McDonald's Makeover? The New Chicken Classic (350 Calories)

August 24, 2011   57 Comments

What is this? A new addition to the McDonald's menu called the "Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich" has arrived.

McDonald's Chicken Sandwich Review

The photo above is one that I purchased for $4.70 at my local McDonald's. Look at that lettuce and tomato! And, the chicken is not a McNugget or other concocted form - it is an actually a piece of chicken breast.

The bun advertises 8 grams of whole grain and there is just some mayo to remind you that you are at McDonald's :)

Here are the nutrition facts:

350 calories, 9 g fat, 42 g carbohydrates, 28 g protein, 3 g fiber, 820 mg sodium, 9 Points+

The ingredients are listed below and the list is rather, well, lengthy. What I find so interesting is that this is an attempt at a pretty healthy sandwich. When you compare it to the 800 calorie (21 Points+) Angus Chipotle BBQ Bacon burger - the chicken sandwich looks virtuous.

Did it taste good? Yes, it did. I was forced at gun point back to McDonald's this week and I had this sandwich with mustard (zero calories) instead of the mayo. It is a bit salty, but I liked it.

You see, my kids love the big plastic play thingy that graces the front of our McDonald's and they beg me to take them there. Given my job and all that I know about fast food, I should just tell them to forget it - but they are so persistent!

My suggestion is that if you are, like me, stopping by McDonald's once a month you should:

  • Avoid the fries, soda, and shakes
  • Get your kids the apple dippers and milk
  • Donate to a green organization after you toss all that packaging

When you order make sure you order the CLASSIC chicken sandwich. The other versions contain things like bacon and cheese and before you know it - 350 calories is just a distant memory.

Have you tried this new sandwich?

Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich Ingredients:

New Grilled Chicken Fillet: Boneless skinless chicken breast fillets with rib meat, water, seasoning (rice starch, salt, sugar, yeast extract, canola oil, onion powder, maltodextrin, chicken skin, paprika, flavor, sunflower oil, chicken, garlic powder, chicken fat, spices), sodium phosphates. Prepared with Liquid Margarine: Liquid soybean oil and hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color). CONTAINS: SOY LECITHIN.

Bakery Style Bun: Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, whole wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup, honey, wheat gluten, contains 2% or less of the following: yeast, soybean oil, maltodextrin (dietary fiber), salt, calcium sulfate, dough conditioners (wheat flour, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, sodium stearoyl lactylate, mono and diglycerides, enzymes, calcium peroxide), ammonium sulfate, natural flavor (botanical source), calcium propionate (preservative), vitamin D3, rolled wheat (topping). CONTAINS: WHEAT.

Mayonnaise Dressing: Water, soybean oil, distilled vinegar, maltodextrin, food starch-modified, enzyme modified egg yolk, salt, sugar, xanthan gum, mustard flour, potassium sorbate (preservative), lemon juice concentrate, polysorbate 80, natural flavor (animal source), calcium disodium EDTA to protect flavor, beta carotene (color).

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I've had it and I think it tasted like they injected the chicken with a chicken bullion cube. I was rather disgusted by it and won't be getting it again.

I just don't get why something as simple as a chicken filet has to have all of those ingredients!?

I find it funny that the 'seasoning' for the skinless chicken breast includes chicken skin and chicken fat.. :)

This is a bit better than most other selections at McD's for its proximity to real food.. It's nice of them to try.

I'd still rather have the locally grown chickens raised in pasture that I get from a nearby farm, with tomatoes and peppers from my back yard. I must admit I don't make my bread or my mayo, but I try to get the best wheat buns I can get..


Great article. Any idea how many points the sandwich has without the mayo?

I will eat a lot of "unvirtuous" stuff, but hydrodgenated oils is where I draw the line

Sometimes McDonald's is the only option. In those cases, I'd go for this (and toss the bun) or one of their salads w/grilled chicken. The food quality is poor, especially for someone used to fresh local/organic produce and higher-quality meat, but at least you can control the calories and nutrient content (in my case, carbs.) I think the chicken breast itself is pretty bad, though. It's way too salty, and no one needs all those chemicals and preservatives in the "seasoning." But, as I said, sometimes it's the best you can do.

Who knew that chicken breast could be so complicated? I'll admit, though, that it does look good. The problem is usually that when you actually get there, you get lifeless lettuce and tasteless tomatoes.

This is silly, but I'm pretty sure that the forty pounds I lost after I went vegetarian all came from not eating the McDonalds dollar double cheeseburger. That thing is the bane of college students! This is nicer, though I never did care much for grilled chicken. It tastes funny.

Sure looks dry! love their murderous fries!! lol!! That's about it though.

I think McDonald's is gross. I haven't been in one for about 6 or 7 months now. The smell of the restaurants gross me out. The food is basically disgusting. But if I had to go in and wanted something to eat I'd probably get the Classic chicken sandwich and a small fries and a lemonade. I always found the Classic chicken kind of spendy tho at $4.50

Seriously, artifical color in grilled chicken??? Tht chicken is also probably the cheap hormone injected kind. I'd never step foot in a Mcdonalds.

Oops, I meant artificial flavor not color.

I can go for Micky D's whenever I'm feeling bad, and "healthy" food just isn't gonna cut it. My thought is once in a great moon isn't going to kill anyone. And their Apple Pie is to DIE FOR!!

From an annoucement about a proposed rule by the USDA/FSIS to label raw meat:. A petition submitted by the Truthful Labeling Coalition (TLC) compared the sodium content in 4 ounces of a single ingredient, raw poultry product to 4 ounces of a poultry product with added solution and found a more than eightfold increase in the amount of sodium between the two, 45 mg and 370 mg, respectively.

On a recent road trip with my hubby, I was "forced" to eat at McD's. I opted for the chipotle chicken (grilled) wrap, minus the cheese. Although I didn't order the fries (my downfall most of the time), I did manage to steal a few that came with my hubby's big mac. It didn't seem like much to eat at first but afterwards, I was pretty satisfied. I'm not sure how "lite" it was but at least I didn't feel guilty afterwards like I do with most of their menu items.

After seeing all those ingredients, I went to the McDonalds web site to check out the stats on the bun and chicken. Apparently 200 of the 350 calories come from the bun alone! Good call on dropping the mayo which is 50 calories.

I would eat this low-carb style - just lettuce, tomato, mustard and chicken and it would be 100 calories, 2 grams of carbohydrates (1g fiber)

But that's a lot of money for a chicken breast, a slice of tomato and a leaf of lettuce :(

Reason 1,850 NOT to eat at McDonald's, look at the ingredients. Not that I'm judging, I bought my kids McDonald's the other day but, like you suggest I get apple dippers in place of fries. They love apple dippers. We order off the $1.00 to avoid extra food that goes to waste and we do not order sodas or shakes. All that said, I feel very guilty giving into that option for them, when I won't eat there.

I ate this a few weeks ago. I had a long night of driving ahead and needed something I could eat while on the highway. It was 'emergency food'. When I looked and realized it was under 400 calories I figured 'why not' and the good news is I had no stomach issues or I consider it a win (even though if given the choice I'd choose any other chicken sandwich when NOT in a pinch like that).

Even if I were a starving poor person, I'd NEVER eat ANYTHING from Mcdonalds. I'd rather starve to death. I'm not even kidding. I wouldn't even drink their cheap water (unless it's filtered or alkalized, which I higly doubt it is).

I am often the "odd man out" in restaurant/food situations. This is often my choice. I get it with only lettuce and tomato. The cashier gives me that *side eye* glance because I don't want it slathered with mayo but...I haven't had one in about 6 months so I'm doing even better staying totally away from McDonald's.

Sooo not a fan of McDonald's. I don't care how much it's promoted as "healthy" - it's McDonald's. There's no such thing. I rather eat at a dive Chinese takeout place food lathered in oil than step food in a McDonald's for a stinkin' water.

I have not eaten in a McDonald's for almost over a year (just got to wait until November-December and it's a year :D) and I'm glad that I haven't. It's disgusting what they put in those so-called 'foods'. I remember reading a comment on a Youtube video (about a Pizza Hut in China), the comment said that China's food is all full of chemicals...they should look at this ingredient list, and Oreos, and all that other stuff. As a matter of fact...I haven't eaten out for over a month...and when I did, it was my uncle's Pho restaurant...

-Kathy from

Even if I were a starving poor person, I would NEVER eat ANYTHING from mcdonalds!! I'm not even kidding. I wouldn't even drink their cheap water (unless it's filtered or alkalized which I doubt it is). air conditioned playgrounds for kids. Healthy salads. Free refills on unsweetened iced tea. Happy meals with lowfat milk, apples, and a cheese sandwich (which is what my daughter gets). Staff who will happily accommodate all my weird requests. I don't get the McDonald's hate - except if it's to win the healthier-than-thou comment competition.

That seems to be the norm on here a lot however - to top the next person with how perfectly they _always_ eat. Lighten up - and not just on your porcelain fair trade handmade salad plates. You'll live longer.

BTW - their water is sealed bottled Dasani water.

Now I know why I break out in hives when I try eating their chicken when I have no other option but a mcdonalds to choose from. Never thought there would be that many ingredients in a chicken breast!!! Holy cow!!

I'm with Jen on this one - why all the hate? If you don't like McD's, fine, but then why comment at all? I just don't get it. :/

You mean unsanitary playground for kids, conventional lettuce with pesticides, not organic milk, and fake-cheese sandwhiches.

And I don't drink bottled water. The plastic bottled waters are bad for the environment, and the water is not filtered or alkalized.

And you should read this about Dasani and their bottled water:…


@Jennifer, I don't think it's a 'Healthier-than-thou comment competition'. It's a reality check. We'll live longer if we eat clean..and I'm pretty sure McDonald's would not be considered clean. Lot's of preservatives and chemicals used to keep their "fresh" food fresh.

Thank you for providing another option for the times when there's not a lot of choices and I have to eat fast food! I had the Carl's Jr. turkey burger recently and it was really good (not sure about health content but I figured it was better than a regular burger).

And I think it's great so many other commenters don't eat at McDonald's and fast food, but the majority of people do every now and then. I'd rather know what's a better choice to make when that's my only option.

For a chicken breast, it sure has a lot of ingredients. I remember watching Food Inc., and one of the people interviewed said that if a third grader can't pronounce what's in it, you probably shouldn't eat it. Chicken just needs to be chicken, period. However, at least they are trying. If I were in a pinch, I'd go this route.

Unsanitary playground *lol* c' playground is sanitary. How often do you think the swings and playsets at your town or school playground are cleaned if you are lucky to have one?

McDonalds is a "sometimes" food, but I am glad they have options which fit into my lifestyle and they will continue to get my business. The occasional bottled water never hurt anyone. I can't even believe I'm even responding to that LMAO.

If you look on their website for their hamburger's ingredients btw, the only thing which has a long list is the bun. Incidentally the cheese does look nasty but again - it's an occasional treat. My 7 year old who runs like the wind, is advanced in math, and has no allergies or is ever sick will live. Happily.

Snack girl, sorry for the controversy and thank you for an great and informative article!

I would assume the hating on McDonald's has less to do with a healthy competition, but the bad rap in general that the company has. I personally have not been to a McDonald's or other typical fast food chains (occasionally Sonic - the damn novelty of it) in 5 years by choice because their principles as a corporation are frightening to me. They are a prototypical "evil corporation" and I won't even buy a soda there. But it is difficult to avoid fast food completely, as it's convenient, and I also don't have children yet. As I said, I do occasionally stop at Sonic for the convenience, and I tell myself that it being a smaller fast food chain should ease my guilt - not sure of the accuracy there haha. I'd recommend anyone read up on McDonald's and the kind of things people bash them for. It goes beyond the issue of fattening food.

I think that it is awesome that McDonald's is revamping their menu! Hopefully a lot more food chains will follow suit!

@Lia - BINGO! And Thank you!

Hello! Water bottles ARE bad for our environment (look it up). I can't believe that anyone could let their kids go in those disgusting playlands that smell like pee and sweaty feet (YUCK) and let them consume such unhealthy, greasy, artery-clogging "food".

Eew Kathryn. You must live in a really bad area because the McDonald's play areas by me are really nice. What kind of town are you letting your kids grow up in???

I'd also like to add that I do think it's great that places like McDonald's are adding healthier options to their menus and giving people quick food options that aren't as fattening, especially for kids. This is also great because it shows that even a company as powerful as McDonald's is very much willing to hear what WE as consumers are demanding. That's power and progress.

How much cholesterol in the chicken, minus the mayo?

Well thts how I remember the playlands being. I live in Seattle Washington (it's a very nice area). And I'm 15 so I don't have any kids (thank god).

I prefer Sonic or Wendy's OR even Carl's Jr. grilled chicken sandwiches.

Finally something I can order at McDonalds' and enjoy and not feel guilty about. Get the mustard and skip the mayo; toss the bun and I'm happy.

Oh. Well when you're a grownup and if you have kids (or you are watching a friend's or a sibling's), and it's raining and they are going bonkers because they need to blow off steam, those play areas and a McDonalds cup of coffee or tea and a salad are going to look mighty good!

The play areas here are gorgeous. Multi story climbing structures. One of them is done up like a huge tree in a jungle.

We are not big fast food people. We eat fast food maaaybe once a month. But, I will say fast food has changed, and McDonalds gets credit from me for doing things like having a mobile site which takes you right to the nutrition, and nutrition listings that let you remove ingredients (like the bun!) and recalculate.

And I can feel better knowing if I do cave and let my kid have some fries she's going to burn them off almost immediately playing -which is a life skill which will keep her slimmer throughout her life than complete denial.

It's a perspective thing ^_^.

Move on Jennifer. You love McD's...we get it.

Lori - and you hate it. We get it. Don't like what I'm writing? Scroll past and/or turn off notifications. I don't know why you would keep checking back or getting notified on a topic which isn't relevant to you since you don't eat at McDonalds - unless you're looking for drama.

You know, we are all on the same journey toward healthier eating. We all grow and learn and are at different phases of that journey. We should encourage one another and show a little grace.. just sayin'.. :)

The September 2011 issue of Cooking Light has a coupon for a free McDonald's premium chicken sandwich.

WoW! Who knew there was so much 'controversy' here - and I'm not talking about the chicken sandwich - LOL. Almost better than a novel thanks to those who shall remain un-named....all that aside - THANKS SNACK GIRL for bringing us the info because sometimes I just want to be wicked and grab a fast meal - good to see my options!

No I don't eat at mc.d's but that's because I don't eat meat and they don't offer anything vegitarian, not even their salad!! They recently took out the beef lard from their fries in canada but probably better to skip it, LOL. Now I don't see a problem with occationally letting my kids go there. They usually get a kids burger with apples, milk and the toy of course. Then they play while I drink a coffee (lard free). I serve my kids whole foods, lots of fruit and veggies and meat without hormones at home, where they eat most of the time. But I also let them have treats which sometimes is mommy buying a new veggy at the store, artichokes are a big hit, and sometimes it's going to mc.d's or another fast food place. I do like that mcd's is trying to move towards healthy food. I don't like that it's so processed! It disturbs me to go in with my kids and see parents buying 5 year olds big mac meals, but can we put all the blaim on Mc.d's?? This summer my girls and I walked from our house, played at the play place at mc.d's and had their sundae (the small one) as a treat. We had fun, burned calories and had some inexpensive fun. And i much prefer the food offered here for kids then some of the kids menus at many restarants!!

How does the bun have 8g of whole grains when the first ingredient is "enriched flour" and the second ingredient is "water". You don't get to whole wheat flour until the 3rd ingredient. I guess maybe the bun is massive.

Not sure how you can ever get away from all the nutrition and consumerism issues all the time if you want to live in this society. Case in point. You suggest getting a small toy for your child from a place like Wal Mart or say Dollarama? What about the origins of that toy? Cheap, these days makes me wary of a number of questionable ethical standards that may have helped bring that toy to our shelves.

Seriously - its a chicken sandwich from McDonalds. If people are that concerned and frustrated - choose an alternative. I say McDonalds is on the right road to helping people who would have otherwise made poor choices an option. And hey - add a few hundred calories for the bun - if you are exercising and watching your output - you need them. My lunch today was this sandwich (which I scraped off much of the mayo) and a side salad without dressing. Not enough calories to call it a lunch, but a tasty quick stop so I wasn't starving during my busy day. Take it or leave it for what it is.

I was in a rush went to McDonalds and brought my daughter a Premium Chicken sandwich was so upset because she is a picky eater and she pulls her food apart and inside was what looked to me to be a maget or some type of worm I took it back asked the manager what is was and she told me it was gristel from the chicken showed it to other coworkers we all feel it was a worm of some kind never again is all I can say

This stupid crispy chicken sandwich a bun, some meat, t

three pickles, and butter and that what they brought me that is not even a sandwich what rip off

Hmmm... that actually doesn't look too bad, but I'd prefer to eat a semi-homemade version :)

While on an all day school field trip my class stopped at a McDonalds for breakfast and I bought some oatmeal, which was surprisingly, quite tasty. Later that week I looked up a copycat recipe and made a few changes and it was just as delicious.

Had an absolutely delicious Classic Chicken Sandwich yesterday and never thought it would have any preservatives, however I got so dizzy I couldn't stand and am still sick today since I'm very intolerant to preservatives of any kind. So disappointed!

I order sausage egg mcmuffin no bun, and no cheese. The sausage patty has pretty good ingredients, and the eggs are real. I order salads, but no dressing. the dressings are full of harmful ingredients.

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