McDonald's calorie counts: No more avoiding the obvious

One 10-piece, 1,090-calorie Chicken McNuggets meal, please.

For the first time today, I learned how many calories are in my favorite meal at McDonald's. I’m still trying to decide whether I’m worried about it.

As promised, the fast food giant this week added calorie counts to its menus — no more having to go the extra mile to check online (or look at the box), the count is right there next to the price. Lawrence locations are included, with calories on both drive-thru and in-store menu boards (confirmed at Sixth and Wakarusa, no reason to doubt the other spots don’t have them up, too).

The 1,000-plus calories in McNuggets do not shock me. While I’ve never been a big calorie counter, I am generally health-conscious and well aware typical McDonald’s fare is not a healthy choice.

When I head to McDonald’s — always the drive-thru — I’m either starving, in a hurry and don’t want to trouble myself to get out of my car AND/OR have a salty greasy food itch to scratch and wouldn’t give healthier options the time of day, anyway. McDonald’s satisfies those needs like none other.

Nutrition information for 10-piece Chicken McNuggets

Nutrition information for 10-piece Chicken McNuggets by Sara Shepherd

Obviously, my health would be better off without McDonald’s (at least the kind of stuff I order there). However, if I depended on the drive-thru for frequent meals and sustenance rather than occasional indulgence (or if I had diagnosed medical conditions such as high cholesterol or blood pressure), I think I’d be a lot queasier about the calorie counts — and all the other counts. My nuggets and fries had a combined 28 grams of protein (56 percent of the recommended daily allowance), but they also had 1,270 mg of sodium (53 percent RDA) and 48 grams of fat (73 percent RDA), according to nutrition information on the boxes.

Hmmm. I guess that does make me extra glad I ate homemade salads for lunch the previous two days.

P.S. You’re probably wondering, “What’s the highest-calorie item on the menu?” Got it. Weighing in at a whopping 1,400-plus calories, that would be the Angus Bacon and Cheese Burger meal. The sandwich alone has 2,070 mg of sodium (86 percent RDA) and 39 grams of fat (60 percent RDA).

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