9 Things You Absolutely Should Never Order at McDonald’s
As a nurse and mom of young children, I like to keep my distance from McDonald’s. It’s no surprise that the food is full of fat and sugar. We all remember watching Morgan Spurlock completely transform his body for Super Size Me. By eating only McDonald’s food for 30 days, he gained 25 pounds and added serious amounts of fat to his liver and bloodstream. Like any restaurant, some options are better than others. Here are nine of the biggest offenders, as well as some of the friendlier options.
1.Double quarter pounder with cheese
Ahh, the double quarter pounder with cheese: a McDonald’s staple. Just by looking at it, it’s obviously not a healthy choice, but it’s surprising to hear just how bad it is. Weighing in at 780 calories and 45 grams of fat (including 21 grams of saturated fat), the double quarter pounder should be avoided at all costs! Considering the fact that the American Heart Association recommends limiting our intake of saturated fat to less than 16 grams per day, this is pretty shocking. Throw in fries and a soda for a total of 1,170 calories and 56 grams of fat all in one meal.
Compared to some of the big ticket items on the McDonald’s menu, chicken nuggets can look like a harmless choice. They’re only 180 calories, as opposed to 570 in the buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich. However, even though McDonald’s says the nuggets have been made with all white meat chicken since 2003, not everyone is convinced about what is actually in them. When a former McDonald’s employee, Reddit user DFunkatron, hosted an “Ask Me Anything” event on Reddit, he alleged that he once left a bag of frozen McDonald’s chicken nuggets on a counter all day. When he returned, he said, the chicken nuggets had completely melted into a puddle.
3.Southwest buttermilk crispy chicken salad
Think you’re being sensible by skipping the double quarter pounder and going for a salad with chicken? It’s pretty amazing how many calories McDonald’s (and a lot of other restaurants) can cram into an innocent salad. This salad packs 520 calories and 25 grams of fat. It also has 46 grams of carbs! There are about 15 grams of carbs in a small brownie, so this salad and dressing are loaded with hidden carbs (also known as sugar). To cut some of that fat, opt for grilled chicken instead of crispy. The southwest grilled chicken salad has about 350 calories, 12 grams of fat, and only 27 grams of carbs.
4.Skip the soda
It truly doesn’t matter if you’re at McDonald’s, a fancy restaurant, or the grocery store. It’s time to start skipping the soda. It is just straight calories and sugar. A regular Coke on the McDonald’s menu has 170 calories and a whopping 47 grams of carbs. Add this to a typical McDonald’s meal, and you are well over the recommended daily amount of carbs. The sweet tea is a little better at 90 calories and 21 grams of carbs. Opt for a cold water or unsweetened iced tea instead.
I’ll admit that the shamrock shake is downright irresistible every March. However, this winter I think I’ll be able to avoid it after doing this research. One shake contains 470 calories and an impressive 77 grams of carbs. And if there’s one thing the shamrock shake has in abundance, it’s sugar. The small has 65 grams of sugar, and the large clocks in at a hefty 115 grams. The American Heart Association recommends men limit their sugar intake to 36 grams per day and women no more than 24 grams per day.
It probably isn’t fair to single out the shamrock shake. Really, no milkshake on the McDonald’s menu is safe. They range in calories from 470 in the shamrock shake all the way to 540 in the chocolate shake. We thought the shamrock shake won the carb contest with 77 grams of carbs, but the others (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors) have around 85 grams per serving. And they’re virtually tied in grams of sugar.
I love the McFlurry with M&M’s. One night when our baby would not stop crying, my husband and I eventually buckled her into her car seat and went for a drive. After she fell asleep, we did the only logical thing for two sleep-deprived parents to do at 1 a.m. We hit up the McDonald’s drive-thru for McFlurries. Little did I know it almost would have been a healthier option to order a double quarter pounder! One M&M McFlurry contains 640 calories, 22 grams of fat, and an unbelievable 96 grams of carbs.
8.Bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich
You know those crazy mornings? You oversleep, then your son remembers that it’s his day to bring snacks for the class, and you’re supposed to be presenting at the 8 a.m. meeting. It’s these kinds of days when there’s no time for breakfast, and you somehow find yourself in the McDonald’s drive-thru at 7:50. Whatever you do, steer clear of the bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich. With 550 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 54 grams of carbs, it’s only going to make your day worse. And if you think that’s bad, don’t pick the big breakfast with hotcakes, which contains 1080 calories, 57 grams of fat, and 109 grams of carbs!
The McCafe drinks are McDonald’s version of coffee house favorites like pumpkin spice lattes and caramel mochas. Pretty much all of these drinks are loaded with calories and sugar, but the frappes (frozen coffee drinks) take it to a new level. One chocolate chip McCafe frappe has 500 calories, 21 grams of fat, and 72 grams of carbs.
Is anything safe?
If you’re stuck with no other options, you can make McDonald’s work with your healthy lifestyle from time to time. Make sure to stick with the simple options. A regular hamburger has about 250 calories and 8 grams of fat. It does have 32 grams of carbs, so ditching the bun and enjoying the patty over a small side salad will slash that number.
McDonald’s also now offers fruit like apple slices and cutie oranges. The yogurt parfait is only 150 calories, but packs on the sugar with 30 grams of carbs.
If your stomach is growling on the way to work and there are no other options, pull into McDonald’s for a bowl of oatmeal. It’s a better option at 290 calories and 4 grams of fat. But go easy on sugar for the day after that because it has 58 grams of carbs. Pair it with a black coffee for no additional calories and only 1 gram of carbs. The strawberry banana smoothie is also a safer choice with 190 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, and 43 grams of carbs.
Finally if you can’t resist that McDonald’s ice cream, opt for a vanilla soft serve cone with 200 calories and 5 grams of fat.