If you’re trying to eat healthfully, figuring out what to order at fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s can be challenging.
Unfortunately, McDonald’s recently discontinued many of their healthier selections, including their signature salads and fruit and yogurt parfaits. This makes it harder to navigate their menu when you’re trying to stick to a specific diet.
Thankfully, there are still options that suit ketogenic, low sodium, or vegetarian diets.
Here are 12 healthier options to order at McDonald’s.
A plain hamburger at McDonald’s contains 250 calories, which means it’s one of the lowest-calorie items on the menu.
It also contains 12 grams of protein, a macronutrient that can help curb cravings and keep you feeling full between meals (
To keep the calorie count low, be sure to skip the cheese and pair your hamburger with a side of apple slices instead of fries.
2. Six-piece Chicken McNuggets
With 250 calories per serving, the six-piece Chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s can be a good option if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight.
These chicken nuggets contain 14 grams of protein and can be paired with your choice of condiment or dipping sauce.
To keep the calorie count relatively low, opt for dipping options like the Spicy Buffalo, Tangy Barbecue, and Sweet ’N Sour sauces instead of higher-calorie alternatives like Creamy Ranch.
3. Filet-o-Fish (no tartar sauce)
Compared with other items on the McDonald’s menu, the Filet-o-Fish is relatively low in sodium.
In fact, if you order it without the tartar sauce, it contains 470 mg of sodium — a fraction of the amount found in many other menu items. To cut back even further, skip the cheese to bring the amount of sodium in each serving to 370 mg.
It also contains a good chunk of protein — 14 grams — plus several important minerals like iron and potassium.
4. McChicken (no mayonnaise)
The McChicken is another option that’s lower in sodium than many other items offered by McDonald’s.
If ordered as is, it contains about 560 mg of sodium per serving. If you ask for the sandwich without mayonnaise, you can cut the amount of sodium to 500 mg.
In addition to being lower in sodium than many other options, the McChicken contains some protein and is relatively low in calories — especially if you skip the mayonnaise.
5. Blueberry muffin
Surprisingly, many of the sweet baked goods on the McDonald’s menu are high in sodium, with some packing more than 20% of the recommended Daily Value into a single serving (
The blueberry muffin is one of the lower-sodium options available, with 360 mg in each serving.
However, keep in mind that it’s also high in calories, carbs, and added sugar, so it should be considered an occasional indulgence rather than a staple in your daily diet.
6. Quarter Pounder with Cheese Deluxe (no bun or ketchup)
You can easily cut the carb content of almost any item from McDonald’s, including the Quarter Pounder with Cheese Deluxe, by removing the bun and ketchup.
With these custom requests, this burger contains just 5 grams of net carbs per serving.
Although it can fit into a ketogenic diet, keep in mind that the Quarter Pounder is high in saturated fat, sodium, and trans fat. Therefore, while it’s fine to enjoy from time to time, it shouldn’t become a regular part of your diet.
7. Sausage biscuit with egg (no biscuit)
For a keto-friendly breakfast option, try ordering the sausage biscuit with egg from McDonald’s — without the biscuit.
This version of the meal contains just 2 grams of net carbs, along with 23 grams of fat and 12 grams of protein.
You can also opt for bacon instead of sausage and add cheese on the side for extra protein and fat.
8. Big Mac (no bun)
The Big Mac is another low carb choice from McDonald’s that can fit into a ketogenic diet.
If you remove the bun, it provides 5 grams of net carbs. It also contains 27 grams of fat and 18 grams of protein in each serving.
However, like many other items on the menu at McDonald’s, it’s high in sodium and saturated fat, so be sure to limit your intake and enjoy it in moderation.
9. Egg biscuit
The egg biscuit is one of only a few vegetarian options currently available at McDonald’s.
It not only contains 11 grams of protein but also provides a good amount of iron in each serving. This is beneficial because those who eat a vegetarian diet are at a higher risk of iron deficiency (
Depending on your preferences, you can swap the biscuit for an English muffin or add some cheese for a vegetarian-friendly breakfast.
10. Fruit and maple oatmeal
Fruit and maple oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfast options on the menu at McDonald’s.
Made with oatmeal, diced apples, and a cranberry-raisin blend, the fruit and maple oatmeal packs 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 320 calories into each serving.
It’s also low in fat and sodium and contains several important micronutrients, including calcium, iron, and potassium. Still, keep in mind that with 31 grams of sugar per serving, it may not be as healthy as oatmeal made at home.
11. Sausage burrito
The sausage breakfast burrito at McDonald’s features ingredients like scrambled eggs, pork sausage, cheese, and mixed vegetables wrapped in a flour tortilla.
Compared with other breakfast items at McDonald’s, the sausage burrito is relatively low in calories and contains a good amount of protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin D.
However, it’s also high in sodium and cholesterol, which may not be ideal for those eating a heart-healthy diet.
12. Egg McMuffin
The Egg McMuffin is a popular breakfast sandwich on the McDonald’s menu.
With 17 grams of protein per serving and plenty of iron, calcium, and vitamin D, it’s also one of the healthier options.
Like the sausage burrito, the Egg McMuffin contains high amounts of cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat, so be sure to limit your intake.
McDonald’s offers several meals that can be included in many different diet patterns, including vegetarian, ketogenic, low calorie, or low sodium diets.
However, keep in mind that most items available from this fast-food chain are still high in sodium, saturated fat, added sugar, or cholesterol.
Therefore, while the foods listed above can fit into certain eating plans, it’s best to moderate your intake and enjoy these foods only once in a while as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Just one thing
Try this today: Opt for a side of apple slices instead of french fries and skip the sugary sodas, shakes, and slushies when placing your order.