Though nutritionists say to eat at McD’s (very) sparingly, the addition of the all-day breakfast menu puts some new menu selections atop the list of healthiest things to order at the fast food chain. Read on for the new (Mc)world order. (Image: McDonald’s)
McDonald’s announced Tuesday that it will now be offering all-day breakfast at its restaurants.
The chain previously stopped serving breakfast at 10:30 a.m., but will now offer up select breakfast items like the Egg McMuffin, Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit, and Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait all day.
Fans promptly freaked out on social media after hearing the news:
While no one would ever confuse McDonald’s with health food, experts say some of the new all-day offerings might be better for you than previously-existing options — provided you choose wisely.
Alissa Rumsey, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Yahoo Health that she wouldn’t recommend that anyone strive to eat more of the chain’s breakfast sandwiches, she says some of them can be better than the alternative burgers and chicken sandwiches.
“Since the breakfast sandwiches are smaller than most of the regular sandwiches and burgers, they pack less calories and fat overall,” she says. “They’re a better choice for lunch or dinner compared to the regular menu.”
Related: What Diet Experts Eat at McDonald’s
Registered dietitian nutritionist Beth Warren, author of Living a Real Life With Real Food, echoes the sentiment. “When you open up the meal options to include high protein, whole food options like eggs and whole grains like oatmeal, they can be a healthier option,” she tells Yahoo Health. “However, take caution with other added ingredients in these dishes such as bacon and sausage, which can quickly add loads of unhealthy calories.”
Among the new items to avoid: The Sausage Biscuit, Sausage Biscuit with Egg, and Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuit. “All have over 1000 milligrams of sodium (almost half the daily recommended amount), and over 60 percent of the daily recommended amount of saturated fat,” says Rumsey. She’s also wary of the Sausage McMuffin and Sausage McMuffin with egg, which still have a high amount of sodium (around 800 milligrams) and 10 to 12 grams of saturated fat, which is more than 50 percent of the daily recommended amount.
So, if you wind up at McDonald’s, what should you order if you don’t feel like having a salad? Gina Keatley, a certified dietitian-nutritionist practicing in New York City, tells Yahoo Health that the fruit and yogurt parfait makes a good snack.
“It’s portioned well at 5.2 ounces, has some protein, is low in calories, and has konjac flour, which in human studies has been shown to lower serum cholesterol,” she says.
The Fruit & Maple Oatmeal is also OK due to its fiber content, she says, but only if you can skip the brown sugar packet that comes with it and make another small tweak: “Talk to your cashier about getting milk put in instead of the cream they usually use.”
But the Egg McMuffin is the smartest choice of all. According to Rumsey, it’s the lowest in sodium and provides a good amount of protein, to help you feel fuller longer.
Her second choice: the Sausage Burrito, which has slightly less sodium than the other breakfast sandwiches (790 mg) and is lower in saturated fat.
Experts agree that eating at McDonald’s is fine as a treat here and there, but all say it shouldn’t become a regular habit.
But, when you’re there, choose wisely. Says Keatley: “There is good in everything and McDonald’s is no exception.”