What 7 dietitians order at McDonald's

ShutterstockMcDonald’s can be relatively nutritious.
  • There are ways to navigate the McDonald’s menu and enjoy some healthy options.
  • Take advantage of McDonald’s Nutrition Calculator.
  • Seven dietitians told INSIDER what they eat themselves when they dine at the fast-food joint.

It can be hard to navigate eating at fast-food restaurants while trying to maintain a healthy diet, but there are actually many great options recommended by experts

INSIDER talked to seven dietitians about what they eat and what they advise others to eat when dining at McDonald’s.


Whitney Stuart orders her grilled chicken sandwiches open faced.

Getty Images/Justin SullivanOrder the Egg McMuffin without the top part of the bun.

Whitney Stuart, MCN RDN, registered dietitian-nutritionist and Whole30 certified coach, orders the Egg White Delight McMuffin served open-faced with half the bun removed for breakfast.

Then for lunch, she orders the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich also served open-faced, plus a side salad.

“This is the least saturated fat and carb heavy option that seemed feasible,” Stuard told INSIDER. She also said to use McDonald’s Nutrition Calculator to customise and check the nutrition facts for your entire meal, paying close attention to the sodium levels. “Most Americans need less than 1,800 milligrams per day and these meals quickly approach that limit,” she added.


Dr. Caroline Apovian prefers a salad with just a touch of dressing.

McDonald’s/FacebookBe careful with the dressing on your salad.

Dr. Caroline Apovian, MD, a nutrition and weight-loss physician and professor of medicine at Boston University, order a Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad for her lunch.

“I get my protein, no grease, and I dole out the dressing carefully not to get too much fat,” Dr. Apovian told INSIDER.


Joelle Malinowski likes the Sausage Burrito at breakfast because it’s packed with veggies.

McDonald’s/FacebookShe loves the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.

Joelle Malinowski, RD, CDE, CDN, and the media representative for theNew York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, orders a Sausage Burrito for breakfast. At lunch, she orders the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.

Malinowski explained that the Sausage Burrito includes vegetables, which she said makes it preferable to the say, the Sausage McMuffin. “I always find ways to get my vegetables in all meals,” she told INSIDER. As for the salad, she opts for the grilled chicken over the breaded option.


Cindy Dallow thinks McDonald’s oatmeal is a great protein, carb, and fibre trifecta.

McDonald’s/FacebookFruit and Maple Oatmeal.

Cindy Dallow, PhD, RD, a sports dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor, orders the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal with 1% milk and coffee for breakfast.

“I like to start the day with protein, nutrient-dense carbs, and fibre,” Dallow explained. “Coffee helps me be alert and is also high in antioxidants.”


Ginger Hultin follows a few seasoning rules with her McDonald’s order.

McDonald’sAvoid bacon or ranch.

Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO, and Arivale coach, orders any grilled chicken sandwich that’s available or the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.

Hultin said to avoid any salads with keywords like “bacon,” “ranch,” or “crispy,” which she said often have “as many calories as more traditional fast-food options.”

When ordering any burger or sandwich she holds the mayo, aioli, and other sauces and flavours her sandwich with hot sauce, ketchup, onions, pickles, and mustard. “For example, a regular Big Mac has 540 calories but without the sauce and cheese, it reduces to 400 calories,” she told INSIDER and suggested asking for a kids-sized serving if you want fries with your meal.


Lauren Manaker opts for an Egg McMuffin and fruit, if they have it.

Stan L/YelpEgg McMuffin.

Lauren ManakerMS, RDN, LD of Nutrition Now Counseling, orders a classic Egg McMuffin, with no Canadian bacon, and some Fruit & Maple Oatmeal with the toppings on the side.

Manaker said that “an English muffin, whole egg, and slice of cheese provides enough carbohydrates, fat, and protein to keep me satisfied. I add a sprinkle of brown sugar to my oatmeal and a small amount of dried fruit to give it enough taste,” she said. She also pointed out that McDonald’s offer mandarin oranges depending on the season, so always remember to ask.


Rachael Hartley makes sure to have carbohydrates with her salad.

Michelle P/YelpThe Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.

Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, and certified intuitive eating counselor, orders a Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.

“I like that [the salad] has black beans and corn on it, which adds some satisfying high-fibre carbs to the meal,” she told INSIDER. “One mistake people often make is having a salad with just vegetables, protein, and dressing, but without carbohydrate, our body’s favourite source of fuel, that meal won’t last long.”

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