Wednesday, May 6, 2009

There Is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch! (At Least at KFC)

In a desperate attempt to unbrand themselves as the patron saint of quadruple bypass surgery, Kentucky Fresh (ha, not Fried anymore, get it??) Chicken restaurants in conjunction with Oprah, the patron saint of dieters, is offering a free two-piece grilled chicken meal deal. All you have to do is go to their site, print up to 4 copies of the coupon and take it to the KFC nearest you! (It is time sensitive though - the coupon will only be up through May 6, 2009.) You don’t even have to give them your fake e-mail address!

Obviously it’s a fab deal economically speaking, but is it such a good deal from a nutritional standpoint? I’ve long hated how many fast food restaurants will label a food “healthy” simply because it’s not as nutrionally void as everything else on their menu. So I checked out the nutritional info and was actually decently pleased. While this certainly isn’t the dead flesh of omnivorous (that’s one thing I learned from Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food - that chickens are naturally omnivorous and so anything that says “grain fed” actually means crap) cage-free chickens, it is not bad! A breast clocks in at 180 calories, 4g of fat and 35g of protein. The one downside is the sodium content at 440mg.

The other issue, however, is that you’re not just getting chicken. I realize that most people will see the addition of a biscuit, coleslaw and “potatoes” as just plain awesomeness but in my book those sides push the meal from okay into did-you-know-there-is-an-airline-that-charges-fat-people-for-every-pound-they-are-over-their-ideal-weight scariness. But whatever, free chicken is free chicken and I can always throw mine over a salad. Although who am I kidding- those biscuits are like crack - if I get one I’m probably eating it.

This type of marketing campaign seems to be gaining momentum. A while back Quiznos had free sandwich coupons on their website and we used those as a fun family dinner out. (You know you’re a parent when fine dining is a “buffet” of sandwich toppings behind a sneezeguard. And someone who looks like you but only smaller still manages to blow snot on someone else’s food.) While I normally am not a Quiznos (or any other sandwich shop) fan, the lure of free food overruled my persnickitiness. Although I will fess up that while my husband and kids each ate their sandwich with gusto, I ate at home before going and munched on jalapeno slices instead.

So - on the healthnut scale, where do you rank? Is this free lunch a good deal? Will you eat something you wouldn’t normally try, if it’s free? Or did you just read to the first paragraph and are already off printing your coupons and calling everyone you know?

PS> You’re welcome!