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Are There Healthy Choices at McDonald’s?

Whether we like it or not, fast-food chains are omnipresent in our environment. I gave myself the challenge to list the healthiest options offered at McDonald’s.

The classic hamburger-fries-soft drink trio

This meal can total a whopping 1690 kcal if you order large fries and drink, along with the highest-calorie burger. How is this even possible?

  • Deep frying transforms food by adding a huge quantity of fat to it;
  • Soft and fruity drinks contain a lot of sugar;
  • Super-sized servings have become the norm.

If you decide to get a burger, opt for the McDouble®. Its protein/lipid ratio is the most interesting on the menu. However, you should note that it’s an entire meal by itself. If you still insist on ordering fries, share them! Thirsty? Water is your friend! Also, remember that after such a massive dose of salt, you should start rehydrating as soon as possible.

Chicken McNuggets

Chicken is a lean meat, right? Unfortunately, all the breading and deep frying make nuggets a fatty source of protein.


Always opt for grilled chicken rather than breaded and fried chicken, which is often referred to as tasty “crispy chicken”.

If you pick a Chicken Snack Wrap, you will indeed get fewer calories, but your meal won’t sustain you for very long. Because it doesn’t contain enough calories and protein, you’ll have to eat a snack later during the day.

Meal salads

You think going to McDonald’s for a salad is a bit odd? I’ll give you that. Still, it can be a good option!

If you like Caesar dressings, keep in mind it contains a lot of calories. Here’s a tip: use only half of the packet, and then reassess whether you need the entire recommended serving. No one said you have to eat all of it! Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken is also a smart choice, given its light balsamic vinegar dressing.

Watch out for salt

Salt enhances the taste of food. Any food at the restaurant will contain more sodium than homemade recipes. When we stop for a moment and think that the daily recommended intake is 1500 mg, we realize how high in sodium these meals are! To compensate, make sure that on days where you eat out, the other meals of the day are low in sodium. Also, try to space out the days on which you eat at the restaurant to give your body time to process excess salt.

nutritional value

In summary, there is no perfect option on McDonald’s menu, but if you must eat there, check out the nutrition guide; it might stop you from ordering your usual Big Mac trio! Make smart choices, spread out your outings, and if you’d like to learn about more options, don’t hesitate to ask your nutritionist!

By Dominique Longpré, Dt.P.


Nutritional values from McDonald’s Nutrition Fact (2014)


Dominique Longpré, Dt.P.

B.Sc. in Nutrition, Université de Montréal / Nutritionist at Nautilus Plus since June 2015

Are There Healthy Choices at McDonald’s? is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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