Wouldn’t life be so much simpler if dieting was as easy as some fitness professionals made it look.
Heck, if we’re wishing for things, then wouldn’t life be simpler if healthy food tasted 100% better than junk food?
Sadly, if you want good things in life such as a six-pack, then you are going to have to work for it.
Also, it isn’t always going to be possible to avoid social/family situations where you are required to eat out at places just like McDonalds.
In this article we are going to look at how to eat low carb at McDonalds, meaning that if you are midway through a cut you can still enter the Golden Arches without being afraid of accidentally covering yourself in carbs.
Scenario #1: A McDonalds Breakfast With The Kids
In this scenario lets imagine that you’re taking the kids to breakfast at McDonalds while following a low carb diet.
This is the toughest time to be low carb, because McDonalds breakfasts are all about the carbs!
Seriously, go through their menu:
- Hash Browns
- and a Fruit ‘N’ Yogurt Parfait that contains 40g of carbohydrates!
After analysing the menu, the only option we can see is the Sausage Burrito at 300 calories.
It does contain 26g of carbohydrates BUT there is a workaround.
If you order the sausage burrito and find yourself a knife and fork you can cut the carbs to almost zero!
All you have to do is get back to your table and unwrap the burrito.
Inside you have scrambled eggs, sausage, vegetables, and cheese.
None of which contains carbs (okay the veg does, but it will be minimal).
It’s just the flour tortilla wrap that contains the majority of the carbohydrates.
Use that tortilla as a plate, and avoid eating it, and suddenly your meal is very low carb!
Scenario #2: A McDonalds Lunch With A Friend Post Gym
So, you and your buddy have just finished a high-intensity workout at your local gym, and you are ravenous.
But oh no!
Everywhere is closed … everywhere that is, except McDonalds.
You walk through the door, past Ronald McDonald, in a state of starvation.
You need protein like never before, but you are determined to stick to your low carb diet, even while the thousands of tasty high carb meal options surround you.
What do you go for?
As much as it may pain you to order a salad, there is an absolutely fantastic salad option hidden within the McDonalds menu.
The Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad is just 320 calories and contains a whopping 42g of protein!  That’s about as much protein as two protein shakes.
What’s more, it only contains 8g of carbohydrates!
The ingredients list is short:
- Artisan grilled chicken breast
- Salad blend
- Thick cut applewood smoked bacon
- Shredded cheddar and jack cheese
- And some grill seasoning. Nothing else.
Those 8g of carbs come from the vegetables alone, there isn’t a grain in sight!
The fat content isn’t that high either, just 14g of fat in the entire salad.
This means that you are getting 126 calories from fat, 32 calories from carbohydrates, and 168 calories from protein.
Making the Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad a verified, high-protein meal.
If you want to improve the protein and lower the fat more, and you don’t mind irritating the patient yet busy McDonalds staff, you could ask to replace the bacon with another grilled chicken breast, which would boost the protein a lot while lowering the fat content significantly … it would also reduce the awesomeness of the salad, but that’s a judgement call on your part.
Scenario #3 Finding A Low Carb Snack At McDonalds
You’re in a rush after a work meeting has overrun, and only have five minutes to grab a snack.
Luckily, you’re right outside a McDonalds, who are known for their legendary fast service.
Sadly, they are not well known for their abundance of low carb snack options.
This last scenario is more difficult to solve than you’d think.
The truth is that McDonalds loves carbs.
Or more specifically, the typical McDonalds customer loves carbs.
You are without a doubt an outlier! But there are some options out there.
Chicken McNuggets are a possibility, they only contain 11g worth of carbohydrates, 11g of fat, and 10g of protein within 4 nuggets. All for just 180 calories.
You could technically lower the carb count by removing the chicken from the breadcrumb outer shell, but a) that would ruin the nugget and b) it would make you look insane.
As it is, 11g is not very much when it comes to carbohydrates, just 44 calories worth.
Even the most restrictive low carb diets should allow you more than that.
Even keto diets should allow you more than that!
Another option would be Buttermilk Crispy Tenders (the fancy version of McNuggets) , but you’d probably have to split the order with someone as they contain 25g of carbohydrates and are 500 calories! Cut that in half though and you’ve got a snack that is just 12.5g of carbs, 19.5g of protein, and 13.5g of fat.
Next, we have apple slices.
A controversial choice as they are basically 100% carbohydrate.
However, a single bag contains just 15 calories, and just 4g of carbs.
That’s really not that bad at all.
Finally, we have the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.
This is not as good an option as the Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad … but we have already covered that earlier, and variety is the spice of life.
This salad contains 27g of carbohydrates, but if you remove the chilli lime tortilla strips then you can knock off a lot of those dreaded carbs.
Without the tortilla strips the only carbohydrates will come from the Southwest vegetable blend, and there won’t be much in that.
You’re probably looking at less than 10g per salad.
Other than that, there is 37g of protein, and 11g of fat.
All for just 350 calories, or less than 300 if you remove the tortilla strips (providing our estimate of 17g carbs in the tortilla strips is correct).
Final Thoughts On Eating Low Carb At Mcdonalds..
It is definitely not easy to eat out while following a low-carb diet, it’s not impossible, but it certainly requires a level of research that most people would not bother with.
But maybe that’s a good thing?
Maybe spending time thinking about what you are going to get at McDonalds and how it will affect your diet is how we should be approaching our fast food!
Going low carb is more difficult, but it is still possible. And it is largely thanks to changes that McDonalds have recently made, that it is possible.
Their menu has improved dramatically, and their transparency over calories, macronutrients, and ingredients should be commended.
If you are reading this article then it says two things about you:
- You are committed to following your diet
- You REALLY want some McDonalds food!
Hopefully this article has helped you to achieve this!