"Your Way?"
A Burger King Nutrition Guide

Burger King Nutrition Guide: Calorie and Burger King Nutrition Facts

BK logo

Burger King...

..."Have It Your Way," they claim...

...Well, if I had it my way (meet me), you'd avoid Burger King altogether.

Now don't get me wrong...

...I know you must by thinking that, of course, as a nutritionist, I'll be hoping you'll avoid Burger King or any fast food restaurant altogether.

On the contrary. I'm not the food police, nor your mother...

...so I'm not here to tell you what NOT to eat. Should you make the decision to eat fast food, I'm simply here to make sure you know what your best options are.

I'd like to show you how an occasional trip through the drive thru can still be part of a healthy eating plan or even a weight loss plan.

In comparison with its competitors however, Burger King, makes my job more difficult. In fact, you might want to check out their competitors:

If you absolutely have no choice but to stop at Burger King...

250-350 calorie option 400-500 calorie option 600-700 calorie option
Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad with Fat Free Ranch Dressing Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich without mayo, OR BK Veggie Burger, no cheese Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich without sauce + side Garden Salad + Light Italian Dressing

....as in, you're on a road trip and you haven't eaten in 10 or 12 hours and you have to stop to get something to eat or you'll have a serious accident because your blood sugar level is too low, and Burger King is the only restaurant within the next 500 miles...

...then here's a handful of things that you can consider (see my criteria):

Burger King Nutrition Guide

Q: Which calorie level is most appropriate? (Establish your personal calorie count.)

A: Use the following rough guidelines:

250-350 calorie menu suggestions could be considered a "mini meal" for a larger or more active person, or a full meal for a smaller person or someone in need of a lower calorie intake.

400-500 calorie menu suggestions would be appropriate for an average size person or an active smaller person.

600-700 calorie menu suggestions would be appropriate for a very active or larger person.

Burger King Nutrition Guide to Burgers:

If burgers are on the brain and nothing else will satisfy, you'll do the least damage with:

  • a single Fire Grilled Hamburger
  • Whopper Jr without mayo

"Double," "triple," and "quad" should be reserved for describing ice skating jumps...

...not burgers.

Burger King Nutrition Guide to Chicken and Fish:

With the exception of the Tendergrill Chicken, everything is fried! Now don't misunderstand me...

...The Tendergrill Chicken Breast Filet isn't health food by any means - it still has partially hydrogenated oil in it - but it's less offensive than the other options.

Fried, Fried, Fried, and Fried:

  • Tendercrisp Chicken
  • Chicken Tenders
  • Chicken Fries
  • Big Fish Sandwich

Avoid, Avoid, Avoid, Avoid!

Burger King Nutrition Guide to Side Orders:

As I mentioned above, I don't consider fried foods viable options. In case you do, however...

...a small order of onion rings or fries is less offensive than a medium or large order. And interestingly, onion rings are slightly lower in total fat, saturated fat and trans fat than french fries (when compared with a similar size of fries).

Burger King Nutrition Guide to Vegetarian Options:

While not completely vegan, the Veggie Burger is a reasonable meatless option. It's made of veggies, textured vegetable protein, egg whites, and brown rice. You'll do the least damage if you order it without the mayo and the cheese.

I find the 1100 mg sodium a bit offensive though, and think you could do better by buying a box of frozen veggie burgers (Dr. Praeger's and Amy's are a couple of my favorite brands) and throwing one in the microwave at mealtime. Which is exactly how Burger King prepares its veggie burger for you!

Burger King Nutrition Guide to Salads:

Not a lot of options here except a salad mix of romaine, tomatoes, baby carrots and a three cheese blend topped with either the Tendergrill Chicken breast or the fried Tendercrisp Chicken. You don't have to be a nutritionist to know which is the healthier option.

Burger King Nutrition Guide to Salad Dressing:

  • If you don't want MSG, stay away from both the regular and fat free Ranch Dressings.
  • The regular dressings will cost you 200-300 calories a serving and ~20 grams fat. "Light" dressing will reduce the numbers by ~1/2.
  • Have it your way...carry your own dressing!

If you were to peruse Burger King's site, you might think you'd stumbled upon true health food the way they talk about it. Sure, they provide lists of the lower fat, calorie and/or low carb options. But they forget to tell you about the bigger picture...

...Shame on Burger King for example, for suggesting you choose a Low Carb BK Quad Stacker because it's only 6g carb. If you are watching carbs, chances are you are watching your weight and/or your blood sugar because of diabetes. That means...

...if you opt for the Low Carb BK Quad Stacker, you are about to eat 4 beef patties, 8 slices of bacon and 4 slices of cheese, costing you 850 calories, 65 grams fat, 29.5 grams saturated fat, 2.5 grams trans fat, and 1515 mg sodium.

Come on, now. Does it make intuitive sense that you can eat 4 beef patties, 8 slices of bacon and 4 slices of cheese to lose weight and manage diabetes?

Want to see how your favorite meal stacks up? Get the nutrition facts for your favorite item combinations with this official Burger King Nutrition Guide.

Back to Surviving Fast Food.

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** Note: Burger King Nutrition Guide information current as of July, 2007 **

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