If you are trying to lower your sodium intake but eat frequently from the drive-thru it can be hard to find menu options without all the extra salt!
While eating from home is the best way to control sodium intake, I realize there are times where you might need to visit McDonald’s for a quick meal for when you are on the road or when you forgot to pack your lunch for work.
Below are my top McDonald’s low sodium meal ideas that you can enjoy the next time you place an order.
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Can I Eat Low Sodium at McDonald’s?
Yes! Your overall choices might be more limited, but there are several foods you can pick from that are low sodium at McDonald’s.
The American Heart Association has a Salty 6 list which shows that pizza, breads, processed meats (deli meat, sausages, bacon), soups, and burritos and tacos typically contain the most amount of sodium.
Breaded meats and cheeses are also high in sodium, so if you are trying to make lower sodium food choices at fast food restaurants, those are things you might want to try and avoid.
Knowing that these foods generally have the highest amount of sodium, you can now make lower sodium food choices when ordering even if you don’t have access to a fast food menu.
As a general rule of thumb, I would aim to find a meal with 600mg or less of sodium when eating out if you are trying to stick to a low sodium diet.
Is there Anything Low Sodium at McDonald’s?
While not everything is low sodium, there are some lower sodium choices at McDonalds.
Portion size and making swaps to a meal will also make a big difference in how much sodium a meal has.
For example a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit can drop in sodium if you hold off the cheese or the sausage. A small fry will have much lower amounts of sodium than a large fry.
Condiments also make a big difference! While ketchup, mustard, ranch, or sweet and sour sauce anywhere from 90mg (4%) to 125mg of sodium per packet, the Spicy Buffalo Sauce adds a shocking 520mg (23% daily value) of sodium! That is more sodium than the classic hamburger.
Whats the Lowest Sodium Breakfast at McDonald’s?
The Fruit and Maple Oatmeal has the lowest amount of sodium with only 150mg (7% daily value).
The Egg McMuffin without the American cheese and no butter has the 2nd lowest amount of sodium with 540mg (24% daily value).
The highest sodium breakfast meal is the Big Breakfast with Hotcakes which has 2070mg of sodium and provides over 100% of your daily value for sodium (yikes! if that is breakfast, you still have 2 other meals you need to eat).
What’s the Healthiest Item on the McDonald’s Menu?
The fruit and maple oatmeal is the healthiest item as it is not fried, breaded, or high in sodium. It also is high in fiber, low in calories and does not have a lot of added sugar.
The Strawberry Banana and Mango smoothie both are also healthy as they do not use any added sugar are not fried foods.
How Much Sodium is in a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder?
The Quarter Pounder with cheese has 1140mg of sodium (50% daily value). If you leave off the cheese, the sodium drops to 730mg.
If you don’t care for the bun, leaving off the cheese AND bread will lower the sodium all the way to 470mg (20% daily value). Modifications make all the difference!
Low Sodium Meal Ideas at McDonalds
1. fruit and maple oatmeal (140mg)
2. strawberry banana or mango smoothie (40mg)
3. Egg McMuffin with no bacon or butter + orange juice or coffee (530mg)
1. 6 piece chicken nuggets + apple slices + side salad + water (500mg)
2. Southwest salad with grilled chicken + mango smoothie (640mg)
3. McChicken sandwich + apple slices (560mg)
1. Classic hamburger + side salad (510 mg)
2. Classic hamburger + small fry (700mg) + water
3. Filet-O-Fish without cheese or tartar sauce + apple slices + small fry (560mg)
Laurie is a Registered Dietitian passionate about helping others improve their eating habits and behaviors so that they can thrive in their life, family, and career.