High-Protein McDonald’s Items

High-Protein McDonald’s Foods

Many of my clients lead fast-paced lives, juggling work, family, and many other commitments. It can be challenging to maintain a balanced diet as they embark on their weight-loss journey.

Fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s often become their go-to option for a quick and convenient meal.

So, I made it my project to find high-protein meals that are adequate in calories. That way, they can still support their weight-loss efforts even when they visit this fast-food chain.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how to make the most of your McDonald’s visits while prioritizing high-protein choices. We’ll uncover some surprising options on the menu that can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals without sacrificing taste or convenience.

Nutrition information was obtained from the McDonald’s nutrition calculator.

Quarter pounder with cheese305202642
Quarter pounder without cheese254201840
McDouble with cheese224002033
Double cheesebuger254502434
Chicken McNuggests234102426
Nutrient comparison

Quarter Pounder® with Cheese

A Quarter Pounder is a popular burger option at McDonald’s. What makes it a high-protein choice is the patty itself, which is made from 100% beef. This patty serves as the primary protein source in the burger.

It is typically served with a sesame seed bun, cheese, pickles, onions, and ketchup, which adds flavor but also additional calories.

However, if you skip the fries and soda, you can still enjoy the satisfying taste of a Quarter Pounder while keeping its adequate calories.

High protein
High sodium
Lacks fiber and nutrients
Pros and cons

Without Cheese:


10 Pieces Chicken McNuggets®

Chicken McNuggets

It may come as a surprise, but McNuggets offer the lowest carbohydrate content on McDonald’s menu. That makes these bite-sized nuggets a tempting choice for those mindful of their carb intake. Paired with your preferred dipping sauce, chicken McNuggets provide a satisfying blend of flavors.

Whether you’re on the go or seeking a quick protein-packed meal, McNuggets could be a better option when seeking high-protein choices at McDonald’s. 

High protein
Low carbohydrates
Quick and easy option
High sodium
410 (without sauce)23g26g24g



The McDouble earns its status as a high-protein item primarily because it has two seasoned beef patties. These patties serve as the protein powerhouse of the burger. With two patties and cheese stacked together, the McDouble provides a substantial 30 grams of protein per sandwich.

One of the potential downsides of the McDouble is its high fat content (26 grams with cheese), which may not align with health goals. 

However, the McDouble does offer a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, making it a suitable choice for an occasional indulgence or a quick meal. 

High protein
High in fat
High in sodium
Lacks fiber



Double Cheeseburger

The Double Cheeseburger at McDonald’s is a protein-rich menu item featuring two beef patties with American cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup, and mustard, all nestled in a sesame seed bun.

This burger offers a substantial protein content, making it a good choice for those seeking to increase their protein intake. Its satisfying taste and convenient, on-the-go composition make it a practical option for anyone looking to enjoy a high-protein meal.

However, like its McDouble counterpart, the Double Cheeseburger is also high in fat and sodium and lacks essential nutrients. Therefore, it should be consumed only in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

High protein
Lacks fiber


McDonald’s offers limited options to add to a sandwich without significantly increasing calories and fat. The menu primarily focuses on providing a variety of tasty sandwiches, but there aren’t many low-calorie or low-fat sides or toppings available to complement them.

I was surprised to learn that McDonald’s no longer offers salads, leaving customers without a choice of a healthy side.


To maintain a weight-loss-friendly meal, opt for water or a diet soda.

How I Picked McDonald’s High-Protein Items

My process for selecting high-protein items at McDonald’s involved a review of each menu item’s protein content and then limiting the selection to items containing more than 20 grams of protein.  I then considered the overall nutrition profile of each item, including calories, fat, and carbohydrates.

How Do These Options Work for People on Weight-Loss Medications?

Without fries and other sides, McDonald’s high-protein options can be suitable for those on weight loss medications, including Ozempic®, Wegovy®, Mounjaro®, and Zepbound®.

The portion sizes can seem small for someone used to eating a combo meal, but the medications reduce appetite, making smaller meals more satisfying.

Be aware when eating fried foods while on GLP-1 medications, as high fat consumption can worsen GI side effects.

The Bottom Line

As a registered dietitian, it’s important for me to point out that while McDonald’s does provide high-protein options, it’s best to regard fast food as an occasional treat rather than a frequent dietary choice. 

Integrating these protein-rich items into your diet on occasion can be part of a balanced approach to nutrition. 

Nevertheless, for long-term health and effective weight management, you should prioritize whole, minimally processed foods and home-cooked meals whenever possible. 

Keep in mind that achieving and maintaining your health and fitness goals necessitates a well-rounded diet, regular physical activity, and mindful portion control. These practices are the cornerstone of a sustainably healthier lifestyle.

Other helpful blogs

High-Protein Fast Food Options

High-Protein Starbucks Drinks Under 200 Calories 

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