You’d be right in thinking that the words ‘January diet’ and McDonald’s aren’t often used in the same sentence. Yes, Maccas doesn’t exactly scream healthy, but there are healthier options on their menu, so if you’re watching the calories after Christmas you can still indulge in some delicious fast food once in a while.
So in the interest of making healthier choices, and not making January any worse by denying ourselves nuggets, we’ve found some easy swaps and hacks, using the nutritional calculator on their website, to lower the calories of your Maccas order. We’ve even worked out a way to enjoy a Big Mac meal (with fries) for under 600 cals. You’re welcome.
Big Mac meal under 600 calories
A Big Mac is the quintessential McDonald’s order, but it also happens to be pretty calorific – 508 calories to be precise, or 1015 calories for a Big Mac meal with medium fries and a regular coke; luckily there are a few simple changes you can make to lower the cals.
Swap out the fries and drink
By swapping medium fries for small ones and a regular Coke for a Coke or Sprite Zero, you’ll lower the calories to 746. If you remove the bun the calories go down to just 533. Alternatively you can order a regular Big Mac with a Shaker Side Salad for just 526 calories; pretty good eh?
Remove the whole bun – 295 calories
A Big Mac has three buns and each one is around 71 calories, so by removing all of them you’re seriously cutting the cals, but even if you just remove the middle bun you’re still lowering the calories to just 437.
Chicken is generally a healthier option than beef at McDonald’s as it’s a leaner meat and has less saturated fat than a burger.
McChicken Nugget meal under 500 calories
We love nugs more than life, they’re our go-to order from Maccas and they aren’t actually too calorific (259 calories for 6 nuggets). We were pretty pleased to see a meal is under 500 calories if you order like this:
6 McChicken Nuggets = 259 calories
Small fries = 237 calories
Coke/Sprite Zero or Water = 1 calorie
Total = 497 calories
Opt for a kids size portion
Save yourself 86 calories by ordering a Happy Meal portion instead, which contains four nuggets rather than six.
McChicken Sandwich hack
A McChicken Sandwich is 388 calories, which by McDonald’s burger standards isn’t too bad, but you can ditch 168 calories by not eating the bun; think of it like a giant chicken nugget with lettuce and sauce.
Or you could save yourself even more calories, and money, by ordering a Mayo Chicken instead. Even with the bun it’s only 319 calories, but without the bun it drops down to just 176!.
Grilled, not fried
Macca’s wraps are delish but surprisingly calorific. All the chicken wraps vary from 474 – 500 calories when ordered as a crispy option, but if you opt for grilled chicken instead you could save yourself around 144 calories.
McDonald’s breakfast holds a special place in our hearts, but it’s not generally the healthiest option; surprisingly though, our beloved hash browns are only 136 calories.
Instead of a Double McMuffin (of any kind) you can significantly lower the calories by opting for a single one.
The sausage options are more calorific than bacon ones: a Sausage and Egg McMuffin is 430 calories versus 348 for a Bacon and Egg McMuffin. Plus, you can save yourself 168 calories by completely removing the muffin or 84 by removing half the muffin.
You could ditch even more cals by dropping the cheese, for example order a Cheese and Egg McMuffin without the cheese for just 245 calories.
Ditching the bun from any of the McDonald’s burgers will save you around 143 – 168 calories, or, if you long for carbs (you’re only human) just eating half the bun will still save you cals. Also, ordering without cheese will shed a whole lot of calories off your meal.
Double Cheeseburger = 445 calories
Double Cheeseburger without the bun = 302 calories
Quarter Pounder with Cheese = 518 calories
Quarter Pounder without Cheese = 418 calories
Skip the sauce
Yes, the Big Mac sauce literally gives us life but you can easily save calories without really noticing by ordering sans sauce.
Ketchup = 27 calories
McChicken Sandwich cool mayo = 52 calories
Big Mac sauce = 50 calories
Tangy Tomato sauce (comes with Cheese Melt Dippers) = 43 calories
And you know those yummy little sauces that come with your Chicken Selects? Well, turns out they’re the worst offenders. This is bad, bad news.
3 Chicken Selects = 359 calories
Smoky BBQ Dip = 84 calories
Sweet Chilli Dip = 107 calories
Sour Cream and Chive Dip = 140 calories