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What a Dietitian Orders at McDonald's To Stay Healthy

There are absolutely better-for-you options at McDonald's that this dietitian enjoys herself!
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

While McDonald's isn't my first fast food choice as a dietitian, it's one I seem to find myself at more than others. One reason? I live in a small town without a lot of fast food options. The more important reason? My two kids are Happy Meal fanatics, and I occasionally give in to their (constant) requests to eat there. Thankfully there are a few options on the menu that I feel good about eating from a nutritional standpoint and find satisfying to eat.

As a dietitian, one key tenet of my nutrition philosophy is that any food is better than no food, which is why you'll find me writing a lot about healthy fast food options. In the world we live in, many of us are incredibly busy and it's more than likely you'll find yourself out and about and hungry. And I'll be honest, at the end of a long day, when I'm exhausted, and my decision-making skills are tapped out, the golden arches start looking pretty good. So, while I don't recommend eating McDonald's every day, it can absolutely be a part of an overall healthy diet.

So here it is, exactly what you'll find me, a registered dietitian, ordering at McDonald's.

Egg McMuffin

mcdonalds egg mcmuffin
Nutrition (Per muffin):
Calories: 310
Fat: 13 g (Saturated fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 770 mg
Carbs: 30 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 2 g)
Protein: 17 g

The Egg McMuffin is a solid breakfast choice that feels good to eat and is filling and satisfying. This is similar to a breakfast I would make at home, with just an English muffin, egg, cheese, and slice of Canadian bacon. It's relatively low in sodium, with just 33% of the recommended daily value (DV), has 17 grams of filling protein, and even offers 3 grams of fiber.

By choosing the Canadian bacon over sausage, I'm saving 4 grams of saturated fat and a lot of greasiness, which doesn't always sit well on my stomach.

 10 Best McDonald's Breakfast Orders for Weight Loss

McCrispy Chicken Sandwich

McDonald's McCrispy Chicken Sandwich
Nutrition (Per sandwich):
Calories: 470
Fat: 20 g (Saturated fat: 5 g)
Sodium: 1,140 mg
Carbs: 46 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 9 g)
Protein: 26 g

For lunch or dinner, the McCrispy Chicken Sandwich wins every time. I love the simple flavor combination of a fried chicken patty and pickles. Nutritionally, it has enough protein and calories to keep me full for several hours and has just 5 grams or 27% DV of saturated fat, which is pretty impressive for a fried sandwich.

The only thing I don't love about this order from a nutrition standpoint is that one sandwich has 50% of the recommended sodium limit. As someone who is pretty active and often needs to use hydration drinks after workouts anyhow, I feel okay eating a meal with this much sodium. However, if someone wants to limit their sodium intake, I would recommend eating this order sparingly and being extra aware of the sodium in other meals throughout the day.

 8 Healthiest Fast-Food Chicken Sandwiches, According to an RD

Vanilla Cone

mcdonalds soft serv e cone
Nutrition (Per cone):
Calories: 200
Fat: 5 g (Saturated fat: 3 g)
Sodium: 80 mg
Carbs: 33 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 23 g)
Protein: 5 g

As someone with a self-diagnosed sweet tooth, I love how simple and satisfying the vanilla soft-serve ice cream cone at McDonald's is. It's just enough to satisfy a sweet craving without adding unnecessary calories, added sugars, or saturated fat.

Kelsey Kunik, RDN
Kelsey Kunik is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, nutrition consultant, and sustainable food blogger. Read more about Kelsey