How to eat low carb at McDonald’s
It can be difficult to make a selection of low carb foods in fast food chains. McDonald’s has struggled to include healthier options on its menu, but healthy foods don’t always mean they are low in carbohydrates. What can you take while traveling if you are limiting your carbohydrates and McDonald’s is the most convenient stop?
Quick selections low carb meals at McDonald’s
- Choose the salad (2 grams of net carbohydrates) or the grilled chicken salad with bacon (6 grams of net carbohydrates), with low-fat balsamic vinegar dressing (3 grams of carbohydrates). These are the easiest items to order since they will not require a special request to make them a low carb option.
- Order hamburgers, cheeseburgers or grilled chicken without bread or bun.
- Order scrambled eggs alone or breakfast sandwiches without the bun or croissant.
- Stay with drinks without sugar or calories
With these options in mind, here is how to further analyze your best low carb options at McDonald’s.
Use of McDonald’s nutritional information sources
McDonald’s has brochures available in its restaurants that provide information on most menu items, as they are generally served. However, information on regional and seasonal specialties, new additions to the menu and custom orders (for example, hamburgers without bread) may not be readily available.
The good news is that McDonald’s provides all this information on its website . A cheeseburger has 33 grams of carbohydrates. Remove the bun and disappear 28 grams. In this way, you can discover that there is 1 gram of carbohydrates in cheese, 1 gram in onions and 2 grams in ketchup. This information makes it easy to order a personalized item and knows how many carbohydrates are in the food you order.
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What is a low carb option?
To use McDonald’s carbohydrate nutritional information, you must first decide the number of carbohydrates that is right for you. That can vary widely depending on whether you are following a very strict low carb diet, such as the Atkins induction phase that allows only 20 grams per day or if you are trying to stay within the standard nutritional advice of 200 to 300 grams per day. , based on a 2000 calorie diet…
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Generally, a low carb diet is one that limits carbohydrate intake to less than 45 percent of total daily calories. For a low carb diet to lose weight, that would constitute 100 to 200 grams depending on a calorie goal. Many diets use net carbohydrates, in which the grams of fiber is subtracted from the total carbohydrate count. Those who follow a ketogenic diet aspire to consume 60 grams of net carbohydrates per day.
Look for menu options for a single meal that equals only one-third of your daily carbohydrate allowance. Depending on your low carb diet plan, it can be as low as 7 grams, a moderate 20 grams of net carbohydrates, or even as high as 60 grams.
For low carb nutrition, choose salads
McDonald’s salads are a good nutrition option, as they contain a variety of vegetables, small carrots, and grape tomatoes. The salad has only 2 grams of net carbohydrates (not counting the dressing, which is on the side).
Salads the size of a meal are more complicated. Choose the grilled chicken salad with ranch bacon, which has 9 grams of total carbohydrates, but only 6 grams of net carbohydrates each (skip the croutons). Any other option, such as crispy chicken or Southwestern salads, add 20 grams of carbohydrates or more from breaded, glazed, tortilla strips, etc
Choose low-fat balsamic dressing for the lowest carbohydrates (3 grams if using the entire package). Check the other options, as they range from 6 grams to 15 grams.
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Order burgers at McDonald’s low carb
Ordering a hamburger without bread dramatically reduces carbohydrates. The hamburger itself has zero carbohydrates. You will get the hamburger in a bowl, sometimes with two pieces of lettuce. An alternative is to discard half of the bread, reduce the carbohydrates it includes from 28 to 14 and eat your hamburger with your face open.
Some of the condiments have carbohydrates, so you should add them to your total. Cheese, tomato slices, onion, and mayonnaise have approximately one gram of carbohydrates each. For ketchup or Big Mac sauce, add 2 grams.
Sandwiches without hamburgers at McDonald’s
Your choice of lower carbohydrates is roast chicken, without the bun or the bun. It has 2 grams of carbohydrates per pie due to additives. You will receive more carbohydrates if you have a breaded option such as crispy chicken or Filet-o-Fish. With only meat, crispy chicken fillets have 10 grams of carbohydrates and Filet-o-Fish has 9 grams.
Keep in mind that the artisanal roll has even more calories than hamburger bread with 42 grams of carbohydrates. Even if you only have half the roll, you would still eat more than 20 grams of carbohydrates.
For condiments, portions of tartar sauce or mayonnaise dressing have a gram of carbohydrates. See the nutrition guide at the restaurant for information on condiments, as they often change.
As with hamburgers and sandwiches, for a low-carb breakfast at McDonald’s, you must order items without the muffin or croissant, or order scrambled eggs for themselves.
Fruit ‘N Fruit and Yogurt Parfait has 30 grams of carbohydrates, which is high in many low-carb diets and has a high sugar content of 22 grams, but may have better nutrition and fewer calories than Sandwich options for breakfast.
Water, diet soda, coffee and iced tea without sugar are zero carbohydrate options. You may be tempted by your coffee drinks, but check them out. All those that have flavor have a lot of sugar, except sugarless vanilla, which contains a syrup sweetened with sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame potassium and erythritol. This syrup appears as having carbohydrates, but presumably, it would come mainly from erythritol, which should not increase blood sugar in most people.
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Items high in carbohydrates to avoid at McDonald’s
French fries, chicken McNuggets, pancakes, smoothies, and desserts are high in carbohydrates. It is better to avoid them if you are eating low carb.
A word from Verywell
Fast food may be a convenient option or the only option at times. Your options will be more limited when you eat a low carb diet. Remember to order a knife and fork when ordering a hamburger or sandwich without the bun or muffin. By considering the basic rules, you can choose options with fewer carbohydrates.
Eat safely at McDonald’s if you have a food allergy