Think you can't make a healthy choice when you visit McDonald's? Think again. Sure, it might be a fast food restaurant famed for burgers and fries, but nowadays there's far more to choose from - and some options might actually be beneficial for your body.
We spoke to nutritionist Lily Soutter to pick apart the menu and play Ronald McDonald at his own greasy game…
Porridge (194kcal, 5.3g fat)
Unsurprisingly, the plain porridge pots are one of the most balanced breakfast options at Maccas. "These are made with wholegrain rolled oats and 100% organic milk. With 9.6g of protein per portion, these oats are the perfect breakfast to balance blood sugar," Lily says. This means it'll keep you full up throughout the morning, rather than giving you the slump of a sweeter breakfast like a muffin.
Bacon roll (351 calories, 8.4g fat)
Don't fancy oats? Lily recommends a good old fashioned bacon bap. "The bacon roll contains the least additives and preservatives and contains fewest ingredients," she explains. "The bacon provides 18g of protein per serving, the protein will slow the rate at which sugar from the roll enters the blood stream allowing for more stable energy levels throughout the day."
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 flavour enhancers," Lily 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 (133kcal, 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 chips on the side. Both the dressings have less than 30 calories and 1g fat, so drizzle as much as you dare, or as Lily 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 one of your 5-a-day, plenty of fibre, 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're battered, sure, but you get six McNuggets in the box for 100 calories and 7g fat less than 3 Chicken Selects. They also have none of the refined white carbs you'd get with the bread from a burger, and pack 16g protein per portion. With some veg 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…
Tomato ketchup (22 calories, 0.1g fat)
Some of the sauces in McDonalds have astronomical levels of sugar (25g in the sweet chilli) and fat (14g in the sour cream and chive), and many can add at least 100 calories to your meal without you even realising. 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 flavour.
Pineapple stick (37 calories, 0.2g fat)
Feeling truly virtuous? This fresh fruit will give you the sweetness you may crave whilst providing you with one of your 5-a-day. Is it an ice cream sundae? Is it heck. But with 8.1g of natural 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…
Apple pie (250 calories, 14g fat)
Lily 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 9.5g. 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.
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