and sugar too.
Calories in Publix Chicken Wings
Now let’s focus on the specifics for Publix. This grocery store chain offers fresh, refrigerated chicken wings rather than pre-fried. Here are the nutrition facts for Publix chicken wings:
- Serving size: 1 wing (about 1oz/28g)
- Calories: 45
- Fat: 3g
- Carbs: 0g
- Protein: 6g
With 45 calories and 3g of fat per wing, Publix wings are on the lower end of the calorie spectrum compared to restaurant wings. Their fresh wings don’t have breading or extra sauce added. These nutrition facts are for plain Publix chicken wings. If you fry them at home or add heavy sauces, the calorie count will increase accordingly.
How Wings Fit Into a Healthy Diet
Now that you know a single Publix chicken wing has 45 calories, how do they fit into your daily calorie needs? The average moderately active adult needs 2,000-2,500 calories per day. Within this, nutritionists recommend the following calorie breakdown:
- 45-65% carbs: 900-1,625 calories
- 10-35% protein: 200-875 calories
- 20-35% fat: 400-875 calories
A single 45 calorie chicken wing supplies about 6g of protein, or 24 calories from protein. This is a minimal protein addition to your diet. To meet your daily protein needs while staying within your calorie limits, you would need to eat 25-35 of these Publix wings! That would provide 150-210g of protein but also add up to 1,125-1,575 calories just from the chicken wings alone.
Therefore, while they are lower in calories than fried bar wings, Publix wings are still a high fat, high calorie food. 1-2 wings can fit into a meal plan as an occasional treat. But going overboard with dozens of wings can pack in too many calories, fat, sodium and lead to unhealthy weight gain over time. Here are some tips for healthy portions:
- Limit portions to 2-3 wings
- Pair with lower calorie sides like salad, roasted veggies or fruit
- Avoid heavy sauces, breading and frying at home
- Watch your alcohol intake if also drinking beer or other high calorie beverages
- Split orders or take home leftovers to prevent overeating
Alternatives to Chicken Wings
If your weekly wing nights are starting to tip the scales, there are plenty of lower calorie alternatives that can satisfy the same crunchy, savory craving:
Replace chicken wings with cauliflower florets baked in your favorite wing sauce or seasoning. Cauliflower has just 25 calories per 100g. So a serving of 10 baked cauliflower “wings” would have just 50 calories. Pair it will celery and carrots with sauce for dipping.
Skip the fatty wing skin and breading by making chicken satay skewers on the grill. 100g of grilled chicken breast has about 110 calories. Making a dozen skewers with veggies like onions and bell peppers can create a lighter wing alternative.
Grilled Chicken Fingers
Slice chicken breasts into long fingers, season them and grill until cooked through and lightly charred. Kids and adults alike will love dipping these into wing sauce or salad dressing. 3 ounces of chicken fingers packs about 90 calories.
Veggie Plate with Hummus
For a vegetarian option, roast, grill or saute veggies like cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, broccoli and bell peppers. Arrange them on a plate with hummus or another healthy dip for a flavorful, low cal snack.
How to Cook Healthy Publix Chicken Wings at Home
You can whip up healthier oven baked Publix chicken wings at home in a few easy steps:
- 1 lb Publix chicken wings, tips removed (about 12 wings)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Sauce or dry rub (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Rinse wings and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.
- Place wings on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
- Season all over with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Bake for 45 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
- In the last 5-10 minutes, toss wings in your favorite sauce or dry seasoning blend if desired.
- Finish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until crispy.
- Let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy with fresh veggies and dip.
Baking instead of frying helps lower the calories, fat and sodium while still yielding delicious, crispy Publix wings. Pair them with fresh veggie sticks and a low-fat dip or sauce for a more balanced meal.
Nutrition Comparison With Other Chicken Parts
We’ve looked closely at Publix chicken wings. But how do they compare nutritionally to other parts of the chicken?
Here’s a nutrition comparison of 100g serving of different raw chicken cuts:
Chicken wings are significantly higher in fat and calories compared to leaner breast meat. Wings are close to thighs and legs in calories and protein. So opting for boneless skinless chicken thighs or drumsticks can provide a similar nutrition profile with less fat as wings if you eliminate the skin.
Healthier Cooking Methods
How you prepare your wings also impacts their nutrition profile. Here is a comparison of 100g of wings prepared different ways:
Frying adds a significant amount of extra fat and calories. For the healthiest option, bake, grill, broil or air fry your wings. Skip the oil and breading to prevent excess calories.
Calculating Your Wing Meal Calories
When eating wings, don’t forget to factor in your side dishes and beverages too. The entire meal matters for your overall calorie intake. Here’s a sample wing meal with calorie totals:
- 6 Publix wings (270 calories)
- Medium garden salad with 2 tbsp dressing (150 calories)
- 4 celery sticks with 2 tbsp blue cheese dip (140 calories)
- 12oz light beer (100 calories)
Total meal: About 660 calories
Compare this to a meal of 12 fried wings with fries and a soda, which could tally up to over 1,500 calories! When making wings, be mindful of reasonable portions and pairing them with lighter sides and drinks to avoid overconsumption.
Condiment and Sauce Calorie Considerations
Chicken wings aren’t complete without your favorite sauces and seasonings. But their calories can add up quickly. Here are some popular wing accompaniments with their calorie counts per tablespoon:
- Ranch: 60 calories
- Blue cheese: 50 calories
- BBQ sauce: 40 calories
- Buffalo: 20 calories
- Lemon pepper: 15 calories
Just 2-3 tablespoons of thick, creamy sauces like ranch or blue cheese can tally over 150 extra calories. For a lower calorie option, ask for sauces on the side and use sparingly or choose lighter sauces like hot sauce or spice rubs.
Healthy Homemade Wing Sauces
Make your own healthy wing sauces at home with simple ingredients like hot sauce, herbs, vinegar, mustard and other spices. Bake your wings plain, then toss them in one of these Options to add big flavor without loads of calories:
- Spicy soy ginger sauce
- Chili lime sauce
- Lemon garlic marinade
- Buffalo hot sauce and blue cheese dressing
- Honey mustard
- Jerk seasoning dry rub
Portion Control Tips
It’s easy to overeat with finger foods like wings if you are not careful. Here are some strategies to keep portions in check:
- Pre-portion wings into zip top bags with your desired serving size before cooking. Freeze extras to defrost and cook only what you will realistically eat.
- Read labels for weight and serving size details so you understand the calories in each portion.
- Use smaller plates so a normal portion doesn’t look tiny. Large empty plates encourage over-serving.
- Serve with cut veggies to add volume and nutrients without extra calories.
- Dip your fork in the sauce rather than dunking wings directly to minimize excess sticking.
- Eat mindfully. Savor each bite without distractions to prevent mindless overeating.
Chicken wings can still be part of a healthy diet in moderation. Plain Publix wings contain about 45 calories each. Compared to restaurant wings, they are lower in fat, calories, carbs and sodium. But the calories can still add up quickly if you eat a full order. Enjoy a few Publix wings alongside plenty of non-starchy veggies, limit heavy sauces and condiments, and accompanying them with lighter drinks. Opt for baking instead of frying and be mindful of portions to keep your wing habit from going to your waistline.