McDonald's Nutrition Guide and Nutrition Facts
Doesn't "McDonald's Nutrition Guide" sound like an oxymoron? It's hard to look at "McDonald's" and "nutrition" in the same sentence, much less recommend the two together at lunchtime.
In this day and age, the convenience of fast food CAN co-exist with your goal of keeping calories (why calories matter) and fat grams in check. That is...
...if you make the right choices. I'm a dietitian (meet me) and I'm here to help you do just that!
I have bumper sticker I'd like to print up. The slogan would read...
...Fast Food Happens.
As a nutrition expert I recognize this fact. I therefore feel compelled to provide a McDonald's Nutrition Guide in order to advise you of the best choices available. (See the criteria I used.)
Most of my clients just want to know "What can I eat there?"
See this blue chart and the green chart below for my suggestions.
Q: Which calorie level is most appropriate for me? (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.
McDonald's Nutrition Guide to Fish
Fish is the "healthiest" meat, right? Not when it's deep-fried. So don't order the fish just to think you ate "healthy" at McDonald's, because you'll only be fooling yourself!
Still, if you really want to eat fish at McDonald's and feel good about your choice, here's how to do so:
Too weird?! Don't decide until you've tried it!
McDonald's Nutrition Guide to Salads
The 4 entree salads offered are:
You can order any of them without chicken...or with chicken that's either "grilled" or "crispy."
McDonald's Nutrition Fact: crispy = fried!
I recommend including the chicken to assure you have adequate protein, but be sure to choose the grilled option; it will save you 80-90 calories. (That's a 4 pound weight loss/year if you eat one of these salads a few times/week!)
Even if you do get the grilled chicken, I wouldn't recommend the Caesar or the Bacon Ranch salads. With those salad dressings, you're in Double Cheeseburger and Quarter Pounder territory in terms of calories and fat, with even more sodium!
And speaking of salad dressing...
...if you're up for something a little unusual...
...ask for the Tangy Honey Mustard Sauce (usually served with the Chicken McNuggets). Use it on your salad instead of dressing. It's in the same ballpark for calories as the Low Cal Italian and Lowfat Sesame Ginger, with 75% less sodium!
McDonald's Nutrition Guide: General Tips
Personal Nutrition Guide call to action: Tell McDonald's to lose the trans fat.
Stuff to stay away from
Plain large iced coffee
At 270 calories and 11g fat (7 saturated), it's like drinking 3 pats of butter! I myself was surprised to learn that the "plain" has even more calories than flavored (hazelnut or caramel) iced coffee. It's a small, non-nutritious meal in and of itself!
Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich
With 1860 mg, it packs more sodium than you'd get from eating a cheeseburger with large fries...and adding 2 salt packets!
Can you say...water retention?! You might have to turn sideways to get out the door!
10 piece Chicken Selects Breast Strips
1270 calories, 66g fat, 12g saturated fat, 9g trans fat, 3100mg sodium.
That's enough calories for an entire day for a smaller or sedentary person, enough fat for a person eating 2000 calories/day, and more sodium than 1 tsp from the salt shaker!
McDonald's Nutrition Guide To Trans Fat Free Options
McDonald's Nutrition Guide To Breakfast: Best Picks (300-350 calories)
What I'd choose if I actually went to McDonald's
The Fruit and Walnut Salad
The Creamy Southwest Dressing is comparable in calories to the Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing, but 400mg lower in sodium.
Want more numbers? Get the McDonald's nutrition facts for any menu item with this official McDonalds Nutrition Guide.
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** Note: McDonald's Nutrition Guide information current as of July, 2007 **