How many calories are in a McDouble and small fry?

Fast food is a convenient option for many people looking for a quick meal on the go. However, it’s important to pay attention to the nutritional content, as fast food often contains high amounts of calories, fat, and sodium. Two of the most popular items at McDonald’s are the McDouble burger and a small order of french fries. But just how many calories are in these fast food favorites?

Calories in a McDonald’s McDouble

The McDonald’s McDouble is one of the chain’s cheapest burgers, consisting of two beef patties, cheese, onions, ketchup, mustard, and pickles on a regular bun. According to McDonald’s nutrition information, here are the McDouble nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 390
  • Total fat: 19g
  • Saturated fat: 8g
  • Trans fat: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 80mg
  • Sodium: 970mg
  • Total carbs: 33g
  • Dietary fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 6g
  • Protein: 21g

As you can see, one McDouble burger contains 390 calories. The majority of these calories come from fat (63% of the total calories) and carbohydrates (34% of calories).

McDouble Burger Ingredients

To understand where these calories come from, let’s take a closer look at the ingredients in a McDouble:

  • Buns: The bun contributes around 150 calories and 25g of carbs to the burger.
  • Beef patties: Two 1.6 oz beef patties account for about 310 calories and 21g of protein.
  • Cheese: A slice of pasteurized process American cheese adds around 50 calories and 4.5g of fat.
  • Onions: Onions provide fiber, vitamin C, and minimal calories.
  • Ketchup and mustard: These condiments add sugar, sodium, and little calories.
  • Pickles: Pickles also contribute fiber, sodium, and very few calories.

In summary, the two beef patties combined with the cheese and bun make up the majority of calories in the McDouble. The condiments and toppings provide extra flavor with minimal caloric impact.

Calories in McDonald’s Small French Fries

Crispy golden french fries are a popular side choice at McDonald’s. Here are the nutrition facts for a small order of McDonald’s french fries:

  • Calories: 230
  • Total fat: 11g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 160mg
  • Total carbs: 26g
  • Dietary fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 3g

A small serving of fries at McDonald’s contains 230 calories. Over half of these calories come from carbohydrates, in the form of 26g of total carbs per serving. Fat accounts for 42% of the calories, the majority coming from unhealthy saturated and trans fats. There is also a decent amount of sodium (160mg or 7% of daily value).

What Makes McDonald’s Fries So High in Calories?

Several factors contribute to the high calorie count in a small serving of McDonald’s fries:

  • Oil: The fries are fried in a blend of canola oil and hydrogenated soybean oil, adding significant fat and calories.
  • Portion size: A small fry serving weighs 75g or 2.6 oz, a sizable portion.
  • Potatoes: The starchy potatoes provide 26g of carbohydrates per serving.
  • Salt: Added salt boosts the sodium content.
  • Condiments: Dipping fries in ketchup, mayo or other sauces adds extra calories.

Overall, the combination of fried potatoes cooked in oil and served in a large portion with salt and condiments drives up the calorie content of a small McDonald’s fries.

Total Calories in a McDouble and Small Fries

If you enjoy the classic fast food combo of a burger and fries, what’s the total calorie damage for a McDouble and a small fries at McDonald’s? Let’s add them up:

  • Calories in McDouble: 390
  • Calories in small fries: 230
  • Total calories: 620

The combined calorie count for a McDouble burger and small french fries is 620 calories. That’s 31% of a standard 2,000 calorie diet.

Daily Nutritional Requirements

To put the calorie count into perspective, let’s look at the recommended daily values for a standard 2,000 calorie diet:

Nutrient Daily Recommended Value
Total fat 65g or less
Saturated fat 20g or less
Sodium 2,300mg or less
Total carbs 300g
Protein 50g

As you can see based on the percentage of daily values, the McDouble and small fries provide:

  • 29% of recommended fat
  • 40% of recommended saturated fat
  • 42% of recommended sodium
  • 22% of recommended carbohydrates
  • 42% of recommended protein

This one fast food meal provides nearly half the maximum daily value for unhealthy saturated fat and sodium. The percentage of fat and protein is also high.

Strategies to Reduce Calories

While an occasional McDouble and small fries won’t harm your health, making it a regular habit can lead to weight gain and associated health risks. Here are some tips to reduce the calorie count if you do indulge in this classic fast food meal:

  • Order a small burger instead of the McDouble.
  • Choose a side salad rather than fries.
  • Split the fries with a friend to cut calories in half.
  • Order a small drink or water instead of a large sugary soda.
  • Use just one packet of ketchup instead of several.
  • Share the burger and fries as part of a larger meal, rather than a full meal.

Making simple tweaks like these can lead to significant calorie savings over time. It’s also helpful to balance out the meal with healthier options the rest of the day.

The Healthiest Fast Food Meal Combinations

If you want to satisfy a fast food craving while sticking to a healthy diet, choose menu items strategically. Here are some of the healthiest meal combinations at McDonald’s and similar fast food restaurants:

Healthy McDonald’s Meals

  • Hamburger happy meal with apple slices and low-fat milk
  • Southwest grilled chicken salad with low-fat dressing
  • Egg McMuffin and sliced fruit cup
  • Chicken McNuggets (6 piece) with yogurt parfait
  • Premium grilled chicken sandwich and side salad

Healthy Burger King Meals

  • Whopper Jr. and garden side salad
  • Tendergrill chicken sandwich and applesauce
  • Original Chick’n sandwich and small onion rings
  • Veggie burger without mayo and small fries
  • BK Broiler chicken sandwich and four-piece mozzarella sticks

Healthy Wendy’s Meals

  • Junior cheeseburger and small chili
  • Grilled chicken wrap and side salad
  • Dave’s Single hamburger and sliced apples
  • 4-piece chicken nuggets and mandarin oranges
  • Ultimate Chicken Grill sandwich and plain baked potato

As you can see, there are many ways to enjoy fast food while still paying attention to nutrition. Combining sensible options like grilled chicken, veggies, fruit, yogurt, and salads can make for a more balanced meal.

Should You Avoid Fast Food Entirely?

While fast food is high in calories, fat, and sodium, occasional fast food meals can fit into an overall healthy diet. With some smart choices to cut calories, you can satisfy a fast food craving without going overboard. However, problems arise when fast food becomes a daily habit rather than an occasional treat.

Eating fast food more than once or twice a week significantly increases your risk of obesity and chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Here is a look at some troubling statistics on frequent fast food consumption:

  • People who eat fast food 1-3 times per week gain 4.5 more pounds each year.
  • Teens who eat fast food gain 10 pounds more per year compared to those who avoid it.
  • Eating fast food more than twice per week doubles the risk of insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
  • Frequent fast food intake increases cardiovascular disease risk by up to 80%.

Beyond weight gain and chronic disease risk, here are more reasons to limit fast food:

  • Lack of nutrients: Fast food often contains very little beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Food additives: Items may contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and other additives.
  • Inflammation: Heavily processed food can cause inflammation in the body, which leads to chronic disease.
  • Food safety: Risk of foodborne illness may be higher with poor food handling practices.
  • Not environmentally friendly: Fast food production places strain on natural resources and contributes to pollution.

For the best health, it’s wise to avoid fast food as much as possible and focus on wholesome, nutritious foods. But an occasional indulgence won’t do too much harm if you keep it reasonable.

Healthy Homemade Alternatives to McDonald’s

If you love the taste of McDonald’s but want to eat healthier, try these easy homemade recipes:

Healthy Burgers

  • Turkey or veggie bean burgers on whole wheat buns with sliced avocado and tomatoes
  • Portobello mushroom burgers with melted mozzarella cheese and basil mayo
  • Black bean quinoa burgers with caramelized onions and goat cheese
  • Bison or elk burger patties on lettuce leaves with ketchup and mustard
  • Grilled salmon burgers on pretzel buns with tartar sauce and arugula

Crispy Baked Fries

  • Baked sweet potato fries tossed in olive oil and sea salt
  • Baked butternut squash fries with tangy yogurt dip
  • Baked beet or carrot fries for an antioxidant boost
  • Parmesan zucchini fries with garlic aioli
  • Criss-cross fries seasoned with cajun spice

Healthy Dip Options

  • Plain Greek yogurt dip with lemon and garlic
  • Hummus made from chickpeas, tahini and olive oil
  • Avocado dip loaded with veggies like tomato and onion
  • White bean dip pureed with pine nuts and rosemary
  • Baba ganoush made from eggplant, olive oil and spices

With a little creativity, you can recreate a burger and fries meal at home that tastes great while providing way more nutrition than fast food. Building meals around whole foods is the best way to eat for optimal health.

The Bottom Line

To summarize the key points:

  • One McDouble burger has 390 calories
  • A small order of McDonald’s fries has 230 calories
  • Together, a McDouble and small fries contain 620 calories
  • This provides over 40% of the daily recommendations for sodium, saturated fat and protein
  • Occasional fast food won’t hurt, but frequent consumption has health risks
  • Choose healthier fast food options like grilled chicken, salads, and fruit whenever possible
  • Limit fast food to 1-2 times per week maximum for best health

While it’s fine to enjoy fast food as an occasional indulgence, making it a regular habit can have negative effects on weight and wellness. When you do opt for fast food, combination meals like a McDouble and fries pack a lot of calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats into one convenient package. Choosing healthier options when possible and keeping portion sizes reasonable is important for keeping your diet on track when grabbing a quick meal on the run.

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