9 McDonald’s Meal Ideas Under 500 Calories

MIANYANG, CHINA - May 31: A Logo of McDonalds at a restaurant in MianYang, China on May 31, 2013.McDonald's is one of the main fast-food restaurant chain in China.

9 McDonald’s Meal Ideas Under 500 Calories

If you’re looking for some lighter meal options at McDonald’s, you’re in the right place. For some McDonald’s meal ideas that are under 500 calories, you’ll want to steer clear of items like the Big Breakfast® with Hotcakes. With steaming hotcakes, biscuits, hash browns, sausage patties, scrambled eggs, and the works (syrup, and three kinds of butter), this meal alone comes to 1,340 calories. For context, the recommended calorie count for grown adults is between 2,000 and 2,500 per day (via NHS). This means that the heavier-calorie items on the McDonald’s menu account for over half the caloric limit, and that’s just one meal! So, what are some of the McDonald’s meal ideas that are under 500 calories?

In this post, we’ll do a deep dive into some of the lighter-calorie meal options at McDonald’s. Get a better idea of what meals among McDonald’s classic burgers, milkshakes, and fry combos stay under 500 calories. If you’re going to enjoy some McDonald’s, it’s best to stick to the options that won’t topple the recommended daily calorie limit. There are healthy ways to navigate the Golden Arches, and we’re here to provide the roadmap. So, read on to learn about the McDonald’s meal ideas that are under 500 calories—let’s get into it.

1. Grilled Chicken Salad

A delicious chicken caesar salad with parmesan cheese, dressing and croutons.

This one may be the most obvious choice but the Grilled Chicken Salad from McDonald's is one of the healthier menu items. This fresh salad with grilled chicken and 4.5 oz of Dasani® water comes to only 256 calories. It has 23 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbohydrates, and 610 milligrams of sodium. All those numbers are well within the appropriate nutrient and mineral intake levels for a meal of this kind from a fast food restaurant.

2. Sausage McMuffin®

Chicken Burger and Sausage McMuffin. - Image

Next up we have the Sausage McMuffin® which is comprised of a wholegrain McMuffin® with sausage, a fruit cup, and a cup of the McCafe® coffee. The calorie count for this menu item is 355, with 21 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat, 41 grams of carbohydrates, and 740 milligrams of sodium.

3. Egg McMuffin®

Person Holding Breakfast Sandwich with Egg Ham Bacon and Cheese on Toasted English Muffin

The classic Egg McMuffin® stands at 366 calories for a wholegrain Egg McMuffin®, a fruit cup, and the McCafe® coffee. It has 23 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat, 41 grams of carbohydrates, and 670 milligrams of sodium. It's important to check how ingredients change the overall nutritional counts because while this item has 11 more calories than the sausage McMuffin®, it also has less sodium.

4. Cheeseburger Meal

Double cheeseburger isolated on white background
The cheeseburger alone is relatively low in calories compared to other menu items.

An even more classic menu item is the McDonald's Cheeseburger, which is surprisingly low in calories given its reputation. This cheeseburger comes to 396 calories, with two buns, a burger patty, melted cheese, a fruit cup, and a 4.5 oz bottle of Dasani® water. It has 21 grams of protein, 13 grams of fat, 50 grams of carbohydrates, and 810 milligrams of sodium. Note that the recommended daily intake of sodium is 2,300 milligrams (via FDA). It would only take 3 of these burgers to be over that number!

5. Filet-O-Fish®

Fish Burger With Vegetables And White Sauce Isolated On White Background

McDonald's Filet-O-Fish® has 403 calories and includes this seafood sandwich, a fruit cup, and a cup of McCafe® coffee. There are 15 grams of protein, 13 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbohydrates, and 570 milligrams of sodium.

6. Grilled Chicken McWrap

classic tortilla wrap with grilled chicken

The Grilled Chicken McWrap comes with a whole grain wrap, crispy chicken, garden side salad, and a bottle of Dasani® water. It has 426 calories, with 25 grams of protein, 18 grams of fat, 41 grams of carbohydrates, and a whopping 1,060 milligrams of sodium. That's close to half the recommended limit.

7. Sausage McMuffin® With Eggs

Chicken Burger and Sausage McMuffin. - Image
The Sausage McMuffin® with eggs versus without has a rather large calorie difference.

This is another example of how one ingredient can really change the nutritional makeup of an item. Just adding some eggs to the Sausage McMuffin® with the McCafe® coffee ups the calorie count to 434. It has 28 grams of protein, 17 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbohydrates, and 820 milligrams of sodium.

8. Chicken Muffin

english muffin with chicken sausage and egg

The Chicken Muffin has 482 calories, with 22 grams of protein and 21 grams of fat. It has 50 grams of carbohydrates and 930 milligrams of sodium. This meal comes with a wholegrain roasted chicken muffin, a fruit cup, and a McCafe® roast coffee.

9. McChicken®

Chicken Sandwich

And, lastly, clocking in at 483 calories, we have the McChicken® meal that comes with a fruit cup and Dasani® water. This classic McChicken® sandwich has 19 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat. There are 61 grams of carbohydrates and 860 milligrams of sodium. It would only take 3 of these delicious sandwiches to be over the recommended daily sodium intake as per the FDA guidelines.

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