“Healthier” Fast Food Series: McDonald’s

Not everyone can spend money to buy organic foods or even fresh produce. If you can’t cook, you think you’re doomed to buy those pre-packaged “diets” or eating out. It’s not true that you absolutely cannot lose weight if you eat fast food. You just need to be smarter about your choices and the portion size. I don’t recommend that you eat fast food everyday, I’m just saying that when you do go and you want to be healthy, here’s my best suggestions.

Everyone recognizes the golden arches of McDonald’s and I’m sure you’ve heard about all the heat they’ve been taking for making America “fat” a la lawsuits and Super Size Me.

Here are some healthier options for those who cannot avoid the Micky D’s. The portion size is one serving…so unless you’re a big eater, you can double up, but keep everything in moderation!

  • Breakfast: The English Muffin or the Egg McMuffin
    • An Egg McMuffin is a great start to your day with some carbs and some protein. Add some pepper to spice it up but don’t add cheese or additional sauces as it adds calories and more importantly, sodium.
  • Sandwich: The Hamburger
    • The healthiest sandwich is the plain old hamburger. Skip the cheese, the Big Mac sauce, and the other condiments and it’s the best thing you can have at this establishment.
    • You’d think it’d be the grilled chicken, but unless you cut that sandwich in half and and take out the mayo, it’s not as great as you’d think.
  • French Fries: The Small Fries or the Kid’s Size Fries
    • You can’t be at McDonald’s and not have fries, right? Well, as long as you brush off as much salt off of it, add some pepper, and go really easy on the ketchup in a small…it’s ok. As long as you don’t mind that they’ve been fried in oil.

Read on for more food options!

  • Chicken: Chicken Nuggets (4 piece) or Grilled Chicken Sandwich
    • Personally, I don’t like their chicken menu items even if it’s grilled. But if you must, have the 4 piece chicken nuggets, take off the “crust” and eat it plain. If you can’t stomach that, have some honey but avoid the other sauces.
    • For the grilled chicken sandwiches, take out the mayo/condiments.
  • Salad: Side Salad, Fruit & Walnut Salad, or Caesar Salad without Grilled Chicken
    • When it comes to salad, I’m especially wary of fillers and hidden fats. If you can stomach the salad without dressing, that’s great. But if not, lower your intake of dressing and aim for a vinaigrette. Adding grilled chicken isn’t a bad thing if you need the extra protein.
    • If there’s cheese in the salad, you can have a few, but it’s better to leave it out.
  • Desserts/Shakes: Apple Dippers and the Kiddie Cone
    • Plain apples are healthy but once you dip it in caramel sauce, it’s not. A Kiddie cone is great since it’s frozen yogurt, nuts are optional but don’t add sweet sauces.
  • Drinks: Water, Tea, Iced Tea, Milk, Coffee
    • It’s pretty standard, but don’t have too much sugar and cream. If anything add them yourself instead of ordering pre-sweetened versions.
    • By the way, chocolate milk is a great post-workout drink.

So there you have it, healthier options at McDonald’s. Don’t trust me, check it out for yourself at McDonald’s nutrition menu and you’ll see what I mean.

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