Dietitians Share What They Order From McDonald’s

McDonald’s may be the ultimate place for a quick pick-me-up. From wallet-friendly meals to new menu items, there’s a reason why it’s many people’s go-to spot for a quick and effortless bite across the globe. However, as we all know, there is one caveat: McDonald’s isn’t known for having healthy food options.

But that isn’t to say you can’t actually find healthier menu items at your local fast food restaurant. If you’re in a money bind, low on time, or just craving some food from the Golden Arches, there are healthier options that can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals.

We spoke to nutritionist Isla Zyair of Obesity Controller and registered dietitian Amy S. Margulies of The Rebellious RD to discover the healthiest meal you can order next time you’re in the McDonald’s drive-through. They told us the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad is your best bet for a weight loss-friendly McDonald’s meal.

Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad

There are many fast food restaurants that offer salads with sneaky unhealthy downsides. But, Zyair emphasizes that the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad from McDonald's is likely the healthiest meal on the menu. This salad is made with nutritious ingredients like all-white chicken fillets, baby kale, tomatoes, kidney beans, and corn.

"This salad includes fresh, 100% chicken breast, so you know exactly what you are getting for your protein. It is prepared with fresh lettuce and non-starchy vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions, so it keeps the fiber and nutrition up while keeping the total calories and fat down. For under 400 total calories (367 calories), 30 grams of total carbs, 7 grams of fiber, 13 grams of fat, less than 4 grams of saturated fat, and 35 grams of protein, you are getting a well-balanced meal," Margulies says. "Just be sure not to order it with fried chicken on top, as this would add calories, fat, and saturated to an otherwise healthy choice for a speedy meal."

"This meal is a good source of protein and fiber," Zyair explains. She adds that the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad is "low in saturated fat and calories."

READ MORE: This 5-Ingredient Salad Recipe Is The Healthiest Way To Crush Your Weight Loss Goal In The New Year

And, there are even ways that you can lower this salad's fat, sodium, and calorie content. "You may always make it healthier by further customizing it to include other vegetables, making it an even more nutritious option," Zyair points out. Overall, Zyair notes that the Southwest Salad is "tasty and healthier than most hamburgers and chicken sandwiches." Yum!

Margulies also says that there are some other go-to options for a weight loss-friendly McDonald's meal is opting for a side salad to add bulk and nutrients, without the additional calories. "Anything grilled or steamed will also be a calorie-saving choice, versus a fried option, like the McChicken for 400 calories," she adds. "Almost anything can fit on your plate - but the overall balance is what matters most!"

READ MORE: 3 Salad Ingredients Health Experts Say No One Should Be Eating If They Struggle With Indigestion

And, if you're wondering which McDonald's meals you should avoid at all costs if you're looking to lose weight, Margulies has some suggestions. "When trying to go low-calorie at fast food restaurants like McDonald's, it is best to stay single. Go with the single burgers, and stay away from the plentiful packaged meals that come with french fries and a fountain drink," she recommends. "For example, Mcdonald's classic hamburger with a side of apple slices and an unsweetened iced tea will only cost you 295 calories (9 grams of total fat, 3.5 grams saturated fat), versus a Big Mac, medium french fries, and a medium soda, which will cost you 1080 calories (not to mention 45 grams of total fat and 13 grams of saturated fat). If you really love french fries, share a small serving which is 230 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 1.5 grams of saturated fat." Noted! We know how hard it is to let go of McDonald's deliciously salty french fries, so it's nice to hear that we can still get our fill. But, did you know that the Golden Arches is one of four popular fast food chains that don't sell vegetarian fries?

So, although it's best to try and cut back on fast food as much as possible, there are still ways to stay health-conscious and order from McDonald's. The next time you're stepping into a McDonald's, you know what to watch out for and what to order instead! And if you're wondering what other fast food chains like In-N-OUt and Wendy's have to offer, check out the nutritionists-ranked healthiest fast food meals for weight loss.