When you’re pressed for time, a healthy breakfast is often the first thing you may cut out of your day. Heading to the drive-thru may save you a few minutes, but depending on what you order, it may cost you more than an entire day’s worth of saturated fat. The “Big Breakfast with Hotcakes” combo and a large biscuit has 20 grams of saturated fat, 540 calories of total fat, and 1150 calories total. For most people, this is over half of the recommended total caloric intake for one day. Altering your breakfast order to the same combo, but with a regular size biscuit, will shave off only 60 calories and 1 gram of fat.
Switching your order to a Southern Style Chicken Biscuit, with a regular size biscuit, will give you 8 grams of saturated fat, and a total of 410 calories, 180 of which are from fat. This is a slightly better option, however 8 grams is still a high amount of saturated fat. Consider that current guidelines recommend you consume no more than 15 grams of saturated fat daily.
The lowest calorie options on the breakfast menu are the English muffin and the hash browns. The hash browns offer a total of 150 calories (80 of them from fat) and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. The English muffin has 160 total calories, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, and only 30 calories total from fat. Add one container of either strawberry or grape jam for an additional 35 calories. Adding one pat of whipped margarine will increase the calories by 40 and the saturated fat by 1.5 grams.
No survey of McDonald’s food calories would be complete without a breakdown of its burgers and other sandwiches. A Big Mac will set you back a total of 540 calories, 260 of them from fat. It also has a total of 29 grams of fat, 10 of which are saturated fat. A Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese packs on 740 calories and 42 grams of total fat, 19 of which are saturated fat. A McRib has 500 calories and 26 grams of fat (10 of which are saturated fat). The Premium Crispy Chicken Classic Sandwich offers less saturated fat (3.5 grams), but still has a total of 20 grams of fat and 530 calories.
Instead of these high-caloric options, try a Filet-O-Fish for 380 calories. It also has 18 grams of total fat and 3.5 grams of saturated fat. A regular hamburger, no cheese added, has only 250 calories, 3.5 grams of saturated fat and a total of 9 grams of fat. The “Snack Wraps” tend to pack less of a caloric punch. The grilled Ranch Snack Wrap has only 270 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 10 grams of total fat. The Honey Mustard Snack Wrap has 260 calories, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, and 9 grams of total fat.
Sides & Salads
When pairing your entree with a side, consider that a large order of French fries has 500 calories, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, and a total of 25 grams of fat. Instead, select a small order of French fries, but beware that they still contain 230 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and 11 grams of total fat.
If you prefer Chicken McNuggets instead of fries, avoid the 10-piece size. This McDonald’s item contains 460 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, and 29 grams of total fat. Instead, order the 4-piece size for 190 calories. It also has 2 grams of saturated fat and 12 grams of total fat.
A salad may seem like an even healthier option, but some still contain a high amount of McDonald’s food calories. The salad with the highest calorie count is the Premium Southwest Salad with Crispy Chicken. It has 430 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 20 grams of total fat. Instead, select the side salad for just 20 calories and no fat. Or, order the Premium Southwest Salad without chicken for 140 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 4.5 grams of total fat.
If you have a sweet tooth, steer clear of the milkshakes. The shake with the highest calories is the 32 oz. Chocolate Triple Thick Shake with a whopping 1160 calories. That’s over half of a full day’s worth of calories. The next two shakes aren’t far behind: the 32 oz. Strawberry Triple Thick Shake and the Vanilla Triple Thick Shake both have 1110 calories.
Even the milkshake with the lowest number of calories is still not a great option, but if you must have a shake, select the 12 oz. Strawberry Triple Thick Shake for 420 calories, 6 grams of saturated fat, and a total of 10 grams of fat. The 12 oz. Vanilla Triple Thick Shake also has 420 calories.
Instead of a milkshake, try a smoothie. Both the small Wild Berry Smoothie and the small Strawberry Banana Smoothie have 210 calories.