McDonald’s is a great convenient option for those who need meals on the go, but for those who are trying to reduce their sodium intake, some of the menu items aren’t ideal.
Fortunately, there are some items on the McDonald’s menu that can be considered low-sodium.
The 11 best low-sodium meals at McDonald’s are:
- Smoothies (all flavors) (65mg)
- Side Garden Salad (70mg)
- Fruit and Maple Oatmeal (90 mg)
- English Muffin with Butter (280mg)
- Asian Sesame Fusion Salad With Grilled Chicken (340mg)
- Side Ceasar Salad (400mg)
- French Frys: Mini (90mg), Small (180mg), Medium (260mg), Large (420mg)
- 4-Piece & 6-Piece Chicken McNuggets (300mg, 450mg)
- Muffins (All Varieties) (460mg)
- Regular Bagel with Butter (470mg)
- Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap (490mg)
As a nutrition coach, I’ve studied the Mcdonald’s menu and have discovered ways you can customize your order to reduce the amount of sodium that a McDonald’s meal normally contains.
After reading this article, you’ll learn:
- If McDonald’s is high in sodium
- What would be considered “low-sodium” at McDonald’s
- How to customize your order to reduce the sodium content
- Which meals are the best low-sodium meals
- Which meals are the highest in sodium
Is McDonald’s High In Sodium?
McDonald’s is generally higher in sodium because it’s a fast-food restaurant that uses processed foods and table salt, but some menu items are lower in sodium if you’re trying to keep your sodium intake low.
The recommended amount of sodium per day is 1200-1500mg, but the upper limit for daily sodium intake is 2300mg. These sodium recommendations are set to provide information to the public about how much sodium they should be consuming per day to reduce their risk of high blood pressure.
Ideally, you should aim for the recommended amount of sodium per day, but as long as your meal isn’t putting you over the upper limit, you could still eat McDonald’s without dramatically increasing your risk of high blood pressure.
- To learn more about how much sodium you should consume each day, check out How Much Sodium Is A Low-Sodium Diet?
What Is Considered Low-Sodium At McDonald’s?
McDonald’s has items on its menu that range from 5mg of sodium up to 1500mg, and that’s not even including any “meal deals” that pair a sandwich or nuggets with fries. It’s important to know what to look for if you’re trying to eat low-sodium.
Based on the recommended 1200-1500mg of sodium per day that I discussed above, a guideline set to help reduce the average population’s sodium intake, you can make assumptions about how much sodium to limit yourself to in one meal.
If you’re eating three meals per day, you could have between 400mg to 500mg of sodium at each meal for it to be considered lower in sodium. Any meal or snack at McDonald’s that has less than 500mg of sodium could be considered low in sodium.
Most items on the McDonald’s menu that are below 500mg of sodium will be single menu items rather than “meal deals.” But don’t worry — there are some ways that you can improve your favorite menu items to make them lower in sodium.
Tips On Reducing Sodium At McDonald’s
To help reduce the amount of sodium per meal at McDonald’s, you can:
- Change up the condiments
- Reduce your portion size
- Ask for it to be prepared without table salt
- Choose grilled chicken over crispy chicken
Change Up the Condiments
Condiments can account for a significant amount of sodium. By skipping the sauce, asking for it on the side, or choosing a lower sodium condiment, you can save on sodium while eating at McDonald’s.
McDonald’s sauces range from 65mg to 520mg of sodium per serving, with the lowest-sodium sauces being ketchup and mayo (75mg and 80mg, respectively) and the highest being mustard and buffalo sauce (230mg and 520mg, respectively).
If you aren’t crazy about sauce anyway, it may be worth skipping it. If you want sauce but still want to save on some sodium, opt for mayo or mustard.
- You could also add your own low-sodium sauce or dip if you don’t want to use the ones from McDonald’s.
Reduce Your Portion Size
If there’s a McDonald’s menu item that you love and you’re trying to reduce your sodium consumption, try downsizing so that your portion size is smaller and you’re consuming less sodium overall.
If you love McDonald’s french fries, try getting a mini or small fry, which can save you up to 300mg of sodium since a large fry has 400mg:
- Mini Fry: 90mg
- Small Fry: 180mg
If you like Chicken McNuggets, go for the 4 or 6-piece nugget. A 20-piece serving has nearly 1700mg of sodium, and the smaller sizes have much less than that:
- 4-piece McNuggets: 300mg
- 6-piece McNuggets: 450mg
If you like a Big Mac, split it with a friend and pair it with a garden salad:
- Big Mac: 950mg (475mg for half)
- Garden Salad: 70mg
There are ways to enjoy your McDonald’s favorites without overdoing it on sodium as long as you’re willing to adjust your portion size.
Ask For It To Be Prepared Without Table Salt
A great way to reduce the sodium content at McDonald’s is to ask that your food be prepared without table salt.
A great example of this is the McDonald’s french fries which are normally salted after they’re cooked. If you ask for your fries to be made without salt, you can save on a significant amount of sodium (~250-300mg of sodium).
Additionally, in asking for your fries to be made without salt, you’ll always get the freshest fries because they’ll have to make them separately on the spot!
Choose Grilled Chicken Over Crispy Chicken
If you’re ordering a sandwich, wrap, or salad and you’re trying to reduce your sodium intake you should always choose the grilled chicken over the crispy chicken.
The crispy chicken has 300mg of sodium more than the grilled chicken, so it’s worth skipping the crispy chicken if you’re watching your sodium intake.
Eating Low Sodium At McDonald’s: 11 Best Options
McDonald’s smoothies are the best meal items on the menu for low-sodium options because they have less than 65mg of sodium per serving and come in a variety of flavors.
Below is a chart showing the different smoothie flavors available at McDonald’s and the sodium content for each size.
If you’re looking for low-calorie beverages at Mcdonald’s, check out 10 NEW Low-Calorie Drinks At McDonald’s (2022).
2. Side Garden Salad
The second-lowest sodium meal option on the McDonald’s menu is the side garden salad which only has 70mg of sodium. You can eat it alone or pair it with something else on the menu to make it more filling.
I would pair the side garden salad with another low-sodium side, aiming to keep your order under 500mg of total sodium.
I would suggest:
- 4-Piece Chicken McNugget + Side Garden Salad (300mg + 70mg = 370mg of sodium)
- Small Fry + Side Garden Salad (180mg + 70mg = 250mg of sodium)
The side garden salad is an excellent option to increase the amount of volume you’re eating without drastically increasing your sodium consumption.
3. Fruit and Maple Oatmeal
The Fruit and Maple Oatmeal at McDonald’s is also lower in sodium with just 90mg per serving, making it a great breakfast option for those who are trying to reduce their sodium intake.
The Fruit and Maple Oatmeal is a hearty breakfast made with whole grain oats, cranberries, raisins, and red and green apples. It is served with a touch of cream and a pinch of brown sugar.
I would pair a serving of this oatmeal with a coffee for a satisfying low-sodium breakfast.
4. English Muffin with Butter
Another lower-sodium option you can get at McDonald’s is an English Muffin with Butter, which has 280mg of sodium per serving (225mg for the muffin, 55mg for the butter).
You could also change it up and ask for peanut butter (85mg per serving) or cream cheese (75mg) and still be under 500mg for your meal.
5. 4-Piece or 6-Piece Chicken McNuggets
Many chicken nugget fans will be happy to hear that the 4- and 6-piece Chicken McNuggets are an option for those looking to keep their sodium intake low.
As I mentioned earlier, the 4-piece nuggets have 300mg of sodium, and the 6-piece nuggets have 450mg of sodium. If you’re choosing the 4-piece, then you’ll be able to add a side more easily. But if you’re having the 6-piece, there will be limited side selections.
Although chicken nuggets are typically enjoyed with a generous side of french fries, there are some better side options if you want to keep your sodium intake low:
- 4-Piece Nuggets + Side Garden Salad (300mg + 70mg = 370mg of total sodium)
- 4-Piece Nuggets + Mini Fry (300mg + 90mg = 390mg of total sodium)
- 4-Piece or 6-Piece Nuggets + Apple Slices (300mg + 5mg = 305mg of total sodium)
6. Asian Sesame Fusion Salad With Grilled Chicken
For those who want a more balanced meal at McDonald’s, the Asian sesame fusion salad with grilled chicken is a great low-sodium option with 340mg of sodium.
This salad has edamame, crunchy cashews, tender grilled chicken, and bell peppers served on a bed of kale with a sweet sesame dressing. This is the perfect option for those looking for a convenient, fresh, and low-sodium lunch or supper.
The only downside to this menu item is that it’s not available everywhere. It appears to be a regional menu item that is available in Canada but not in the US.
7. Side Ceasar Salad
If you’re a Caesar salad lover, then the side Caesar salad is a great lower sodium option for you at McDonald’s, with only 400mg of sodium per serving.
This salad can easily be adjusted to be even lower in sodium by asking for the dressing on the side because it contains 250mg of sodium per 1 oz. By adding the dressing yourself you could cut back significantly on the amount of sodium in this salad.
If a side caesar isn’t enough on its own you could add apple slices for an extra 5mg of sodium or even a mini fry for 90mg of extra sodium, while still staying within the 500mg total.
8. French Fries
Another McDonald’s meal option that is under 500mg of sodium is the McDonald’s French fries, which tend to be a fan favorite.
The values above are assuming that the fries are seasoned with table salt after cooking, but if you were to ask for unsalted french fries then you could cut back on the sodium content per serving.
If you only have the fries by themselves, you may want a larger serving and accept that it’s higher in sodium. But if you want to pair your fries with another menu item, it’s best to choose a smaller size fry with less sodium.
9. Muffins (All Varieties)
The McDonald’s Muffins are another low-sodium option for those who like muffins for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, as they have between 330mg to 460mg depending on the type of muffin.
|Blueberry||Banana Chocolate Chunk||Carrot||Cranberry Orange||Fruit &|
Note that the available flavors may vary based on where you live.
10. Regular Bagel with Butter
A regular bagel with butter is also a lower sodium option from McDonald’s that you could have without going over the recommended 500mg of sodium per meal.
A regular bagel with butter has 470mg, which puts you just within the recommended range. You could also switch up the spread and have your regular bagel with peanut butter for 500mg of sodium, or with cream cheese for 490mg of sodium.
It should be noted that this isn’t listed as a menu item, but it’s available upon request.
11. Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap
The last McDonald’s menu item that you could have while trying to reduce your sodium intake is the Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap, which has between 440 to 490mg of sodium.
This snack wrap is made with a flour tortilla, chicken, shredded lettuce, Monterey jack cheese, and your choice of sauce: ranch, BBQ, or honey mustard. For the lowest amount of sodium, I recommend choosing the honey mustard sauce.
|BBQ Snack |
|Honey Mustard Snack Wrap|
Meals To Avoid
The meals that you should avoid at McDonald’s are meals that have more than 1000mg of sodium per serving because this is a very high amount of sodium for one meal.
The meals with more than 1000mg of sodium are listed below. Note that not all of these menu items are available anyway depending on where you live.
- Bacon N’ Egg Bagel with Regular Bagel (1000mg)
- Poutine (1010mg)
- Bacon McDouble® sandwich (1030mg)
- Double Cheeseburger (1050mg)
- Tomato & Mozzarella with Crispy Chicken (1060mg)
- Caesar Salad With Crispy Chicken (1070mg)
- Quarter Pounder with Cheese® (1080mg)
- Smokehouse BBQ Angus (1080mg)
- Bacon N’ Egg Bagel with Multigrain Bagel (1090mg)
- Sausage McGriddle (1100mg)
- Big Breakfast (1120mg)
- Quarter Pounder® BLT (1130mg)
- Sweet Chili Signature McWrap® with Crispy Chicken (1180mg)
- Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese® (1240mg)
- Mighty Angus® Original (1310mg)
- Double Big Mac® sandwich (1310mg)
- Guacamole & Jalapeño with Crispy Chicken (1320mg)
- Chicken & Bacon Signature McWrap® with Crispy Chicken (1320mg)
- Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddles (1350mg)
- Sausage and Hash Brown Morning McWrap (1380mg)
- Bacon & Cheddar Angus (1400mg)
- 20 Chicken McNuggets (1490mg)
Frequently Asked Questions
What McDonald’s Item Has the Least Amount of Sodium?
The McDonald’s sides with the least amount of sodium are the apple slices (5mg) and the Garden Side Salad (70mg), but the meal with the least amount of sodium is the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal (90mg).
Can You Get No Salt At McDonald’s?
There isn’t anything at McDonald’s that is sodium-free, but there are some lower-sodium options to choose from if you’re trying to keep your sodium intake low.
How Much Sodium Is In McDonald’s Oatmeal?
McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal has 90mg per serving, which is a low-sodium option for those trying to limit their sodium intake while eating at McDonald’s.
How Much Sodium Is In McDonald’s French Fries?
The sodium content of McDonald’s French fries depends on the serving size. The mini fry has 90mg of sodium, the small fry has 180mg, the medium fry has 260mg, and the large fry has 420mg.
How Much Sodium Is In McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets?
McDonald’s chicken nuggets have varying amounts of sodium depending on the size that you order. The 4-piece chicken nuggets have 300mg of sodium, the 6-piece has 450mg, the 10-piece has 750mg, and the 20-piece has 1490mg.
How Much Sodium Is In McDonald’s Fish Sandwich?
The McDonald’s Fish Sandwich has 580mg of sodium per one sandwich, and the Double Fish Sandwich has 830mg of sodium per one sandwich, which makes it a higher sodium menu item.
How Much Sodium Is In McDonald’s Cheeseburger?
McDonald’s cheeseburger has 700mg of sodium per burger, and the double cheeseburger has 1050mg of sodium per burger. The cheeseburger is a higher sodium menu item at McDonald’s.
How Much Sodium Is In McDonald’s Pancakes?
McDonald’s pancakes, known as “hotcakes,” have 660mg of sodium per serving, including the butter and syrup that are served along with the pancakes.
How Much Sodium Is In McDonald’s Big Mac?
McDonald’s Big Mac has 950mg of sodium per one sandwich, and the Double Big Mac has 1310mg of sodium per one sandwich. Therefore, these aren’t the best option for those trying to keep their sodium intake low.
McDonald’s does have some lower-sodium menu items that you could choose to keep your sodium intake within a healthier range, as long as you know what to order.
Read More McDonald’s Articles:
- Eating At McDonald’s When Bulking or Cutting (6 Meals)
- Which Is Healthier Chick-Fil-A or McDonald’s?
- Which is Healthier: McDonald’s or Subway?
- Which is Healthier: McDonald’s or Burger King?
- Which is Healthier: McDonald’s or KFC?
More Low Sodium Fast Food Options
- Eating Low Sodium At Panera
- Eating Low Sodium At Subway
- Eating Low Sodium At Burger King
- Eating Low Sodium At Chipotle
- Eating Low Sodium At Taco Bell
- Eating Low Sodium At Wendy’s
- Eating Low Sodium At Panda Express
- Eating Low Sodium At Jimmy John’s
- Eating Low Sodium At Chick-Fil-A
- Eating Low Sodium At Dairy Queen
- Eating Low Sodium At Jack In The Box
- Eating Low-Sodium at Starbucks
- Eating Low Sodium At The Cheesecake Factory
About The Author
Amanda Parker is an author, nutrition coach, and Certified Naturopath. She works with bodybuilders, Olympic weightlifters, and powerlifters to increase performance through nutrition and lifestyle coaching.