The KFC chicken pot pie is a popular menu item at the famous fried chicken chain. It consists of chicken, peas, carrots and corn in a savory gravy, all encased in a flaky, buttery crust.
While tasty, many consumers wonder if this seemingly decadent dish can actually be part of a balanced diet. This article will analyze the nutritional content of the KFC chicken pot pie to determine if it’s a healthy option or diet disaster.
First, let’s look at the nutrition facts for the KFC chicken pot pie:
|Serving Size||1 pie (285g)|
Right away we can see that the KFC chicken pot pie is very high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.
Let’s break down each of these nutrients more closely.
At 760 calories, the chicken pot pie accounts for a significant portion of our daily calorie needs.
The recommended daily calorie intake for adults is around 2,000 calories. This means the chicken pot pie provides over one third of the average person’s calorie requirement.
While the occasional indulgence is fine, consuming 760 calories in one sitting from a single menu item is quite high. Those limiting calories or watching their weight would be wise to share this pie or opt for lower calorie KFC items.
The chicken pot pie also contains a very high amount of fat at 49 grams.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat intake to between 25-35% of total calories. For a 2,000 calorie diet, this equates to about 56-78 grams of fat per day.
Nearly half of the recommended daily maximum fat intake is coming from this one KFC menu item. Plus, the chicken pot pie accounts for over 30% of calories from fat based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
The high fat content is attributed to the buttery pie crust and fatty gravy filling. Those concerned with heart health and weight management should limit intake of this fat-laden option.
Saturated fat is considered the unhealthiest type of fat. The chicken pot pie contains a very high amount at 19 grams, which is over 90% of the daily value.
Health authorities recommend limiting saturated fat to no more than 10% of total calories. For a 2,000 calorie diet, this would equate to about 20 grams of saturated fat per day at the upper limit.
The American Heart Association advises restricting saturated fat even further to just 5-6% of total calories, which would limit intake to about 13 grams based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
With nearly 20 grams of saturated fat in one serving, the KFC chicken pot pie far exceeds recommendations for healthy intake levels.
Trans fat is considered the worst type of fat, and has been banned in many locations due to its negative health effects.
While the KFC chicken pot pie only contains 1.5 grams of trans fat per serving, health authorities recommend limiting this to as low as possible. Even small amounts of trans fat can negatively impact heart health.
At 105mg of cholesterol per serving, the chicken pot pie also provides significant amounts of dietary cholesterol.
The recommended limit for cholesterol intake is 300 mg per day. Just one chicken pot pie delivers over one third of the daily recommendation.
High cholesterol intake is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Those with high blood cholesterol or other risk factors should be especially mindful of limiting cholesterol from food sources.
The KFC chicken pot pie is extremely high in sodium at 1,830 mg per serving. This is over 75% of the recommended daily sodium intake.
Health authorities advise limiting sodium to 2,300 mg per day or less for adults. Many should restrict even further to 1,500 mg per day, including people over 50 years old, African Americans, and those with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
The very high sodium content comes primarily from the gravy and crust. Excess sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Carbohydrates, Fiber and Sugar
The chicken pot pie contains 51 grams of carbohydrates, including 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of sugars.
While not too concerning, the low fiber and high refined carb content of the pie crust contributes minimal nutrition. The sugars are naturally occurring from the carrots and peas, rather than added sugar.
Overall, the carb portion of this dish is less worrisome than the high fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol content. However, the refined carbs still lack much nutritional benefit.
The one bright spot nutrition-wise is the high protein content. With 28 grams of protein, the chicken pot pie provides over half the recommended daily intake for protein in a single serving.
Protein is important for keeping us feeling full and satisfied, helps build and repair muscle tissue and aids bodily functions. The ample protein is attributed to the chicken and helps offset some of the less healthy attributes of this dish.
Beyond the macro and micro nutrients described above, the KFC chicken pot pie also provides a range of vitamins and minerals:
|Vitamin A||45% DV|
|Vitamin C||15% DV|
The chicken pot pie provides almost half the daily recommended intake for Vitamin A from the carrots. It also contains decent amounts of Vitamin C, calcium, iron and potassium.
These vitamins and minerals add some nutritional value, but likely not enough to offset the high calorie, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol content.
Analyzing the actual ingredients in the KFC chicken pot pie can provide further insights into its nutrition and health profile:
– Chicken – providing protein and nutrients
– Water and chicken stock – add sodium and flavor
– Carrots, peas, corn – sources of vitamins and minerals
– Wheat flour – refined grains with minimal nutrients
– Palm oil – high in saturated fat
– Trans fat (partially hydrogenated soybean oil) – unhealthy fats
– Salt, spices, monosodium glutamate (MSG) – add sodium and flavor
– Milk, cream, soy lecithin – high fat dairy ingredients
– Dough conditioners and preservatives – added chemicals
The main healthy aspects come from the chicken, carrots, peas and corn. However, the use of refined flour, fats/oils, salt and dairy provide a lot of the unhealthy attributes. Preservatives and dough conditioners also tip the scale away from real, whole food.
At 285 grams or 10 ounces, the serving size of the KFC chicken pot pie is quite large. Very few people need this much food in one sitting.
Consuming such a large portion compounds the high calorie, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol content by providing excessive amounts.
Those seeking a healthier option would be smarter to share the pot pie, or get one of the snack pot pies which are about half the size. Portion control is key.
KFC Nutrition Compared to Other Pies
How does the KFC chicken pot pie nutrition compare to other popular pie options?
Below is a nutritional comparison of a 1 pie serving of KFC chicken pot pie versus an average slice of apple pie and pumpkin pie:
|KFC Chicken Pot Pie||760||49g||51g||1830mg|
|Apple Pie (1 slice)||296||13g||44g||179mg|
|Pumpkin Pie (1 slice)||323||15g||34g||275mg|
Compared to traditional apple and pumpkin pies, the KFC chicken pot pie is significantly higher in calories, fat, and ridiculously higher in sodium content.
Both apple and pumpkin pie would be healthier options, providing less total calories, fat, and far lower amounts of sodium.
Healthier KFC Alternatives
If seeking a healthier KFC menu item alternative to the chicken pot pie, some better options include:
– KFC Famous Bowl without gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuit. This removes high fat/sodium items.
– Grilled chicken breast with green beans and corn as the sides. Avoid gravy, biscuits, mac and cheese.
– KFC seasoned grilled chicken wings with ranch dipping sauce. Avoid fried wings and high fat dipping sauces.
– Salads with grilled chicken. Go light on high fat dressings, cheeses and croutons.
– Plain grilled chicken sandwich or tenders. Avoid fried chicken between buttery buns or biscuits.
– Roasted chicken Caesar salad with light dressing, no cheese or croutons. Pick healthy toppings like tomatoes, cucumbers.
While not as exciting as a chicken pot pie, these alternatives provide lean protein, vegetables, and avoid fried foods, fatty sauces, gravies, salty sides and heavy biscuits.
The KFC chicken pot pie is high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. The large portion size compounds the heavy nutritional profile.
While providing some protein, vitamins and minerals, the negatives far outweigh any potential benefits. The rich flavor makes it taste delicious, but unhealthy fats, sodium, additives and preservatives tip the scales toward diet disaster.
Those seeking a balanced meal should avoid the chicken pot pie in favor of healthier KFC choices or traditional pies with less fat and sodium. An occasional small portion can be worked into a diet, but consumption should be limited.
When craving comfort food, make the pie filling from scratch using lower sodium chicken broth, drop the top crust, and load up on vegetables to cut some calories and boost nutrition.
At the end of the day, the KFC chicken pot pie is a high calorie, low nutrient indulgence that should be enjoyed sparingly as an occasional treat, not a dietary staple. Moderation and portion control are key to keeping this menu item from derailing your healthy diet.