Healthy & Sustainable Fish at McDonald’s?

February 14, 2013   33 Comments

Here we are again, talking about McDonald’s and their marketing prowess. Why do I keep bringing this up?

Fish McBite Nutrition Information

Because, McDonald's is a leader in trying to make us think that what we buy there is actually much better than it is. We can learn from their techniques because so many food manufacturers and restaurants copy their brilliance.

McDonald's started serving a new item called the Fish McBite, and I just had to go and try it. I was happy to hear that fishery for Alaskan pollock is considered sustainable given how much fish McDonald’s must be buying.

Here is the package:

Wild caught fish at McDonald’s? And its from a sustainable fishery? Wow! This is too good to be true.

And, it probably is too good to be true because I made the mistake of listening to NPR this morning. I was bored and driving to work when I heard this chilling investigative program:

Under The Label: Sustainable Seafood

Guess what? Scientists and environmentalists are seriously questioning the standards of this “sustainable fishery” label. It seems the Marine Stewardship Council that awards the label is putting it on fish species that are in severe population decline, such as Alaskan Sockeye Salmon.

Does this upset me? Yes, because I buy fish with that label on it BELIEVING that the fisheries are being regulated so my children will grow up to eat the same fish.


Okay, so at least McDonald’s is serving fish which is supposed to be healthier for you than red meat. The key to making it healthier would be to grill it, but McDonald’s chose to deep fry it.

I will say that I found the Fish McBite inedible, and I will eat almost anything deep fried. It tasted bitter and strange. Do not waste your money.

A regular size of Fish McBites (5 ounces) has these nutrition facts:

370 calories, 20 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 31 g carbohydrates, 1.0 g sugar, 17 g protein, 2 g fiber, 630 mg sodium, 10 Points+

This is BEFORE you add the tartar sauce (AKA mayonnaise). Yikes!!

Stay far far away from the Fish McBite. This product isn't healthy for the earth or your body.

Have you tried the new Fish McBite? What do you think of sustainable fisheries?

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10 POINTS!!! You could 4x the baked fish for 10 Points. I'm not big on fast food and this fully explains why. Wasted points.

To be fair to McDonald's, they are complying with the standards that exist. It's the Marine Stewardship Council that should be called out for this. (I can't believe I'm supporting McDonald's!)

Thanks for the post. I actually saw this advertised the other day, and thought, that doesn't even sound appealing. Thanks for tasting it and letting us know not to try it. (Sorry you had to be the guinea pig, but someone has to. LOL!)

Ugh, I'd been VERY wary of the product -- now I know to stay away.

I've always thought fast food fish was gross. I'd rather eat frozen fish sticks

I also found them inedible and my friend who usually likes this type of food said "I wouldn't waste my money on those again!"

Thank you so much for the review. I probably would have tried them. They've been doing a similar marketing ploy in Ireland for a while regarding both their fish and beef. They know how to make the product "look" good!

I did go try the Fish McBites - totally not expecting low points, etc etc. I absolutely loved them. SO much better than their Filet O Fish..which I'm sure is not that great from a "healthy" meal either! In any case, I never go to any fast food restaurant to stay on track. More of a diversion/treat type thing to keep myself from getting bored!

I never go to McDonalds beacsue it scares me! Every once in a while on the road, my Husband will go there. If I must indulge in the greasy food, I usually get a grilled chicken or a cheeseburger kids meal. There salads are horrible! Had one once and the chicken was purple, yes purple! I gagged when I saw it! As much as I LOVE there french fries, I try to stay away from the place!!! Thanks for the great post! I won't waste my money on the fish or anythign else there!

the term "fish bites" doesn't even sound appealing to me.

Thanks for being brave and tasting them :)

Sustainable or not, McDonald's consistently choose to coat their food in chemicals and deep fry it in toxic oil (canola). It's never a win at McDonald's.

I have tried these based on the advertising and I actually found them to be tasty compared to other fast food fish offerings. I would eat them again if offered but I prefer other choices.

I just want to say that it could have been a bad batch - I only tried them once. They had a very bitter aftertaste and perhaps I should have asked them to make me them again before I pronounced them inedible. I was in a hurry (as you usually are with fast food).

I agree with Debbie Caraballo.

I also did go try the Fish McBites - totally not expecting low points, etc etc. I also absolutely loved them. SO much better than their Filet O Fish..which I'm sure is not that great from a "healthy" meal either! In any case, I never go to any fast food restaurant to stay on track. More of a diversion/treat type thing to keep myself from getting bored!/couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you.

Strangely, Hardee's, who chiefly markets to men with gigantic appetites for greasy foods, has just come out with a grilled fish sandwich, though I don't know the provenance of the fish. Their turkey burger minus the mayo and (sometimes the bun)is comparatively low in WW points, so I sometimes resort to it when desperate!

We do not have a HARDEES in my area.....I used to love their grill burgers and their biscuits and gravy......really they were very good.....try them if you have them there....I only get them when we travel to KY....

I tried the Hardee's grilled fish sandwich just yesterday-although I had stopped eating ther when they changed their advertising campaign to feature scantily clad women making love to their food. I was in a rush to get back to work and wanted something healthier than a burger. The fish was pretty good. The sandwich itself, however was a disappointment:plain white hamburger bun, limp lettuce, thin watery tomato slice and I have a feeling the tarter sauce negated any health benefits eating the grilled fish may have given me. I still would order it again, w/out the tarter sauce, instead of beef or something fried if I were eating fast food.

After watching Dr. Oz this week and finding that fish is one of the big fakes in food, I am hesitant

to eat any fish from anywhere.

A good website to check out is "100 days of Real Food" just the other day they posted about the use of chemicals that are put in foods that are banned in other countries (McDonald's being one of them). Makes me sad that before I knew better I fed my family this. I had never realized that the government felt it was okay to put all the "junk" in food. Since staying away from process foods for the last 10 of years, have not been sick and look and feel so much better. Until people stop eating these types of foods, they will keep making them and as a nation will keep having health issues. Sorry, don't mean to go crazy, just makes me mad that there is no better policies on this.

I grew up eating Filet O' Fish. I didn't like hamburgers much as a kid. I tried the fish bites the other day and they were very yummy. I liked the spices in the batter and the tarter sauce is the same as the sandwich. Call me crazy. I dig the fish bites.

As usual, thank you for your fine work and keeping us all appropriately informed!

You should check this out to find out about food fraud concerning fish.…

Thank you very VERY much for the warning on McDonalds's Fish McBite. It is sad to think that the Marine Stewardship Council is doing such a poor job. We, as a collective world, need to be paying more attention to what we are eating and to how that is effecting the environment and nature...including the severe population decline of the Alaskan Sockeye Salmon.

It's a rare time we ever go to McD's or any fast food place except when we may be traveling and looking for something quick. When we do, I savor every bite!

I crave filet-o-fish as much as I do White Castles. That doesn't mean I eat them all the time. I tried the McBites. Tasty and filling, but a lot of coating.

For me, the McD fish options are a seasonal treat. The fish bites in snack size let me indulge my craving for the seasonal treat in a healthier (smaller) option, especially if I limit my intake of tartar sauce, which is easier to do than on a sandwich.

Wish I'd read your review before I tried them. Yuk!

I was actually looking forward to trying this fish product of McDonald's, good thing I found this blog post and now I know that it's another unhealthy food.

I'm glad I read this cause I was going to try it today. Now I'm not going to. Thanks

Eating a regular size right now as a matter of fact. Tastes great and loving every bite! Nom nom nom nom

If you want a good fish sandwich, try WENDY'S fish's white cod and delicious......had 2 last week.....kinda pricey......could eat one a day lol.....but I know not that good for you either.....they only have them during LENT, so if you'd like to try one, better do it soon.....don't know why they don't carry them year round.........I never eat at Wendy's, don't really care for their food that much.......but the fish is worth going there now.....

I think they are pretty good. We never go to mcdonalds but i was curious and it was friday during lent. I would get them again. Btw. Its the tarter sauce that is bitter

I found this review when searching nutritional info. This is the only item I actually enjoy eating at McD's. The regular portion is HUGE, I can eat the snack size (with ketchup, not tartar) as a meal with apple slices and a bottle of water. The big idea here, for me, is that the fish portion outweighs breading. I hate getting fast food popcorn chicken that is more than half breading. The couple times that I have gotten McBites, there's a LOT of fish:breading ratio.

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