Every Menu Item at McDonald's—Ranked
If I said you could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at McDonald’s for three months straight and lose a ton of weight, no doubt you'd laugh me out of the room.
But that's exactly what John Cisna did earlier this year. The science teacher challenged his students at Iowa's Colo-Nesco High School to think about everything they eat—showing them that, with smart choices, you could turn any establishment into a healthy one while meeting all your nutritional needs.
Call it the McDonald's Diet. Cisna, who also walked 45 minutes a day, lost 37 pounds. Talk about weight loss!
In that spirit, Eat This, Not That! embarked on the ambitious journey of ranking every single McDonald's Menu Item, so you can still enjoy MickeyD’s without the guilt. It wasn’t easy. In a normal world, you can pretty much tell which foods are good for you—fish, chicken, and salads—and which aren’t. But in McDonaldLand, a chicken sandwich can pack twice as many calories as a double hamburger, and a salad can deliver more sodium than a Big Mac.
So to help you unwrap (sorry, unMcWrap) the truth about what Ronald is serving up, and to avoid your becoming supersized, we’ve examined each and every item and ordered them by calories and nutritional content. Which favorites do you look for when you hit MickeyD’s? And to lose weight fast, don’t listen to Ronald—instead, read these 50 Best Eat This, Not That! Tips Ever!
#6 Worst Breakfast at McDonald’s
Sausage Biscuit (Regular Size Biscuit)
430 calories, 27 g fat (12 g saturated), 1,080 mg sodium, 34 g carbs, 11 g protein
Sausage McMuffin with Egg
450 calories, 28 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 860 mg sodium, 30 g carbs, 21 g protein
Imagine putting five Jimmy Dean Fully Cooked Original Pork Sausage Links between a big ol’ slab of greasy bread, and holding the whole shebang. Because that’s the saturated fat equivalent you’re getting with this Biscuit and that is no way to lose belly fat. At least the McMuffin has 10 more grams of protein (yet is still a bit high in calories).
#5 Worst Breakfast at McDonald’s
Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddles
460 calories, 21 g fat (9 g saturated), 1,250 mg sodium, 48 g carbs, 19 g protein
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
460 calories, 26 g fat (13 g saturated), 1,300 mg sodium, 38 g carbs, 19 g protein
It doesn’t matter if it’s wrapped between a pancake or a biscuit, the ooey, gooey goodness of a bacon, egg and cheese ain’t good for you. The McGriddle features more than half a day's sodium and nearly half a day's saturated fat—that’s as much saturated fat as 117 Funyuns! Meanwhile, the Biscuit has 83% of the day’s cholesterol, or as much as you’d find in 28 slices of bacon—and also more than a half day’s of sodium. You’ll need a drink after all that salt—just don’t make it a Coke. Click here for the 5 Amazing Things That Happen to Your Body When You Give Up Soda!
#4 Worst Breakfast at McDonald’s
460 calories, 19 g fat (9 g saturated), 370 mg sodium, 66 g carbs, 6 g protein
Mickey D’s calls this “the best part of a cinnamon roll” but it’s the worst thing for your waistline. You want to start each day with belly-filling protein, not a bowl full of cake topped with cream cheese icing. The Cinnamon Melts have 32 grams of sugar, far more than a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar.
#3 Worst Breakfast at McDonald’s
Sausage Biscuit with Egg
510 calories, 33 g fat (14 g saturated), 1,170 mg sodium, 36 g carbs, 18 g protein
Like the sandwiches above, these have way too much sodium (half a day’s) and almost three-quarters of your daily allowance of saturated fat. Unless you’re getting your McDonald’s sausage from a burrito, run. Looking for a breakfast that will help you lose weight? Try one of these 42 Best Breakfast Foods For Weight Loss.
#2 Worst Breakfast at McDonald’s
Hotcakes and Sausage
520 calories, 24 g fat (7 g saturated), 930 mg sodium, 61 g carbs, 15 g protein
Sugary bread and salty meat? You probably thought this would be #1. And with as many carbs as four slices of white bread, it could be, especially if you add the whipped margarine and hotcake syrup. Then you're looking at 740 calories and 106 g carbs, which is the carb equivalent of nearly seven slices of white bread. And yet there is one meal even worse coming up next. (Rather than eat either, stay home and whip up one of the quick 5-minute breakfasts among the 150+ weight-loss recipes in the Zero Belly Cookbook, based on the New York Times-bestselling Zero Belly Diet!)
AND THE #1 WORST BREAKFAST AT MCDONALD'S IS….
Steak, Egg & Cheese Bagel
670 calories, 35 g fat (13 g saturated, 1.5 trans fat) 1,510 mg sodium, 56 g carbs, 33 g protein
Like most of the sandwiches here, the Steak, Egg & Cheese Bagel has more than half a day’s fat—but more sodium than the rest. In fact, it has as much sodium as 16 Chicken McNuggets! Start your day instead with our top pick—the Egg McMuffin—and a cup of warm tea. It worked for Tracy Durst, age 45, of Lewistown, PA, when she bought our Tea Diet book. “I went from a size 20 to a size 16, and I’m alive with energy,” she told Eat This, Not That! For the complete plan—which includes delicious weight-loss smoothies—click on The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Diet and Cleanse!
of your weight, your health, and your life!
AND NOW...THE BEST!
#5 Best Breakfast at McDonald’s
Fruit ’N Yogurt Parfait
150 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated), 80 mg sodium, 30 g carbs, 4 g protein
Not really a full meal as much as a grab-and-go starter, this relatively new addition to McDonald’s menu does what it’s meant to do: offer a light and lively choice on a menu otherwise devoted to bacon and eggs. “With 4 grams of protein, it’s a good snack,” says Gina Consalvo, MA, RD, LDN, emphasis on snack. And if you’re looking to make your own at home, turbocharge your fat burn with one of these 9 Best Brand Name Yogurts for Weight Loss!
#4 Best Breakfast at McDonald’s
300 calories, 16 g fat (7 g saturated), 790 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 12 g protein
Unlike the Mexican mierda you’ll find at Taco Bell—home of the “Biscuit Taco”—McDonald’s spin on the breakfast burrito won’t have you running for the border (or the bathroom). Theirs is made with peppers, onions, eggs, sausage and cheese all wrapped in a soft tortilla, and it contains 15% of your day's calcium, which is about what you’ll find in a Greek yogurt (albeit with far more sodium).
#3 Best Breakfast at McDonald’s
Fruit and Maple Oatmeal
290 calories, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 160 mg sodium, 58 g carbs, 5 g protein
“If you feel that you’re low on energy and McDonald's is your only bet, try getting the fruit and maple oatmeal—just skip the calorie-laden brown sugar, cream, raisins and Craisins,” advises Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios. “This will most likely curb your appetite until your next meal because the carbohydrates will take longer to digest than your typical high-sugar donut or pastry.” We agree.
#2 Best Breakfast at McDonald’s
Egg White Delight McMuffin
250 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated), 770 mg sodium, 30 g carbs, 18 g protein
Made with grilled egg whites, white cheddar and extra-lean Canadian bacon on a muffin made with eight grams of whole grain, this is McDonald’s living up to its own marketing hype. It’s healthy, tastes fresh and only misses out on #1 because of a technicality. Order one. Then brush up and the Best and Worst Breakfast Sandwiches out there.
AND THE #1 BEST BREAKFAST AT MCDONALD’S IS...
300 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated), 750 mg sodium, 31 g carbs, 17 g protein
Yup, the classic. “Not only do I eat guilt-free at McDonald's,” says Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND, a Chicago area registered dietitian and nutrition communications consultant, “I think they get a bad rap all too often.” She recommends a staple Eat This, Not That! has approved for years—more so now that they’re being made with real butter, in some locations: “When I’m flying in the morning, I typically get an Egg McMuffin and a coffee,” she says. “The sandwich only has 300 calories and it offers 17 grams of satiety-providing protein.” And it beats the Egg White Delight because….? “I stick with the whole egg sandwich because the yolk contains carotenoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals,” says Palumbo. Eggs also boast choline, a potent flab-fryer, which is why eggs are one of our 14 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days!
MAIN MENU ITEMS
#10 Worst Main Item at McDonald’s
Beware the health halo. Fast food marketers use terms like “fresh salads” and “wraps” to trick you into thinking something’s healthy, when it isn’t—never truer than at McDonald’s. We count six kinds of wraps on their menu—not counting the two snack-sized portions—and can’t recommend any of them, because they all have sodium counts over 1,000 mg, which is ⅔ your daily recommended intake—with one (The McWrap Chicken & Bacon) containing over a day’s worth of salt! Health halos aren’t the only tricks marketers pull; discover the ones making you fat by clicking on these 24 Weight-Loss Myths—Busted!
#9 Worst Main Item at McDonald’s
440 calories, 22 g fat (11 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 35 g carbs, 1,050 mg sodium, 25 g protein
Most chefs would look at a bare cheeseburger and add tomato, lettuce or special sauce—maybe even an onion ring or sriracha. Instead, McDonald’s usually beefs up the meat, like here, adding another boring patty and no veggies. The result is a meal with ⅔ a day’s worth of sodium—and no flavor in return.
#8 Worst Main Item at McDonald’s
460 calories, 23 g fat (10 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 34 g carbs, 1,120 mg sodium, 28 g protein
McDonald’s promises this burger delivers “double the happiness” but all you’ll really “McDouble” is your sodium intake. There’s salt in the burger, in the cheese, in the bacon, in the ketchup and even in the pickles! Add a small fries on the side and you’ve reached your daily limit of sodium in just one meal. Speaking of eating too much salt, it’s just one of the 20 Worst Mistakes You’re Making For Weight Loss!
#7 Worst Main Item at McDonald’s
500 calories, 26 g fat (10 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 44 g carbs, 980 sodium, 22 g protein
Twitter’s favorite McSandwich is so popular, a fan launched a GPS app devoted to finding a McRib near you. We know why everyone’s addicted: The pork patty is soaked in salt, the bun is made with sugar and the McRib Sauce is all High Fructose Corn Syrup. That sweet-and-salty combo makes for an irresistibly delicious sandwich—and a terribly fattening one. (P.S. There’s no rib in the McRib. The pork is pressed in a mold, like Jell-O.)
#6 Worst Main Item at McDonald’s
Quarter Pounder with Cheese
540 calories, 28 g fat (13 g saturated, 1.5 trans fat), 42 g carbs, 1,110 mg sodium, 31 g protein
The best burgers are loaded with vitamin-packed, belly-filling veggies, but this “classic” has none, save for some pickle slices and slivered onions. Plus, you’ll find it has nearly as much sodium as the Bacon McDouble—but without the bacon. Instead, enjoy burgers—and lose weight doing it—thanks to these Best Ever Homemade Burgers for Weight Loss!
#5 Worst Main Item at McDonald’s
Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich
580 calories, 24 g fat (4.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 62 g carbs, 900 mg sodium, 29 g protein
At most fast food chains, “crispy” is code for “breaded with sugar and fried in fat.” This sandwich is proof: With more fat than three slices of Domino’s cheese pizza—and as many carbs as five slices of Wonder Bread—it plays chicken with your heart. Don’t worry, we know which burgers are the best for weight loss and keep scrolling to see how McDonald’s made their Crispy Chicken Sandwich even worse!
#4 Worst Main Item at McDonald’s
Premium Grilled Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich
610 calories, 26 g fat (8 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 50 g carbs, 1,750 mg sodium, 26 g fat
Meet the saltiest sandwich on the McDonald’s menu. Despite boasting a “healthy” grilled chicken patty, the meat’s been salted along with every other ingredient (an artisan roll, bacon, caramelized grilled onions, Big Mac sauce, cheddar cheese….). Order one, and you’ll be thirsty after two bites—just don’t grab a Coke. Click here to see What’s Really in a Can of Coke!
#3 Worst Main Item at McDonald’s
Bacon Clubhouse Burger
740 calories, 41 g fat (16 g saturated, 1.5 g trans fat), 51 g carbs, 1,480 mg sodium, 40 g protein
This is one Club that shouldn’t have you as a member: At more than half a pound, it’s a doughy roll (made with sugar) stuffed with bacon (cured in sugar), caramelized grilled onions (made with sugar), Big Mac sauce (main ingredient: sugar), and white cheddar cheese, a tomato and lettuce. Rumor has it, somewhere between all that sugar is a quarter-pound patty of beef.
#2 Worst Main Item at McDonald’s
Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese
780 calories, 45 g fat (21 g saturated, 2.5 g trans fat), 43 g carbs, 1,310 mg sodium, 50 g protein
A remnant from the days when “super-sizing” was cool, this sandwich takes a perfectly fine burger and multiplies it by two. There’s no reason to eat a half-pound of beef for lunch, unless it’s 2004 and you’re making a documentary about getting fat. By the way, sometimes, fat isn’t bad: click here to discover the essential list of the 20 Best Full-Fat Foods for Weight Loss!
AND THE #1 WORST MAIN ITEM AT MCDONALD’S IS...
Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich
790 calories, 40 g fat (11 g saturated, .5 g trans fat), 67 g carbs, 1,620 sodium, 40 g protein
Only a clown could turn chicken—one of the leanest, healthiest proteins—into the Worst Menu Item at McDonald’s. How did the Ronald manage that? It’s tempting to blame the hefty bun, an “artisan roll” made with white bread and sugar, or the bacon, a pork belly cured in salt and sugar—but the main culprit is the chicken filet. Made with fatty rib meat and then coated in three kinds of flour and two kinds of starch, and fried in vegetable oil, it’s worse for you than a McD’s beef patty. Choose the right protein and get abs fast—start with this amazing list of The 29 Best-Ever Proteins for Weight Loss!
And Now...The Best!
#11 Best Main Item at McDonald’s
440 calories, 24 g fat (9 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 34 g carbs, 770 mg sodium, 22 g protein
We’ll take “well-rounded burgers” for $1.99, Alex. The Daily Double, introduced four years ago, has become a fan favorite thanks to its low price, and it’s an Eat This, Not That! favorite because it’s a cheeseburger with vegetables (lettuce and tomato), one of the few at McDonald’s.
#10 Best Main Item at McDonald’s
390 calories, 18 g fat (8 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 34 g carbs, 850 mg sodium, 22 g protein
This tidy little protein bomb doesn’t have as much fiber as we’d like (no toppings, save for some pickles and onions), but it’s got 150 less calories than a Quarter Pounder with cheese, the menu item it most resembles—and you get more beef. Also, if cheese makes you feel bloated, you may be allergic to dairy. Click here to read about the 7 Crazy Things That Happen to Your Body When You Give Up Milk!
#9 Best Main Item at McDonald’s
300 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated, .5 g trans), 33 g carbs, 680 mg sodium, 15 g protein
The cheeseburger is a fine option for the kids (if you take them to McDonald’s only occasionally)—but the cheeseburger's tiny, and as an adult, you’ll probably want two. Do that, and suddenly you’ve downed 66 grams of carbs, more than most of the burgers on this list, with none of the veggies for fiber.
#8 Best Main Item at McDonald’s
390 calories, 19 g fat (4 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 39 g carbs, 590 sodium, 15 g protein
Nutritionally, this fish patty, topped with tartar sauce and cheese, is decent enough. We’ve just never met someone who’s actually eaten one. (Have you?) And make sure you’re eating the right fish at home; discover How Tilapia is Worse Than Bacon!
#7 Best Main Item at McDonald’s
250 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 32 g carbs, 490 sodium, 12 g protein
“Every so often, when I have a long drive and can’t pack food or snacks, McDonald’s is where I go,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD. She stands behind the original burger. “l order a kid’s meal comprised of a hamburger, small order of fries, a bottle of water and a Cuties clementine. Then you have a meal with a decent 390 calories and 13 grams of fat.”
#6 Best Main Item at McDonald’s
BBQ Ranch Burger
350 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated, .5 trans), 37 g carbs, 670 sodium, 15 g protein
This zesty treat nails a perfect calorie count, and comes topped with cheese and a BBQ ranch sauce nicely spiced by tamarind. But points off for the chili lime tortilla strips, which are made from corn, vegetable oil, salt and sugar—think sugary Fritos, with actual chili and lime too far down the ingredients list. Read more about What Diet Experts Order at McDonald’s!
#5 Best Main Item at McDonald’s
Per six piece serving: 280 calories, 18 g fat (3 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 18 g carbs, 540 mg sodium, 13 g protein
Enjoyed plain, these little guys aren’t terrible for you, although we wish that fat count were lower. (We also wish McDonald’s offered unbreaded chicken strips.) But things can get McNasty when you’re asked: “Which sauce?” The healthiest is the Spicy Buffalo, with 35 calories and 3 g fat. The absolute worst is Creamy Ranch, with 110 calories and 12 g fat—double all the other sauces, and with more fat than a Hamburger!
#4 Best Main Item at McDonald’s
370 calories, 17 g fat (3.5 g saturated, 0 g trans), 40 g carbs, 650 mg sodium, 14 g protein
Go grilled. That’s usually our philosophy at fast food joints. But since McDonald’s slathers even their barest breasts with unhealthy toppings, perhaps a better piece of advice may be: Go simple. With that in mind, the McChicken makes the Eat This list: It’s a breaded boneless chicken blend topped with lettuce and mayo—and that’s all. The carb count’s high, but for a crispy thrill without fatty fireworks, it’s the McBest option. You know who’s a fan of chicken? Insanity star Shaun T. Learn how to slim down—fast—with these 20 Weight-Loss Secrets from Insanity’s Shaun T!
#3 Best Main Item at McDonald’s
Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger
310 calories, 13 g fat (6 g saturated fat, .5 g trans), 32 g carbs, 640 mg sodium, 15 g protein
The Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger isn’t the least caloric burger on the menu—that crown goes to the plain ol’ Hamburger—but it is the least caloric pick that’s served with more than just a measly slab of beef in a bun. Best of all: It’s available for only a buck. (Just be sure to also budget for a mint.)
#2 Best Main Item at McDonald’s
Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich
360 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 43 g carbs, 960 mg sodium, 22 g protein
According to a current manager from the UK, the grilled chicken is the one item to never eat. Replying to questions asked on Reddit, the manager stated, "It's horrible frozen chicken that we defrost and steam and it's a bit gelatinous.”
Still, the worst sandwich at McDonald’s is chicken...and so is one of the very best. And it’s even better if you follow the advice of Jim White RD, ACSM HFS. “If I had to get a full meal from McDonald’s,” he says, “I'd order a grilled chicken filet, sans bun and mayonnaise dressing. Removing the bun and dressing reduces the total fat by 7.5 grams and cuts about 450 mg of sodium. To help keep me full and add some vitamins to the meal, I’d also get a side salad and top it with a fresh mandarin orange.” Still craving fried chicken? We have a fried chicken recipe perfect for weight loss.
AND THE #1 BEST MAIN ITEM AT MCDONALD’S IS...
540 calories, 28 g fat (10 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 47 g carbs, 970 mg sodium, 25 g protein
Yes, it’s true: the Big Mac is the #1 best thing to order at McDonald’s! We named it such on the cover of the first-ever Eat This, Not That! book, back in 2008, and it stars on the cover of our 2015 edition, too. (Buy it here.) Why? Well, a balanced diet means a solid mix of protein, fats and carbohydrates—and a Big Mac is relatively balanced: 25 grams of protein, 28 grams of fat, and 9 grams of sugar for 540 calories. In comparison, a Whopper has 650 calories and 3g less protein and a Five Guys Cheeseburger has 840 calories and 8 g more fat, making the Big Mac the Mac Daddy of them all. Even Heidi Klum is a Huge Fan of the Big Mac.
#5 Worst Salad at McDonald’s
Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken
310 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans), 9 g carbs, 1,120 mg sodium, 38 g protein
No matter the restaurant, “ranch” is always code for a high-fat, high-sugar, high-sodium dressing. Hold it, and save yourself a ¼ day’s worth of salt and fat. And if you’re making one at home, uses these 20 Best Salad Ingredients for Weight Loss!
#4 Worst Salad at McDonald’s
Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken
330 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 26 g carbs, 920 mg sodium, 33 g protein
Our Food Lab spotted the fattening culprit here: this chicken salad is coated in a cilantro-lime glaze, which adds 50 calories and 5 of this dish’s 9 grams of sugar! Hold the glaze, or you’ll be glazing over.
#3 Worst Salad at McDonald’s
Premium Asian Salad with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken
450 calories, 24 g fat (3.5 saturated, 0 g trans fat), 35 g carbs, 640 mg sodium, 27 g protein
Last we checked, buttermilk wasn’t a staple in Asia. We love this salad—with grilled chicken. Pair it with a cup of tea. We love tea so much, we made it part of our brand new weight-loss plan, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Diet and Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in just one week!
#2 Worst Salad at McDonald’s
Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken
490 calories, 29 g fat (8 g saturated, 0 g trans), 26 g carbs, 1,000 mg sodium, 34 g protein
“Salad” and “butter” probably shouldn’t ever be in the same sentence, unless it’s in a fancy cookbook. This is basically one of the worst sandwiches—the Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich— mixed into some lettuce, without the bun.
AND THE #1 WORST SALAD AT MCDONALD’S IS...
Premium Southwest Salad with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken
510 calories, 26 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 43 g carbs, 790 mg sodium, 28 g protein
McDonald’s will proudly tell you their crispy chicken breast filet is made with real buttermilk and no artificial colors—but they never tout that it has 150 calories more than their grilled chicken breast. Worse, if you add the Newman’s Own Ranch dressing, this salad contains nearly a day’s worth of sodium and more calories than a McRib with fries! For more shocking calorie bombs you’re probably eating, click here for the 20 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet!
And now...the best
#4 Best Salad at McDonald’s
Premium Asian Salad
140 calories, 7 g fat (.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 13 g carbs, 20 mg sodium, 7 g protein
Vegetarians who’ve wandered into a McDonald’s will find this the only option they can eat, and lucky them: It’s filled with only good things like romaine, baby spinach, kale, mandarin oranges, red bell peppers and snow peas—plus almonds and edamame for a bit of protein. (Too little protein, unfortunately, for a main meal—if this is your dinner, you’re better off with a Sofritas bowl at Chipotle.)
#3 Best Salad at McDonald’s
Premium Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken
270 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 18 g carbs, 760 mg sodium, 32 g protein
This winner has all the ingredients and benefits of our #4 pick—but with 25 more grams of protein, thanks to the sliced grilled chicken breast filet on top. Speaking of protein, before mixing your next smoothie, read this list of The Best Protein Powder for Every Goal!
#2 Best Salad at McDonald’s
Premium Bacon Ranch Salad
190 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated, 0 g trans), 8 g carbs, 530 mg sodium, 14 g protein
A perfect meal has an equal balance of fiber and sugar. This salad has 3 g of fiber and 3 g of sugar—plus a belly-filling 14 grams of protein, for less calories than almost all other entrees on this menu.
AND THE #1 BEST SALAD AT MCDONALD’S IS...
Premium Southwest Salad
160 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 18 g carbs, 190 mg sodium, 8 g protein
We’re lovin’ the ingredients here: romaine lettuce, baby spinach and kale topped with veggies like black beans, corn, oven-roasted tomatoes and poblano peppers, plus cheddar and jack cheeses. Add Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette, which adds only 40 calories, and skip the Ranch, which adds 200—more than this entire salad! If you’re always eating on the go, check out these other 10 Best Fast-Food Salads for Weight Loss!
Desserts and Shakes
#7 Worst Sweet at McDonald’s
Hot Fudge Sundae
330 calories, 9 g fat (7 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 53 g carbs, 48 g sugar, 170 mg sodium, 8 g protein
We have a problem with McDonald’s ice cream base, which starts off nutritious (milk, sugar, cream) and ends in a chemistry lab (artificial vanilla flavor, carrageenan, disodium phosphate). The fudge is no better, made mostly of artery-clogging palm kernel oil. For purer chocolate, read this list of essential Best Chocolates for Weight Loss!
#6 Worst Sweet at McDonald’s
Hot Caramel Sundae
340 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 60 g carbs, 43 g sugar, 150 mg sodium, 7 g protein
This sundae pours caramel-flavored corn syrup over corn syrupy ice cream—but forgets the actual caramel!
#5 Worst Sweet at McDonald’s
McCafé Vanilla Shake and McCafé Shamrock Shake
Per 12 fl oz: 530 calories, 15 g fat (10 g saturated), 86 g carbs, 63 g sugar, 160 mg sodium, 11 g protein
Don’t let nostalgia for these childhood favorites blind you from the cold, smooth facts: McDonald’s shakes are blended from vanilla reduced fat ice cream (made with corn syrup solids), shake syrup (main ingredient: corn syrup), and topped with whipped cream and a Maraschino cherry (made with two kids of corn syrup each). Shake it off! (And if you think that’s bad, click here to see The Worst Milkshakes in America—including one at a chain you love with nearly 1,600 calories!)
#4 Worst Sweet at McDonald’s
McFlurry with Oreo Cookies
Per 12 fl oz: 520 calories, 17 g fat (9 g saturated, .5 trans fat), 80 g carbs, 64 g sugar, 260 mg sodium, 12 g protein
Eat This, Not That! has named Oreos one of the world’s most dangerous foods, because, in one study, rats found them as addictive as cocaine. Crumble some into some soft serve ice cream—made from corn syrup—and no wonder your kids are fighting on the car ride home.
#3 Worst Sweet at McDonald’s
McCafé Strawberry Shake
Per 12 fl oz: 550 calories, 16 g fat (10 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 90 g carbs, 79 g sugar, 160 mg sodium, 12 g protein
This is another big cup of corn syrup, except with 20 more calories than Vanilla, and the artificial color Red 40, which has been shown to make children hyperactive.
#2 Worst Sweet at McDonald’s
McCafé Chocolate Shake
Per 12 fl oz: 560 calories, 16 g fat (10 g saturated, 1 g trans fat), 91 g carbs, 77 g sugar, 240 mg sodium, 12 g protein
The is the worst shake at McDonald’s, with the most calories and carbs. In comparison, a small Frosty at Wendy’s has just 340 calories.
AND THE #1 WORST SWEET AT MCDONALD’S IS...
McFlurry with M&M’s
Per 12 fl oz: 650 calories, 23 g fat (14 g saturated, .5 trans fat), 96 g carbs, 89 g sugar, 180 mg sodium, 13 g protein
Whipped together, this mix-in dessert will whip you into a sugar-fueled frenzy, with more of the sweet stuff than 7 McDonald’s Apple Pies! Instead, satisfy your sweet tooth with these 50 Best Snacks for Weight Loss!
And Now...the Best!
#4 Best Sweet at McDonald’s
280 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated), 49 g carbs, 45 g sugar, 85 mg sodium, 6 g protein
If you’re going to have a bowl of corn syrup at McDonald’s, at least make it this one, which has 60 less calories than the caramel sundae.
#3 Best Sweet at McDonald’s
Strawberry & Creme Pie
310 calories, 17 g fat (9 g saturated), 36 g carbs, 15 g sugar, 180 mg sodium, 4 g protein
Although the kid in us misses the tongue-scorching Cherry Pie, this replacement is even better, because it’s stuffed with real cream cheese, adding a few important grams of protein.
#2 Best Sweet at McDonald’s (tie)
170 calories, 4.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 27 g carbs, 20 g sugar, 70 mg sodium, 5 g protein
Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie
160 calories, 8 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 21 g carbs, 15 g sugar, 90 mg sodium, 2 g protein
Soft Baked Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
150 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 22 g carbs, 13 g sugar, 135 mg sodium, 2 g protein
Simple pleasures, simple math: The vanilla cone, the chocolate chip cookie and the oatmeal raisin cookie are each under 170 calories and under 20 g sugar. Even better: go home and savor these 10 Best Brand-Name Ice Creams for Weight Loss.
AND THE #1 BEST SWEET AT MCDONALD’S IS...
Baked Apple Pie
250 calories, 13 g fat (7 g saturated), 32 g carbs, 13 g sugar, 170 mg sodium, 2 g protein
With a low sugar count, we champion this classic dessert, topped with an all-natural sugar and cinnamon blend. Just blow on it first!
AND FINALLY...THE FRIES!
World Famous Fries
Per medium: 340 calories, 16 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 44 g carbs, 190 mg sodium, 4 g protein
For a side dish, our Eat This, Not That! panel of nutritionists of course recommend the apple slices or mandarin oranges—but if you want a side of fries, go for it once in a while, as long as you pair them with our Best Burgers and Sandwiches (see above) for protein. Just don’t add salt!
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