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How to Eat Healthy at: McDonald’s

by | Jul 15, 2015 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022

We know fast food isn’t the greatest but whether it’s convenience, price, or you’re just cravin’ some nuggets, sometimes we can’t avoid the golden arches (or insert-your-favorite-restaurant-here). Don’t fret because we’ve got you covered. Each week we’ll spotlight one fast food joint and tell you what to eat — and what to avoid. This week’s choice? McDonald’s.
McDonald’s is the reigning fast food king with their (now defunct) supersizing, dollar menu, and extra value meals. It may seem near impossible to eat healthy at this fast food mecca, but fear not because we’re here to show you the healthy way.
If you’re still overwhelmed by all of the choices at a fast food restaurant, use your Noom food tracker to help you out. Every food in our database is labeled green, yellow, or red. Red foods are the most calorie dense, meaning they have the most calories per weight of food. Green foods are the opposite — you can eat a lot of green foods for a small amount of calories. And yellow foods fall somewhere in the middle. If a food is red, only have one serving, as eating a lot of red foods can cause you to go over-budget. (But keep in mind, red foods are not off-limits! They should just be eaten in moderation.) To fill you up, add plenty of green foods to your meal like apple slices, a side salad (with low-calorie dressing), or veggies.
What to eat:
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
There are a few loose guidelines that you can follow to always make the healthiest choices in a pinch. Choose white meat over red, grilled over fried, and skip the oily sides. A grilled chicken sandwich is always a safe bet and this one is no different. It has 360 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 32 grams of protein, which should keep your stomach from grumbling before dinnertime.
Premium McWrap Sweet Chili Chicken (Grilled)
This wrap features grilled chicken and a sweet chili sauce that should hit the spot if you’re craving some flavor. With 400 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 31 grams of protein, this wrap is a safe bet for your lunchtime meal. Pair with apple slices, a side salad, or a Go-Gurt if you’re in the mood for something sweet.
Double Cheeseburger
Whether you ended up at McDonald’s as a last resort or you just can’t get a burger out of your head, if you’re going to indulge and go for something more traditional, this is one of your best choices. This cheeseburger has protein-filled double patties which will keep you fuller than the petite single cheeseburger (although, if you aren’t particularly famished, the single cheeseburger is 290 calories and 11 grams of fat which is a healthier choice). Clocking in at 430 calories, this burger does have a pretty high 21 grams of fat (the recommended amount normally falls somewhere between 33 and 97 grams for a 1500 and 2500 calorie diet, respectively). Choose a low-fat side like apple slices or side-salad with low-fat dressing.
What to avoid:
McDonald’s unfortunately has a rather long avoid list, so below we’ve listed the worst offenders. In general, watch out for anything that’s ‘doubled’ (think extra buns or patties), has lots of additives (like bacon, cheese, or dressing), is fried, or is in someway supersized. Also beware of McDonald’s wraps. While these might seem like a healthy alternative to burgers and fries, most clock in at over 500 calories.
Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese
Calories: 740
Fat: 42 g
Saturated fat: 19 g
Trans fat:2.5 g
Carbs: 43 g
Bacon Clubhouse Burger
Calories: 720
Fat: 38 g
Saturated fat: 15 g
Trans fat: 1.5 g
Carbs: 52 g
Premium Crispy Chicken Bacon Clubhouse
Calories: 750
Fat: 38 g
Saturated fat: 10 g
Trans fat: 0.5 g
Carbs: 65 g
Premium McWrap Chicken and Bacon (crispy)
Calories: 640
Fat: 32 g
Saturated fat: 9 g
Trans fat: 0.5 g
Carbs: 56 g
Large Chocolate Shake
Calories: 850
Fat: 23 g
Saturated fat: 15 g
Trans fat: 1 g
Carbs: 141 g