Filet-o-Fish, Double Quarter Pounder, Big Mac. The best and worst things you can order from McDonald’s, nutrition-wise, according to our resident dietitian Melissa Meier.
Whether you go once a week, once a month or once a decade, we’ve all been on a Maccas run. If you’re on the latter end of that spectrum, I’d say dig in and enjoy whatever takes your fancy – it’s really no big deal and won’t have any significant impact on your diet. If you find yourself under the golden arches a little more regularly, however, it’ll pay to make a sensible decision with your health in mind.
Before we dive in, let me set the record straight: this is by no means an endorsement for McDonald’s having a routine place in your diet. It’s simply a lesson in enlightenment for the next time you find yourself in one of their almost 1,000 restaurants across Australia – which we all know is bound to happen eventually.
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My criteria for a healthier Mcdonald’s meal look like this: less than 2000 kilojoules, less than five grams of saturated fat and under 600 milligrams of sodium per serve. To land a spot in the bottom five, I simply looked for menu items with the highest amounts of kilojoules, saturated fat and sodium.
Why? Kilojoules is pretty obvious – the more there are, the more overboard the meal is. Saturated fat and sodium are particularly bad for heart health, and if I’m honest, I was shocked by some of the numbers that came up for these nutrients of some Mcdonald’s menu items.
In fact, one option exceeded the recommended daily maximum intake of saturated fat in a single burger (I’m looking at you, Double Quarter Pounder), while several others came close to 100 percent of the maximum daily sodium intake.
So, without further ado, here are my five healthiest and five least healthy menu items at Maccas.
The five healthiest things you can order from McDonald’s
Grilled Chicken Bites
Per serve: 433kJ, 19.5g protein, 0.8g sat fat, 0.4g carbs, 0.4g sugar, 406mg sodium
Wholemeal Snack Wrap – Grilled Chicken
Per serve: 908kJ, 13.8g protein, 2.8g sat fat, 20g carbs, 1.7g sugar, 409mg sodium
Per serve: 1060kJ, 13.3g protein, 3.9g sat fat, 27.8g carbs, 5g sugar, 518mg sodium
Per serve: 1410kJ, 16.1g protein, 3g sat fat, 32g carbs, 3.2g sugar, 583mg sodium
Classic Chicken Salad – Grilled
Per serve: 805kJ, 27.5g protein, 2.6g sat fat, 5.7g carbs, 3.6g sugar, 561mg sodium
The five least healthy things you can order from McDonald’s
BBQ Bacon Angus Burger
Per serve: 4190kJ, 51.8g protein, 19.8g sat fat, 88.2g carbs, 13.7g sugar, 1720mg sodium
Double Quarter Pounder
Per serve: 3480kJ, 54.2g protein, 27.3g sat fat, 37.6g carbs, 8.6g sugar, 1490mg sodium
Big Brekkie Burger
Per serve: 3450kJ, 44.7g protein, 17.7g sat fat, 53.4g carbs, 10g sugar, 1570mg sodium
Double Big Mac
Per serve: 3210kJ, 42.6g protein, 18.9g sat fat, 44.6g carbs, 7.6g sugar, 1370mg sodium
Per serve: 2610kJ, 37.6g protein, 19.2g sat fat, 38.5g carbs, 8g sugar, 1420mg sodium
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practicing dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.