McDonald's Nutrition Facts: Menu Choices & Calories

Best and Worst Health Choices at McDonald's

Egg McMuffin
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Convenient food doesn't have to ruin your diet. You can eat healthy McDonald's fast food meals under 500 calories if you know how to navigate the menu. Use this guide to find out which are the most healthy McDonald's food items to choose, which foods to avoid, and how to combine different menu items so you can enjoy a a low-calorie McDonald's meal without suffering dieter's remorse.

Analyzing the McDonald's Menu

McDonald's and many other fast food restaurants post calorie counts for each of their food products.

But if you are in the drive-thru lane you might not have time to grab your calculator and do the math. So be safe and stick to sandwiches that include grilled meat or chicken to keep the calorie count low. You'll also boost your daily protein intake with those choices. 

It's also a good idea to skip the French fries and choose fruit instead. If you want to indulge, get a small size of fries and choose a smaller sandwich. And your best bet for saving calories? Skip the soda! Get water and add lemon to make the water taste better.

And the best way to stay healthy at McDonald's is to order a la carte. That means you bypass the popular Value Meals and only order the menu items that you love. That way you don't waste calories on foods you don't need.

Most Popular McDonald's Food

Big Mac Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 burger
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 540 
Calories from Fat 252 
Total Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 10g50%
Cholesterol 80mg27%
Sodium 960mg40%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Dietary Fiber 4g16%
Sugars 9g 
Protein 25g 
Vitamin A 10% · Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 25% · Iron 25%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

While you might imagine that burgers rule at McDonald's, French fries and chicken sandwiches are also very popular. Even breakfast items rank very high on the McDonald's must-have list. These are calorie counts for some of the most popular items.

  • A 4-piece order of Chicken McNuggets provides 180 calories, 11 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein and 11 grams of carbohydrate.
  • An Egg McMuffin provides 290 calories, 12 grams of fat, 17 grams of protein and 29 grams of carbohydrate.
  • A McChicken sandwich provides 350 calories, 15 grams of fat, 14 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrate.
  • One Quarter Pounder with Cheese provides 540 calories, 27 grams of fat, 31 grams of protein and 42 grams of carbohydrate.
  • A Filet-O-Fish sandwich provides 390 calories, 19 grams of fat, 17 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrate.
  • A Cheeseburger provides 300 calories, 12 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein and 33 grams of carbohydrate.

If you choose to enjoy your meal with one of McDonald's popular sweetened drinks, you'll have to add more calories. A large McDonald's Sweet Tea contains 160 calories and a large Coca-Cola contains 300 calories.

Healthiest Options on the McDonald's Menu

So is there anything healthy on the McDonald's menu? There are some items that are lower in calories. Depending on the meal you choose to enjoy, there are several different ways to enjoy a full meal for under 500 calories.

McDonald's Breakfast Under 500 Calories
There are some items you should avoid if you are watching your waistline.  The Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle provides 550 calories.  And the Bacon Egg & Cheese McGriddle doesn't fare much better at 420 calories.  These items, however, should keep you satisfied and won't ruin your daily calorie count.

  • Fruit & Maple Oatmeal: 310 calories
  • Apple Slices: 15 calories
  • Coffee: 0 calories (no cream or sugar)
  • Lowfat Milk: 100 calories
    Total: 425 calories
     
  • Fruit and Yogurt Parfait: 150 calories
  • Iced Latte: 60 calories (medium with nonfat milk)
  • Hash Browns: 150 calories
    Total 360 calories
     
  • Egg McMuffin: 290 calories
  • Hash Browns: 150 calories
  • Black coffee: 0 calories
    Total: 440 calories

Low-Calorie McDonald's Lunch or Dinner
Most dieters will visit McDonald's for their popular lunch or dinner burgers and fries. So can you enjoy these popular favorites and still keep your weight loss program on track? Yes! Just stay away from the super-sized items and high-fat condiments like mayonnaise and cheese.

  • Milk: 100 calories (1% low fat)
  • Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad (no cheese or tortilla strips): 260 calories
  • Fruities (Mandarain orange): 35 calories
    Total: 395 calories
     
  • Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich: 380 calories
  • Side Salad: (no dressing) 20 calories
  • Water: 0 calories
    Total: 400 calories
     
  • Hamburger: 250 calories
  • Kids Fries: 110 Calories
  • Small Diet Soda
    Total: 360 calories
     
  • Cheeseburger: 300 calories
  • Side Salad: 20 calories
  • Newman's Own Low Fat Dressing : 80 calories
  • Water
    Total: 400 calories
     
  • Hamburger: 250 calories
  • Small fries: 230 calories
  • Water
    Total 480 calories

Unhealthiest Food on the McDonald's Menu

So which items should you avoid to stay healthy at McDonald's? As you might expect, the fries won't do wonders for your diet. An order of large French Fries contains 510 calories 24 grams of fat and 66 grams of carbohydrate. And you might also want to avoid the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese which will add 780 calories and 45 grams of fat to your daily total. 

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