Think you can’t make a healthy choice under the Golden Arches? Think again. We spoke to nutritionist Lily Soutter to pick apart the menu and play Ronald McDonald at his own greasy game.
Hamburger (250 calories, 8.3g fat)
Who’d have thought it?! With no addition of fatty cheese, this is actually a decent meal — “the beef patty is made of 100% pure beef, with no additives, fillers, binders, preservatives or flavor enhancers,” Soutter explains. “This burger only provides 250 calories, which is extremely low as burgers go, and has healthy toppings such as onions and pickles.”
Grilled chicken salad (133 calories, 3.7g fat)
Okay, so it’s not the lowest cal item on the salads list, (that’ll be the shaker salad at a mere 18 calories) but it’s got a much bigger protein hit that’ll fill you up for longer, and you can still afford to have a McFlurry or fries on the side. Both the dressings have less than 30 calories and 1g fat, so drizzle as much as you dare — or, Soutter suggests, dress it yourself with oil and lemon.
Carrot sticks (34 calories, 0.2g fat)
We know, it’s obvious, but it’s really worth thinking about switching your fries for these guys — one bag provides you with plenty of fiber and beta-carotene for eye health and immunity. You could even splash out and add them to the leaves, cucumber and tomatoes of the shaker salad for a vitamin-packed, super low calorie side.
Chicken nuggets (259 calories, 13g fat)
They have none of the refined white carbs you’d get with the bread from a burger, and pack 16g protein per portion. With some vegetable or salad, they’re definitely not the worst choice you could make. Even with a small bag of fries your meal still comes in at under 500 calories — just watch the dipping sauces…
Ketchup (22 calories, 0.1g fat)
Some of the sauces in McDonalds have astronomical levels of sugar and fat, and many can add at least 100 calories to your meal without you even realizing. Ketchup isn’t going to make you glow like a health food blogger, but it comes in a portion controlled 17g packet, is comparably low in sugar, and still gives you that tangy flavor.
Apple & Grape Fruit Bag (46 calories, 0.1g fat)
Is it an ice cream sundae? No, but with 10g sugar per teeny plastic pouch, it should be satisfying enough to tide you over until you can get your hands on something more substantial. Or you could go for a…
Apple pie (250 calories, 14g fat)
Soutter opts for this as it’s is one of the lower calorie desserts, providing only 250 calories per serving, and also has the lowest sugar content with just 11g — plus, it’s prepared in the restaurants using non hydrogenated-vegetable oils. It’s even got 1.4g of fibre per serving, which is pretty rich compared to the other options — so if you must have a dessert, skip the McFlurry and give a pie a try.