What do I order from McDonalds if I have diabetes?
Fast food is sometimes necessary. It could be a road trip, a busy day of work or running errands, or maybe it just sounds good. Regardless of the reason, if you have diabetes, food choices become more complicated. Will this affect my blood sugar? What can I order that won’t cause a spike?
To make things even more complicated, McDonalds dropped several of their seemingly “healthier” choices last year! In order to simplify the menu, no longer can you get salad, a snack wrap, or a grilled chicken sandwich. Ok then, well what does that leave us with? There are still choices that you can order at McDonalds for diabetes and blood sugar management.
So carbohydrates are the main concern when we think about food and diabetes. When we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose. This glucose goes into the blood stream, and our body needs to process it. Too much carbohydrate (and therefore glucose) at one time leads to blood sugar spikes.
Why does all of this matter? Consistently high blood sugars can lead to some health issues down the road like kidney problems, eyesight problems, and heart disease.
Our main goal when choosing foods from McDonalds for diabetes is to think about the total carbohydrate it contains, as well as if it has protein to help slow digestion and keep blood sugars more stable.
Our carb goal for the purpose of this blog is for a meal to be less than 45 grams of carbohydrate. Typically, I set goals with clients to be between 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate, but it definitely depends on the person. Everyone responds differently to carbohydrate foods. Moral of the story is to work with a dietitian to figure out what is right for your body!
Our blog series goes beyond what to eat at McDonalds for diabetes. Check out these other blogs below. Keep scrolling for our 12 favorite options to order at McDonalds!
12 Options to Order at McDonalds
All of the breakfast sandwiches are less than 45 grams of carbohydrate, but biscuits and McGriddles are on the higher end. I would opt for the english muffin or burrito to have room for a side or espresso drink.
Egg McMuffin (30 g) + Small cappuccino (9 g) = 39 g carbohydrate
Sausage burrito (25 g) + Hash brown (18 g) = 43 g carbohydrate
Fruit and Maple Oatmeal without cranberry blend or cream = 46 g carbohydrate
Lunch or Dinner
This is where the lack of salads makes me sad. A salad was a decent low carb option that also provided some fiber. But we can’t dwell in the past. In order to stay under 45 g carbs, most sandwiches are on their own (meaning no sides). Want the fries? Pair them with chicken nuggets for protein.
Quarter Pounder Deluxe = 44 g carbohydrate
Filet-O-Fish = 39 g carbohydrate
McChicken (ordered without mayo) = 38 g carbohydrate
McDouble (33 g) + 2 bags of apple slices (8 g) = 41 g carbohydrate
6 piece McNugget (15 g) + small fry (29 g) = 44 g carbohydrate
Running through the drive thru for something small to tide you over? Do the kids want to stop for something? You don’t have to feel left out! Here’s some small bites to order:
Small fry = 29 g carbohydrate (or a kids size for 15 g carb)
Vanilla Cone = 33 g carbohydrate
4 piece Chicken McNugget = 10 g carbohydrate
Hamburger = 31 g carbohydrate
Ordering at any fast food restaurant, including McDonalds, for diabetes management can leave you feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Not knowing if you can enjoy a convenient meal when you need it fast. With a little extra information about how food effects blood sugar, we can help you feel confident ordering at any restaurant.
Did you know that large chain restaurants are required to make their nutrition facts available? McDonalds does a great job of making this information clear. If you want to check out your favorite items, go to their nutrition calculator
. You can also uncheck certain ingredients for each item and see how it affects the carb count. For example, ordering the oatmeal without the cranberry blend or a burger without ketchup.
Blog reviewed and updated February 2023