What a Registered Dietitian Orders for Breakfast at McDonald’s

April 27, 2015   18 Comments

I am proud to say that many registered dietitians are Snack Girl readers as well as friends.

What to Order: McDonalds Breakfast

They avoid McDonald’s.

BUT, sometimes they get stuck and find themselves faced with the McDonald’s menu. They advise clients what to get there as well.

Here is their advice (and you have to special order):

If you order an Egg McMuffin with TWO eggs, no cheese, and no meat – it works out to 310 calories, 19 grams of protein, and 310 grams of sodium – not bad at all for McDonald’s.

I talk a bit in the video about how this costs me $5 versus the Sausage McMuffin -$1. The Sausage McMuffin has a ridiculous amount of saturated fat.

What do you order at McDonald’s for breakfast?

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I am an RD too. I used to stop at McD once a week because I work offsite that day. I ordered oatmeal, fruit and nuts, skim milk, no sugar, black coffee. One reason I stopped going--they got my order wrong almost every time. Now I go to the main office, make my oatmeal with banana, blueberries, soy milk, and nuts, easy and tasty. Then I go to the other site.

I get an egg mcmuffin or the egg white mcmuffin. I do eat the cheese but throw away the bacon. I get the fruit and yogurt parfait to go with it.

I will order and Egg White Delight, that is the only thing I even enjoy from McDonald's. I do not eat there as a rule.

I am afraid Penny has the worst breakfast from McD's. For instance, egg white has very few vitamins and minerals but 1/2 the protein of a whole egg.

Nutrition in egg yolks (1 cup):
Vitamin A 3504 IU 70%
Vitamin C 0.0mg 0%
Vitamin D 260 IU 65%
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)6.3mg 31%
Vitamin K1.7mcg 2%
Thiamin 0.4mg2 9%
Riboflavin 1.3mg 75%
Niacin 0.1mg 0%
Vitamin B60.9mg 43%
Folate355mcg 89%
Vitamin B1 24.7mcg 79%
Pantothenic Acid7.3mg 73%
Choline 1658 mg
Betaine 2.2mg
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV 1 Cup
Calcium 313mg 31%
Iron 6.6 mg 37%
Magnesium 12.2mg 3%
Phosphorus 948mg 95%
Potassium 265mg 8%
Sodium 117mg 5%
Zinc 5.6mg 37%
Copper 0.2mg 9%
Manganese 0.1mg 7%
Selenium 136mcg 194%

If one eats the egg yolk, one is getting a large amount of nutrition plus 1/2 the protein of the whole egg. Most importantly, eggs have antioxidants including lutein. Lutein helps to prevent macular degeneration which may cause blindness.

I can't imagine throwing out bacon. Bacon has no trans fat and only 1 gram of fat per slice and 3 grams of protein. Also, bacon has omegas:

Total Omega-3 fatty acids14.6mg

Total Omega-6 fatty acids318mg

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Frankly, I would throw out the muffin which is the carbohydrates or at least 1/2 the muffin. Eggs help to reduce belly fat but carbs put it back on.

Yogurt Parfait:

80 grams of sodium, 30 grams of carbs, 23 grams of sugar, 150 calories 20 from fat, 15 grams of vitamin C and 10 grams of calcium.

All one needs to do is a search on the Internet for nutritional values for McDonald's food and all the information is there.

So, an egg white McMuffin with bacon and cheese, and a yogurt parfait would be 620 calories and over 1550 mg of sodium (nearly an entire amount recommended amount for one day). Very low in nutrition, high in carbs and sodium.

Not the worst but the sodium keeps me from fast food. It is loaded with salt.

So, I hope Penny keeps the bacon and orders the whole egg and tosses 1/2 or all the muffin.

One slice of American processed "cheese" is 69 calories 26 mg per slice, 2 g of carbs, and 4 gr of protein, but has a small amount of vit. A and some calcium.

What will one have for dinner when most of the daily sodium has been consumed along with high carbs and fat? A salad? Watch out for sodium and sugar in that salad dressing.

There you have the facts.

My daughter just likes eggs and we have been successful at ordering off there alacart menu. We just order two round eggs ( they will give though scrambled egg if you don't say round). Then they sell toasted English muffins as well as there biscuits plain. So I'm curious if you ordered it that way. Dry English muffin and two round eggs What the cost would be? Just a idea because I know wording and how you order makes a big difference sometime. Just a thought.

I don't do McDonald's for breakfast (or really any time). If I did I'd probably go for the breakfast sandwich on the English muffin.

I agree with the above--best to go with the whole egg!

RD here too. I don't make it that complicated. To me, McD's is a treat (that's 2-3X a year!), a little guilty pleasure to remind me of childhood roadtrips with my family. I just keep it under 600 calories. I don't think I've ever ordered anything other than a Happy Meal, even at 39!! I guess my only other rule, is that the kids are never in the car with me when this occurs. They have no clue what the Golden Arches are (Starbucks and Target yes, ha ha!)

I would rather starve than eat breakfast
no thank you. never. ever.

Thanks for providing options, Snack Girl!

As a registered dietitian I'm all about helping people find the best option for them, wherever their life takes them, without judgment.

The reality is many of us will have a McDonald's opportunity--or two, in our adult lives. Thanks for arming Snack Girl fans with this helpful advice!-Elizabeth Anderson MA, RD

I'm with you @sassygirl! Just say no to McD's!

When I was in Great Lakes for the Navy I used to get a breakfast sandwich on a bagel then I got to my duty station and I used to get the breakfast burrito. Not the little ones, but there was a bigger one, but now I don't go there for breakfast at all.

I order egg white delight with extra egg whites, add tomatoe, minus the butter and cheese. I treat myself the Canadian. I eat the sandwich open face. I order a large coffee and ask for 1% in place of half and half and more often than not they'll give me a carton of 1%. I eat this about 1 time a week or less.


Thanks for the info on a healthier breakfast option at McDonald's Snack Girl! Just to clarify, is the sodium for the Egg McMuffin 310 grams or 390. When I read 310 in your article I thought that was alot, but then I believe I heard you say 390 in your video which was even more than I expected. Just wondering. Thanks for the all you do to make us aware of better, healthier ways to eat!

Why not just order 2 of the $1 sausage mcmuffins and throw away what you don't want...and for me that would include the muffin! Good advice on eating the yolk...where all the good stuff is!

@ELizabeth Anderson RD, Isn't it your job to be judgmental and steer people to foods that are good for them? That said, everyone's dietary needs are different. What do you recommend for those with borderline diabetes or a diagnosis of diabetes. Would you recommend any foods at McDonald's?

Just curious, I don't mean to put you on the spot but not all dietitians give good advice in my experience.

I have communicated with registered dietitians who recommend only the Paleo diet and some Atkins, and some give exactly the same advice to each individual. So, I hope you don't mind me asking what methodology you follow. Thanks : )

Here is the info on McD's nutrition to help you decide what is healthier.…

A regular Egg McMuffin had 750 mg of sodium

Sausage Egg McMuffin has 780 mg

Steak and Egg McMuffin 960 mg

Sausage with Egg White McMuffins are 880 mg.

Not sure where I got the larger number previously but I may have read the biscuit breakfasts which are more sodium.

Hope this helps. : )

I'm with @sassygirl and @janet... No one in the western world ever need be that hungry that they eat Macdonalds. They've destroyed rain forests and blood pressure all around the globe. Just don't do it.

Still you make an interesting point @snackgirl as always!


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