Chick-fil-A has a generally good reputation amongst the gluten-free community, and with their latest announcement I expect their reputation will only improve.

According to the press release on their website, Chick-fil-A is adding two new, healthy options for their Kids’ Meal: grilled chicken nuggets and Buddy Fruits® Pure Blended Fruit To Go. Combined with one of the beverage choices (skim milk, apple juice, lemonade or water), it’s about as healthy of a fast food meal as you’re likely to find anywhere.

Now, before I type up the rest of the press release, let’s jump over quickly to the disclaimer on Chick-fil-A’s gluten free info online:

…Some ingredients such as spices and natural flavors may be proprietary; therefore, we may not have the source listed for those items. We recommend you review this list with your physician before consuming any of the products listed below, or any other item on our menu. Although the ingredients in these menu items are gluten-free, we do not have gluten free prep areas and procedures for assembly of these menu items.

What does this mean for you? Before you go ahead an order anything, ask the location that you’re at whether or not the fryer is dedicated (anecdotal reports indicate that most locations do have dedicated fryers for their fries). If you’re concerned about cross-contamination, ask that the people preparing your food change gloves and use clean tongs. The web is full of stories of Chick-fil-A employees happily taking these precautions, and full of celiac diners happily eating — but without clearly explaining your needs and deciding whether or not you feel that the people behind the counter understand what you’re asking, there are no guarantees.

The press release clearly indicates that both the grilled nuggets and the blended fruit are gluten-free, describing them as:

  1. Introduction of Grilled Nuggets: These gluten-free Grilled Nuggets are made from a boneless, skinless breast of chicken tumbled in a salt and pepper spice blend and then grilled to perfection. The four count is only 80 calories and 1 gram of fat, while the six count contains 110 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.
  2. Addition of Buddy Fruits® Pure Blended Fruit To Go: Apple Cinnamon: Each squeezable fruit pouch is gluten free, all natural and contains 100 percent pure fruit. It is 60 calories, 0 grams of fat and equals one serving of fruit.

This is heartening not just because of the ingredients — which are indisputably better for everyone than deep-fried nuggets and fries — but because the company made a point of spelling out the relevancy for celiacs loud and clear.

Do you ever eat at Chick-fil-A? Have you had a good experience there?