Now, I know what you’re thinking – is it EVER possible to have a meal from McDonald’s and it actually be classed as “healthy”?
If you had asked me when I was back at university, stumbling home with 20 chicken nuggets and a Big Mac after a night out at Oceana in Southampton, I probably would’ve laughed.
But here I am, one Thursday summer’s day taking a trip to my local McDonald’s to seek out the most balanced and healthiest meal combo I could find.
As someone who doesn’t eat a lot of meat in everyday life (sans testing out the McSpicy a few weeks ago), my options were whittled down nicely.
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I did inspect the menu online and came across a section where they’ve created meals that come under both 400 and 600 calories, as well as a breakfast option too.
So for under 400 calories you can either get four Veggie Dippers pieces, or six Chicken McNuggets, Fillet-o-Fish with a side salad and a bottle of water.
Or chow down on a Crispy Chicken Salad Meal with a Coke Zero.
Now these aren’t bad options, but if you’re looking for a burger of the beef variety – you can kiss that healthy meal goodbye.
If you want to stretch the meal a bit further but still keeping under 600 calories, you can get a Vegetable Deluxe, the Spicy Veggie One wrap, McChicken Sandwich, or Chicken Legend with Hot & Spicy Mayo with either a side salad or bag of carrots.
Upon closer inspection at McDonald’s, I actually found that the Veggie Deluxe burger was in fact unhealthier than a Fillet-o-Fish?!
So off I went with my medium Fillet-o-Fish with their Side Salad Meal, and instead of a bottle of water, I got a cheeky Diet Coke.
Before you say I’ve defeated the point – the ordering screen at McDonald’s said that a medium sized Diet Coke was only one calorie, so I feel like it was safe.
However, I felt cheated when it came to my drink.
Now I’m not one to complain often about food, but there was a substantial amount of my Diet Coke that seemed to be missing before I’d even drank any!
But anyway, they might have done me a favour and knocked off a calorie.
As someone who doesn’t eat McDonald’s as often as she did whilst at university (or rather, I am now more likely to eat it sober than I was as a student), the lunch was pleasant and edible, for which I’m truly grateful.
But everything just felt a bit too small – but that’s what you get if you try to eat a balanced McDonald’s meal. You just have to make those sacrifices.
As a whole my lunch came to a total of 345 kcals, which I think is a pretty good attempt at trying to be “balanced”, as a lunchtime meal is generally recommended to be between 300 and 400 calories.
A portion of food, some veg – although calling it that might be a stretch if I’m honest, as it was two pieces of cucumber, a slice of tomato and a handful of lettuce leaves – some carbs and a whole dose of salt.
When looking at the nutritional value of my lunch as individual items, the Fillet-o-Fish contains 329 calories, the Side Salad had 15 and, like I’d previously said, the Diet Coke had one calorie.
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But while buying a Maccies meal that stays under 400 calories was actually fairly easy, you do scrimp on size.
So if you have a decent sized appetite, you might find yourself going a bit hungry.
It’s probably not the go-to healthy meal choice, but it’s 100 per cent doable.
What combo will you be trying? Let us know in the comments below.
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