Making The Most Out Of A Visit To McDonald's: The Good, Bad & Ugly!

Possibly the most well-known fast food establishment, McDonald's has been known for it's less than healthy fare. New changes are bringing about healthier options. Let's dig a little deeper to make your selection easier.

Article Summary:
  • Some locations will cook your food with just egg whites if requested.
  • A plain hamburger isn't the best lunch, but you could do worse.
  • If ordering a salad with chicken, choose grilled over crispy.
  • Possibly the most well-known fast food establishment around the globe, McDonald's has been known for it's less than healthy fare. New changes to the menu are bringing about healthier options for those watching their health, but a little knowledge about the menu will also help you make the smartest decision when it comes to creating a meal that fits within the overall structure of your diet plan.

    McDonald's Is Possibly The Most Well-Known Fast Food Establishment Around The Globe.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    McDonald's Is Possibly The Most Well-Known
    Fast Food Establishment Around The Globe.

    Let's dig a little deeper through the menu to make your selection easier.

    Breakfast At McDonald's

    If you're in need of a fast meal to start your day, McDonald's will cater. Some of the items on their breakfast menu can easily put you over your calorie budget for the day (their Deluxe Breakfast without syrup and margarine contains 1150 calories - hate to factor in what it would be with butter and syrup), so it's vital you're choosing wisely.

    If you make a smart decision, you can get away with a lighter breakfast that won't have you sleeping your way through your mid-morning meeting.

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    The Good

      Your best choice in terms of overall calorie intake, number of fat grams, and protein content will be the Egg McMuffin. It contains 300 calories, 12 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs, and 18 grams of protein, making it actually a pretty decent meal choice.

      If you really want to try and lighten it further, order a plain English Muffin (160 calories, 3 grams of fat) and then add on scrambled eggs but ask if they can make it using only egg whites. They may or may not do this depending on the location. If they won't, then this will be about the same total calories as the classic Egg McMuffin, so you might as well just go with that choice.

      Ask If They Can Make It Using Only Egg Whites.
      + Click To Enlarge.
      Ask If They Can Make It
      Using Only Egg Whites.

      The Sausage Burrito is another lighter option on the menu, which contains 300 calories, 16 grams of fat, 26 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of protein. It's not quite as well balanced as the Egg McMuffin, but won't completely destroy your diet.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Egg McMuffin 300 12 30 18
    English Muffin 160 3 27 5
    Sausage Burrito 300 16 26 12

    The Bad

      Less wise decisions for the breakfast meal at McDonald's include any of their Sausage Biscuit meals with all of them ranking in at over 450 calories and 27 grams of fat or more.

    Diet McDonald's?
    [ Click To Join The Thread. ]
    Diet McDonald's?
    A friend of mine's father is a chemical engineer working in the artificial flavoring industry. He said with the technology at hand today, we're not too far off from having "diet" cheeseburgers and fries, synthesized from all artificial ingredients, analogous with diet sodas.
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      A plain biscuit or a regular order of hotcakes are not bad options calorie wise, but they are very low in protein so don't really make for a complete meal.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Sausage Biscuit 480 31 30 11
    Plain Biscuit 260 12 33 5
    Hot Cakes 350 9 60 8

    The Ugly

      The items that you will definitely want to stay away from at all costs include the 'Big or Deluxe' breakfast meals. These will cost you 750 or more calories each and over 50 grams of fat per meal. Stay away unless you have a job where you can wear stretchy pants to work.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Big Breakfast 800 52 56 28
    Deluxe Breakfast 1150 60 116 36


    Next we move onto their sandwiches. Almost all of us have craved a cheeseburger at one point or another, but how much will these set you back?

    Almost All Of Us Have Craved A Cheeseburger At One Point Or Another.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Almost All Of Us Have Craved A
    Cheeseburger At One Point Or Another.

    The Good

      Your best bet here will be a plain hamburger, which offers up 250 calories, 9 grams of fat, 31 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of protein. Not a winner lunch, but you could do worse.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Hamburger 250 9 31 12

    The Bad

      If you can accommodate a higher calorie intake and are looking for more protein, your next best bet will be a Quarter Pounder without cheese (with cheese increases calories by 100 and adds 7 grams of fat). It will contain 410 calories, 19 grams of fat, 37 grams of carbs, and 24 grams of protein.

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    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Quarter Pounder Without Cheese 410 19 37 24

    The Ugly

      On the ugly side of things, even worse than the 'Big Mac', is the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. It has 740 calories, a whopping 42 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 48 grams of protein. Even the hungriest person doesn't need that much fat in a single meal.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese 740 42 40 48


    With everyone growing more health conscious, more fast food chains are introducing salads to their menu and McDonald's is no different. Choosing a light salad dressing or forgoing the dressing altogether will make the greatest difference with the calorie intakes so that's the first thing to keep in mind at all times.

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    After that, generally the salads will be created fairly equally, the main thing to remember is you're better off choosing one that's made with grilled chicken rather than crispy chicken or one that has no protein sources at all (since this will be a very lacking meal nutritionally speaking).

    Most of the grilled chicken salads on the menu range from 220 to 320 calories, 9 grams of fat, 12-30 grams of carbohydrates, and contain around 30 grams of protein (values given without dressing).

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken 320 9 30 30
    Premium Southwest Salad with Crispy Chicken 430 20 38 26
    Premium Caesar With Grilled Chicken 220 6 12 30
    Premium Caesar With Crispy Chicken 330 17 20 26


    Finally we come to desserts - everyone's favourite. If you do venture over to this side of the menu, you can make some smarter choices than others, but realize that typically speaking, if you're looking for maximum fat loss none of these will be an ideal option.

    How Often Do You Eat At McDonald's?

    At Least Once A Day.
    At Least Once A Week.
    Once Every Couple Of Weeks.
    Once every Couple Of Months.

    The choice on the menu that most people will likely look at and think is healthiest is the Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait. While this menu item definitely won't tally up the same calorie count as their McFlurry (which comes in at 550 calories, 17 grams of fat, 88 grams of carbs, and 13 grams of protein), it still does contain 21 grams of sugar, which can cause issues. You'll only take in 160 calories (130 if you forgo the granola), but from an optimal health standpoint, it's still too high in sugar to really be considered a good choice.

    In fact, if you choose to order their vanilla cone, you'd take in fewer calories and sugar grams than you will with the parfait. If it's just a small ice cream craving you're fighting, order a kiddie cone for maximum portion size control. This will only contain 45 calories and one gram of fat - hardly a dent in any fat loss diet.

    For A Small Ice Cream Craving, Order A Kiddie Cone For Maximum Portion Size Control.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    For A Small Ice Cream
    Craving, Order A Kiddie Cone.

    Item Calories Fats Carbs Protein
    Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait 160 2 31 4
    Vanilla Cone 150 3.5 24 4
    McFlurry 620 20 96 14
    Kiddie Cone 45 1 8 1


    So, next time you're in a hurry and are making a trip to McDonald's, keep these points in mind. Choosing wisely will definitely make a difference in the results you get, so it's worth your time and effort.

      Check Out McDonald's Complete Nutritional Details Here.

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    • rep this user

    Another choice at McDonald's is is the #13 Grilled Chicken Club sandwich. 510 calories and I skip the Fries and have diet soda or water. adding the fries and regular soda with super sizing it triples the calories or more. just my two cents worth

    Sep 21, 2013 3:08pm | report
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