Walk Talk Nutrition visits McDonalds


Our First impressions

Neither of us is big MickyD’s users. Neither of us has been there in years. We were both struck by the long line of cars waiting for the drive-thru.  People don’t get out of their cars anymore (same thing at local Starbucks).

The menu board is electronic and the listings scroll quickly.  Calories are listed by each item in the same font size as the prices — good.  But the color is lighter, and there’s a vertical bar separating the price and kcal numbers.  It’s the same color as the calories, and at first we thought the bar was the number “1”, making some of the items 1400 calories.  Oops. 

Calorie problems

  • 2-pick for $5 – the monetary “cost savings” comes with a big calorie and sodium load if you eat both sandwiches.  Go with a friend and eat only one, it’s more of a deal and fewer calories.  The picks are not the healthier options – so pick wisely.  
    1. Quarter Pounder with Cheese (540 kcal)
    2. Chicken McNuggets 10 piece (440 kcal without sauce, add 40-90 kcal depending upon type, Ranch styles being highest)
    3. Filet of Fish (390 kcal)
    4. Triple Cheeseburger (520 kcal)
  • Coffee drinks with loads of added fat & sugar, milkshakes, and soft drinks.  
  • Value Meals – you add $2 to get medium fries & medium drink added to the order.  That means adding an extra 560 kcal if you eat all of your fries and get a regular soda (or sweet tea).
  • Medium fries: 340 kcal, 16g fat (0 trans), 44 g carbs, 230 mg sodium (ketchup adds 10 kcal, 2 g carbs)
  • Medium regular soft drink:  220 kcal, 59 g carbs  Sweet tea: 240 kcal, 62g carbs

Better to order a single sandwich  and add 1 salad with LF balsamic vinaigrette – just a little less expensive but only 50 kcal (and minimal carbs) added to meal.  A much better choice for people trying to lose weight or for folks with diabetes trying to control meal carbs.  By the way we thought the side salad looked really nice, fresh and not loaded up with extraneous croutons and grated cheese.

What we got today:

Donna: Buttermilk Crispy Chicken sandwich Value Meal with medium fries & iced tea = $7.69.

With regular pop & all fries consumed:  1150 kcal, 40 g fat, 32 g protein, 169 g carbs (I just ate the chicken out of the sandwich and had a few french fries).

Kathy: Grilled Artisan Chicken Sandwich + Side Salad + 1 LF Balsamic Vinaigrette by Newman’s Own = $6.81

440 kcal, 8g fat, 38 g protein, 53 g carbs

Sandwich with default condiments (nothing added):  380 kcal, 6 g fat, 37 g protein, 44 g carbs, 960 mg sodium.

Salad + LF Balsamic vinaigrette dressing: 50 kcal, 2 g fat, 1g pro, 9g carbs, 420 mg sodium

Kathy felt that her sandwich and salad were very filling.  She typically gets hungry an hour later, but texted 4 hours later “I am still satisfied.  I am pleasantly surprised. The sodium is a nightmare but I’ll adjust my food choices around the huge load at lunch.”

There was still a long line of cars creeping through the drive thru windows when we left.

Bottom Line

It’s fast food.  Choice is good and McDonald’s is adding healthier options.  And, as Kathy notes, the 59 cent ice cream cone is small.  Just enough dessert, not a huge portion.

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