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Healthy and High Protein Meals at McDonald's

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Anna is a health-conscious foodie who sometimes needs a quick bite.

You can get high protein food even when you're on the go at McDonald's.

You can get high protein food even when you're on the go at McDonald's.

Is McDonald’s a Good Source of Protein?

Many people automatically rule out McDonald's if they're on a special diet, thinking the only menu options are filled with fat and unhealthy calories. However, even if you're on a special diet, you can find some acceptable options at McDonald's if you choose carefully.

The menu items chosen below have at least 20 grams of protein and less than 500 calories. They are ranked in order of grams of protein per calorie, so the choices that will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of protein are easy to identify.

A McDouble will get you 22 grams of protein!

A McDouble will get you 22 grams of protein!

McDonald's Entree Nutritional Information

EntreeCaloriesProtein (g)Grams of Protein per Calorie

Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken

260

33

0.1304

Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken

320

30

0.0931

Premium Grilled Chicken Ranch BLT Sandwich

380

31

0.0818

Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich

360

27

0.08

Premium McWrap Chicken & Bacon (Grilled)

460

35

0.0761

Premium McWrap Chicken Sweet Chili (Grilled)

360

26

0.0722

Premium McWrap Chicken & Ranch (Grilled)

420

30

0.0714

Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken

370

29

0.0667

Mighty Wings

480

30

0.0625

Bacon McDouble

460

28

0.0609

McDouble

390

22

0.0590

Double Cheeseburger

440

25

0.0568

Bacon Cheddar McChicken

420

22

0.0524

Daily Double

440

23

0.0523

Premium Southwest Salad with Crispy Chicken

430

26

0.0511

Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich

400

24

0.05

Bacon Buffalo Ranch McChicken

420

20

0.0476

Chicken McNuggets (10 Piece)

470

22

0.0468

McRib

500

22

0.0440

High Protein Entrees at McDonald's

These entree menu items are high in protein without being high in calories.

Of course, consuming a few Big Macs will get you some protein, but it will also get you a lot of calories, sodium, and other unhealthy ingredients.

Don't forget to ask for egg whites on your McMuffin!

Don't forget to ask for egg whites on your McMuffin!

McDonald's Breakfast Nutritional Information

Breakfast EntreeCaloriesProtein (g)Grams of Protein per Calorie

Steak & Egg McMuffin

420

26

0.0619

Sausage McMuffin with Egg Whites

400

22

0.0538

Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddles with Egg Whites

380

18

0.05

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit with Egg Whites (Regular Biscuit)

410

20

0.0488

Sausage McMuffin with Egg

480

20

0.0477

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit with Egg Whites (Large Biscuit)

470

20

0.0426

Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddles with Egg Whites

500

21

0.0420

High Protein Breakfast Options at McDonald's

When it comes to breakfast, there are several decent choices on the McDonald's menu. Topping the list is the Steak & Egg McMuffin, which is no surprise since both steak and eggs are packed with protein. Other high protein options include sausage or bacon.

Most of these choices include some kind of meat and egg. One thing to watch for with the McDonald's breakfast menu is fat and sodium, especially in sausage sandwiches. You'll also notice that the nonfat latte below is a side option with 10 grams of protein, which may work particularly well with breakfast.

McNuggets are an efficient source of protein.

McNuggets are an efficient source of protein.

McDonald's Side Nutritional Information

SideCaloriesProtein (g)Grams of Protein per Calorie

Nonfat Latte (small)

90

10

0.1

1% Low Fat Milk Jug

100

8

0.08

Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (Grilled)

260

14

0.0640

Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Grilled)

260

18

0.0640

Chicken McNuggets (4 Piece)

190

9

0.0474

High Protein Sides at McDonald's

Although few of the options for sides at McDonald's contain high protein levels, there are several options. Most of these options are non-traditional sides (sorry, you won't find french fries on the list).

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However, these are the best options on the menu if you're looking to get a decent amount of protein in your meal. These options are all 250 calories or less, with at least 8 grams of protein. My personal favorite side is the 4 piece Chicken McNuggets. They have fewer calories than a small order of fries, and they have a lot more protein.

What's your go-to healthy McDonald's order?

What's your go-to healthy McDonald's order?

Healthier Options at McDonald's

You'll notice that the options in this article consist primarily of chicken and salads topped with chicken. Chicken is one of the leanest, protein-packed options available at McDonald's.

As a general rule of thumb, your best bet is to order grilled chicken options, whether you get a wrap, a sandwich, or a salad. If you're set on getting a burger, there are a few options that contain protein without a lot of calories.

To save even more calories on the options below, you could consider omitting additional sauces like mayo. Omitting cheese will save you some calories but can also cut the protein slightly, as cheese contains dairy and thus contains protein.

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

Anna B. (author) on June 20, 2014:

Ha! Very true, Gangsta!

Gangsta on April 17, 2014:

If It Fits Your Macros ;-)

Anna B. (author) on March 17, 2014:

The premium chicken salad is definitely one of the best choices! Thanks for sharing!

Zimkhitha from South Africa on March 17, 2014:

The only two things I order at McDonalds if I'm watching what I eat is the premium chicken salad and water. I must say though that restaurants are becoming more accommodating by offering some healthy options.

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