What do Ronald McDonald and dietitians have in common? They’re “lovin’ it”—the Golden Arches menu that is. Before you call our bluff, hear us out: Not only is this true, we’ve got proof—in the form of eight diet experts’ go-to picks.
Bear in mind that most of our experts said that dining at the fast food joint was only a “sometimes” occurrence, but either way, their RD-sanctioned picks are sure to come in handy next time you can’t kick a fast food craving or find yourself with no where else to eat. Although they don't exactly qualify as the best weight loss foods in the world, you have our word that none of the meals below will drown your hard-earned results in a pile of fry grease. And for the best top swaps at MickeyDs, be sure to buy our new Eat This, Not That! 2015 book!
If You’re Looking for a Protein-Packed Breakfast
“Not only do I eat guilt-free at McDonald's, I think they get a bad rap all too often. When I’m flying in the morning, I typically get an Egg McMuffin and a coffee. The sandwich only has 300 calories and it offers 17 grams of satiety-providing protein. Instead of the egg white version, I stick with the whole egg sandwich because the yolk contains carotenoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.” – Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND, a Chicago area registered dietitian and nutrition communications consultant
Like what you hear? We checked in with a crack team of diet pros to get you even more delicious advice. Click here to get healthy and happy with Top Diet Experts' #1 Weight Loss Tips.
If You’re Looking for a Protein-Packed Lunch
“Every so often when I have a long drive and can’t pack food or snacks, McDonald’s is where I go. l order a kid’s meal comprised of a hamburger, small order of fries, a bottle of water and a Cuties clementine. This meal has 390 calories and 13 grams of fat.” – Toby Amidor, MS, RD nutrition expert and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day
This is worth repeating: You don't need to strike burgers from your meal plan if you're trying to slim down. To have the best of both worlds, indulge in The Best Burgers for Weight Loss.
If You’re Looking for the Leanest Protein
“I turn to the indulgent-sounding, but not overly heavy Premium Grilled Chicken Ranch BLT Sandwich. As long as you avoid the Crispy version–which adds an unnecessary 160 calories and 13 grams of fat–the super-low calorie count of the chicken breast lets you enjoy some splurge-worthy toppings like bacon.” – Dave Zinczenko, Creator of the Zero Belly Diet
“If I had to get a full meal from McDonald’s, 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.” – Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, Owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios
If You Want to Stick With a Salad
“It’s no surprise that a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist might order a side salad with grilled chicken from McDonald’s, but the dish is a good source of protein and iron, which will help you feel fuller, longer. Topping the greens with with Low-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette or Family Recipe Italian Dressing makes for a delicious meal that comes in between 290 and 460 calories.” – Libby Mills, MS, RDN, LDN, Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
“I'd skip the soft drinks and opt for Dasani water and then I'd have the Premium Southwest Salad with grilled—not crispy—chicken. I like that the beans and corn in the salad offer up some fiber. To lighten it up a bit, I'd have them hold the cheese and tortilla strips and use only half of the dressing. Then I might have a Vanilla Reduced Fat Kids cone, just enough to tame the craving for something sweet!” – Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, founder of Real Nutrition NYC
“The Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken is a good source of fiber, which can boost satiety and aid digestion. Add a bit of vinaigrette dressing for some flavor and wash it down with some water.” – Lauren Minchen MPH, RDN, CDN, a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist based in New York City
If You’re Looking for an Energizing Snack
“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. This snack 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.” – Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, Owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios
If You’re Looking for a Light Dinner
“If I’m in need of a quick light dinner, I might order a premium McWrap Southwest Grilled Chicken. After a quick dietitian's makeover of removing the tortilla strips, cheese and ranch sauce, this wrap only contains 380 calories while serving up a whopping 27 grams of muscle-building protein and 4 grams of appetite-suppressing fiber. Finish it off with a side of apple slices to make for a well-balanced meal that will make you sing ‘I’m lovin’ it!’” – Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group
Learning where you can grab low-cal, high-protein snacks on the run will make your weight loss journey even easier. And keep your waistline toned and tight—in record time—with these essential 10 Best Foods for Rapid Weight Loss.
If You’re Craving Something Sweet
“The Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait has 150 calories and 4 grams of protein, making it a good snack.” – Gina Consalvo, MA, RD, LDN, Pennsylvania-based owner of Eat Well with Gina