The best part about the Mediterranean diet is that you don’t have live somewhere on the Mediterranean in order to reap its benefits (although, let’s be honest, most of us would probably like to be there). This acclaimed diet is inspired by the lifestyle of those living in countries like Spain, France, Italy, and Greece: a heart-healthy way of eating that emphasizes plant-forward foods, whole grains, and healthy fats.
People on the Mediterranean diet mostly consume fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, and healthy fats like olive oil, along with things like fish, lean poultry, and dairy in moderation. Meanwhile, they limit or avoid foods that are highly processed or contain added sugars, along with red meat, butter, and refined grains and oils.
So if you follow this lifestyle, is it still possible to treat yourself to some McDonald’s? It’ll be slim pickings, but you have a few options if you’re swinging by the drive thru – here’s everything on the menu that you can safely order on the Mediterranean diet.
Mediterranean diet food and drink options on the McDonald’s menu
Unfortunately, as a fast food chain with mass-produced meals that are typically chock-full of sugar or other additives, McDonald’s is just not very conducive to a Mediterranean diet that seeks to eliminate processed foods, added sugars, and refined grains and oils.
The few foods that you’d be able to work with somewhere like McDonald’s – eggs, cheese, fish or lean poultry – are pretty much ruled out because they all come in fast-food form. The egg sandwiches come with bread and meat, the cheese is processed, and there are unfortunately no grilled protein or lettuce-wrapped entree options.
McDonald’s no longer serves salads, which may have been the best bet on a Mediterranean diet, and unfortunately any fried foods (like hash browns, chicken nuggets, and sadly fries) are a no-go due to the refined oils they’re fried in. Even the would-be safe orders like oatmeal include lots of added sugar.
Out of the entire McDonald’s menu, you’re pretty much limited to a side of sliced apples to snack on – so you’re best off only pulling through McDonald’s if you’re in need of a beverage! Here’s everything you can order if you’re on the Mediterranean diet.
|Food Items||Required Modifications|
|Premium Roast Coffee|
|Iced Coffee||No cream, no sugar|
|Unsweetened Iced Tea|
|1% Milk Jug|
|Honest Kids Appley Ever After Organic Juice Drink|
|Minute Maid Premium Orange Juice|
McDonald’s used to have several salads and wraps on their national menu, but the fast food chain decided to discontinue their salads at most locations across the US in 2020 due to low sales. You may find some McDonald’s salads in select local markets, and many international locations still include them on their menus, but there are currently no plans to bring them back in the US.
Normally, a meal of oatmeal and fruit (made with water rather than whole milk or cream) would fit into a Mediterranean diet; however, McDonald’s Fruit & Maple Oatmeal includes brown sugar as an ingredient and the item contains a total of 18 grams of added sugar – this means it’s not a good choice for the Mediterranean diet.
Unfortunately McDonald’s does not offer lettuce wraps for their sandwiches at this time. If you’re avoiding bread or refined grains, you would need to order your entree without the bun – in most cases you do have the option to ask for it over shredded lettuce.