Popeyes is a popular destination for enjoying the taste of fried chicken. As delicious as the chicken may be, the flavor comes at a cost in terms of calories, fat and sodium. Popeyes offers a few different chicken selections on its menu, and knowing the nutritional differences among the options can help you make better decisions for your health.
Popeyes’ mild chicken is offered as wings, legs, thighs and breasts. The breast is the largest cut of chicken, and likewise provides the highest numbers in all nutritional categories, according to the nutrition guide on the Popeyes website. One breast provides 350 calories, 20 grams fat and 1,130 milligrams sodium. Of the 20 grams fat, 7 grams are saturated fat and 0.5 grams are trans fat. For comparison, a leg provides 110 calories, 7 grams fat and 280 milligrams sodium. A leg contains 0 grams trans fat and 2.5 grams saturated fat.
Popeyes’ spicy chicken similarly comes in wing, leg, thing and breast options. The spicy chicken provides about the same amount of calories and fat as the mild chicken, however, the two versions differ considerably in sodium. For example, while a mild chicken breast contains 1,130 milligrams sodium, a spicy chicken breast contains only 760 milligrams. A spicy chicken wing contains less than half the amount of sodium in a mild chicken wing, totaling 290 milligrams and 690 milligrams, respectively.
Skinless, Breadless Chicken
Popeyes’ nutrition guide indicates that opting for either the mild or spicy chicken without the skin or breading can significantly decrease fat grams. A mild chicken thigh with skin and breading contains 20 grams fat, while the same thigh without the skin and breading contains only 2 grams fat. Removing the skin and breading also significantly reduces the amount of calories and sodium.
Keep in mind that the nutritional information provided in the Popeyes nutrition guide is only for single pieces of chicken. Most people eat at least two or three pieces at a time, often choosing a combo meal. A seemingly modest two-piece combo meal, including a mild chicken breast and wing, a biscuit and coleslaw adds up to a whopping 1,000 calories, 66 grams fat, 21 grams saturated fat and 2,570 milligrams sodium.
Many of Popeyes’ menu options are very high in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium, which are highly linked to increased risk of developing heart disease, according to MedlinePluse, a service of the U.S. Library of Medicine. However, if you do choose to eat at Popeyes, there are menu choices that are better than others. Choosing skinless chicken with the breading removed is a great way to reduce fat intake. Opting for spicy chicken over mild chicken will help to reduce sodium intake. Additionally, having no more than two pieces of chicken per meal will help to minimize overall calorie, fat and sodium intake.