Chicken wings are a crowd-pleasing staple at birthday, graduation, and tailgate parties. Wingstop is a restaurant franchise specializing in chicken wings and boneless tenders that come in various sauce and rub flavors.
For anyone following a low-fat or low-sodium diet, Wingstop isn't an optimal choice, as the restaurant chain doesn't provide many menu items with heart-healthy fare. But filling your plate up with Wingstop's sides of carrots and celery sticks can keep your overall calorie count down and your nutritional value up when you dine at Wingstop.
What Experts Say
"Wingstop specializes in wings of all kinds, loaded French fries, chicken tenders, and desserts. It’s best to indulge in wings on occasion as they are high in fat, sodium, and calories. If you’re eating at Wingstop, keep it simple—more toppings and sauces equals more fat, sodium, and calories. Try the vegetable sticks as a side dish, which is a healthier substitute for French fries." —Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN
Navigating the Menu
The majority of Wingstop’s menu items contain high-fat protein. You will also find fried foods such as boneless tenders and plentiful types of French fries—all full of sodium and calories.For more nutrients and less fat and salt, order two to three wings and order a couple of sides of carrots and celery for a filling meal. Nutrition information is available online for all Wingstop menu items.
|What to Order & Avoid at Wingstop|
|Most Nutritious Options||Least Nutritious Options|
|Plain Wings (Wings)||Original Hot (Wings)|
|Plain Bone-in Thighs (Thighs)||Garlic Parm Thigh Bites, Large (Thighs)|
|Plain (Boneless Tenders)||Louisiana Rub (Boneless Tenders)|
|Celery Sticks (Sides)||Louisiana Voodoo Fries Large (Sides)|
|Unsweet Tea(Beverages)||Fanta Strawberry (Beverages)|
Most Nutritious Option
For the healthiest meal at Wingstop, stick to plain wings, a side of carrots and celery, and skip a dipping sauce for the most nutritious option.
True to its name, Wingstop is known for its chicken wings with both jumbo and boneless options. The wing choices range from plain to hot and spicy flavors such as mango habanero, spicy Korean Q, original hot, and Louisiana rub. A serving size is one piece.
The easier way to consume wings, boneless, leaves no trace behind of how much you eat (except for perhaps your sticky fingers). Without seeing the bones piling up on your plate, you might inadvertently overindulge on these type of wings. To help keep your calorie count down, don't eat boneless wings straight out of a bucket. Rather, place a few on your plate and stick to eating those.
✓ Plain Boneless Wings
Plain boneless wings have the lowest amount of calories, sodium, carbohydrates, and saturated fat, with just 80 calories, 4.5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 6g carbs, 4g protein, and 230mg sodium per wing. Regular mustard is your best bet for dipping sauce.
✗ Cajun Boneless Wings
The Cajun boneless wings have fewer calories than the garlic parmesan bone-in wings (120 per wing). But the Cajun boneless wings contain the most sodium compared to the other options. This flavor provides 80 calories, 4.5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 6g carbohydrate, 4g protein, and 450mg sodium per wing.
Wingstop's menu features both bone-in and thigh bites, available with the same selection of dips and sauces the restaurant offers for its wings.
✓Plain Bone-In Thighs
For the fewest calories and sodium, the plain bone-in thighs are the top choice. One serving of bone-in thighs is a single piece, and the plain version provides 220 calories, 14g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrates, 24g protein, and 95mg sodium.
✗Garlic Parm Thigh Bites, Large
A large order of the garlic parm thigh bites delivers 1,635 calories, 119g fat, 18g saturated fat, 89g carbohydrates, 29g protein, and 4,860mg sodium. This is the highest-calorie thigh bites order. Consider the smaller, regular size, order of the garlic parm thigh bites for 1,090 calories, or the regular plain thigh bites for 810 calories, instead.
All of Wingstop's boneless tenders offer 7 to 14 grams of protein per serving, depending on the flavor. This is a much higher protein content than chicken wings, but tenders come fried and breaded (which is not optimal for those following a gluten-free or heart-healthy diet).
✓ Plain Boneless Tenders
With just 140 calories, 7g fat, 1g saturated fat, 10g carbs, 10g protein, and 470mg sodium, the plain tenders are the healthiest option. Notably, they offer the fewest amount of calories and sodium per tender.
✗ Louisiana Rub Boneless Tenders
This "crispy, spiced dry rub, with a distinctly Cajun drawl" is a higher-calorie choice, with 180 calories, 12g fat, 2g saturated fat, 10g carbs, 10g protein, and 540mg sodium. However, the Louisiana Rub is lower in sodium than some other flavorings. If you're following a low-sodium diet, avoid Wingstop's Cajun, original hot, BBQ, and mild rubs.
Sides at Wingstop include vegetables, fries of various flavors, Cajun fried corn, brownies, and sauces.
✓ Veggie Sticks
Celery and carrot sticks are the healthiest option on the Wingstop menu at 5 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 1g carbs, 0g protein, and 26mg sodium. Ordering a couple of servings of vegetables and eating them first can help lessen your hunger before you start on the sodium-laden chicken choices.
✗ Louisiana Voodoo Fries
The large Louisiana Voodoo Fries come in at 910 calories, 49g fat, 9g saturated fat, 100g carbs, 16g protein, and 1710g sodium. Ordering seasoned fries in a medium size will save more than 500 calories.
You'll find your standard soda options, as well as various teas from popular brands.
✓ Unsweet Tea
If you need something other than water to cut the heat of the chicken wings, Lipton tea has 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g carbs, 0g protein, and 0g sodium. Order the unsweetened version, as the large Lipton Tea Sweet option has 280 calories per serving.
✗ Strawberry Fanta
The least nutritious beverage option is a strawberry Fanta with 283 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 78g carbs, and 23mg sodium for a regular size.
Wingstop doesn’t offer a lot of options for people with diet restrictions, as its menu is limited to chicken and sides. But there are some possibilities for people who follow a low-carb, gluten-free, or vegetarian option. The restaurant does not have menu items for low-FODMAP, diabetes-friendly, low-fat, or low-sodium diets.
Chicken wings (without breading) are low in carbohydrates. The following wing flavors only have 1 carb per item:
- Original Hot
- Lemon Pepper
- Original Hot
- Louisiana Rub
Most wing flavors are gluten-free, but some locations cook wings with breaded chicken tenders. Call ahead to ask about the possibility of cross-contamination. Gluten-free wing options include:
- Garlic Parmesan
- Lemon Pepper
- Louisiana Rub
- Original Hot
Vegans and vegetarians will find limited options on the Wingstop menu and will need to stick to sides, desserts, and beverages. Meatless choices include:
- Side of carrots
- Side of celery
- Buffalo Ranch Fries
- Cheese Fries
- Louisiana Voodoo Fries
- Cajun Fried Corn
Food Allergies and Safety
Wingstop cooks items in a gluten and dairy environment, though the restaurant is generally safe for people with a peanut and nut allergy. However, you should consult the online allergen guide before visiting the restaurant. Once there, always inform the staff that you have an allergy.
A Word From Verywell
As with other fast-food restaurants, Wingstop’s menu consists of mostly high-sodium, high-calorie menu items. Even the non-fried, plain wings contain salt and seasoning that adds to the sodium count. When in doubt, opt for plain wings and stick to low-calorie, low-sugar mustard for your dipping sauce.Or consider wings an occasional treat, and use other meals to get your fruits, veggies, and fiber.
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By Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, CPT
Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, is a certified personal trainer, freelance writer, and author of "Growth Mindset for Athletes, Coaches and Trainers."
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