You’ve got errands to run, kids to pick up from sports practice, and a looming work project due this week, but you are already mentally fatigued from cooking this week. Then you drive past a McDonald’s. Today would be a great day to take advantage of hot fast food and the comfort it provides, but you pause. Is there anything healthy to eat at McDonald’s? What are some of the healthiest McDonald’s orders you could theoretically place?
Fast food chains focus on foods that are quick, tasty, and affordable. Three flavorful food components that excite our tastebuds include fat, salt, and sugar. It’s crucial to look for moderation when it comes to your restaurant picks and the amounts of these added ingredients you find in their menu items.
Keep in mind that one meal doesn’t define an eating pattern. Eating well most of the time with infrequent treats and indulgences (including fast food meals) does not dismantle a healthy diet.
Here, we have rounded up some of the healthiest McDonald’s orders that deliver varying doses of benefits, so you can enjoy these meals in the middle of a busy day. And for more healthy eating tips to help you find a nutritious meal at another popular fast food chain, be sure to check out The 8 Healthiest Menu Items at Panda Express.
Per order: 630 calories, 21.5g total fat (8.5g saturated fat), 950mg sodium, 89g carbs, (5g fiber, 33g sugar), 19g protein
An opportunity to fit in both fruit and oatmeal for a fast-food breakfast is why this meal ranks high. Pair it up with a zero-calorie hydrating water to complete the meal.
Per order: 455 calories, 21g total fat (7g saturated fat), 1090mg sodium, 49g carbs, (4g fiber, 3g sugar), 19g protein
When deciding between the healthiest McDonald’s orders available, the Egg McMuffin® is one of your best bets for breakfast. This breakfast sandwich comes in at 3 grams less saturated fat than Sausage McGriddles® and 7 grams less saturated fat than a Sausage Biscuit.
Per order:425 calories, 19g total fat (8.5g saturated fat), 880mg sodium, 41g carbs, (1g fiber, 16g sugar), 21g protein
The McDonald’s Sausage Burrito contains vegetables (tomatoes, green chiles, and onions), while fruit and milk provide some natural sweetness to the meal.
Per order: 425 calories, 24g total fat (4g saturated fat), 850mg sodium, 30g carbs, (1g fiber, 3g sugar), 23g protein
If you’re craving nuggets, this 10-piece order will pair it up with fruit via apple slices and a tea option that doesn’t include sweetener.
Per order: 500 calories, 23g total fat (5g saturated fat), 640mg sodium, 51g carbs, (1g fiber, 16g sugar), 22g protein
Most McDonald’s meals do well when amplified with a low-fat milk, which adds 8 grams of protein. Also, the McChicken is the lowest sodium chicken sandwich option on the McDonald’s menu by 490 milligrams!
Per order: 530 calories, 27g total fat (8.5g saturated fat), 680mg sodium, 51g carbs, (2g fiber, 16g sugar), 23g protein
Per order: 475 calories, 16g total fat (5.5g saturated fat), 680mg sodium, 62g carbs, (2g fiber, 20g sugar), 22g protein
Happy Meals® do a terrific job of giving you a taste of all your favorites, but with moderate portions. This results in lower calories, making it one of our top recommendations at McDonald’s.
Per order: 475 calories, 22g total fat (4.5g saturated fat), 670mg sodium, 46g carbs, (2g fiber, 14g sugar), 24g protein
This meal is the highest protein Happy Meal®, coming in at 24 grams of protein. At 475 calories, this should be a satisfying amount of food for lunchtime.
Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD