A small size McFlurry from McDonald’s contains between 330-550 calories, depending on the flavor. The calorie count can vary based on the specific ingredients in each McFlurry.
What is a McFlurry?
A McFlurry is a popular ice cream dessert sold at McDonald’s restaurants. It consists of soft serve ice cream that is blended together with different mix-in ingredients like candy pieces, cookies, or fruit. The ice cream is blended right before serving, resulting in a thick, creamy, and flavorful treat.
McFlurries come in two sizes – regular and snack size. The regular size contains around 12 ounces of ice cream, while the snack size contains around 6 ounces. Both sizes allow you to choose from a variety of flavors and mix-in options.
McFlurry Nutrition Facts
The nutrition facts for a small McFlurry can vary depending on the exact ingredients used in the flavor. However, on average, a small size McFlurry contains:
- 330-550 calories
- 9-16 grams of fat
- 45-75 grams of carbohydrates
- 3-8 grams of protein
The calorie count ultimately comes down to a few key factors:
- Ice cream – The soft serve ice cream base itself contains calories and fat.
- Mix-ins – Ingredients like chocolate candies, cookies, or fruit add extra calories.
- Serving size – The snack size contains less ice cream than the regular size.
- Flavor – Some flavors like chocolate or cookies & cream tend to be higher in calories than fruit-based ones.
Calories in Popular McFlurry Flavors
Here is a breakdown of the approximate calories for some of the most popular McFlurry flavors in a small size:
|Triple Chocolate Chip
As you can see, flavors like M&M’s and Reese’s that contain chocolate candies tend to be higher in calories, while fruit or cheesecake flavors are lower. The Oreo McFlurry clocks in at around 490 calories for a small.
Ways to Reduce the Calories in a McFlurry
If you want to enjoy a McFlurry but also watch your calorie intake, here are some tips to reduce the calories:
- Choose a fruit flavor like Strawberry or Wild Berry.
- Opt for a snack size instead of a regular size.
- Request fewer or lighter mix-ins like cookie crumbles instead of full cookies.
- Ask for no candy/cookie toppings.
- Share your McFlurry with a friend or split into two servings.
- Substitute the chocolate dipping sauce for a drizzle of sugar free strawberry or caramel sauce.
Making customizations to your McFlurry can help cut down on excess calories from candies, cookies, and heavy sauces. Portion control by opting for the snack size or sharing is another great way to enjoy the flavor while keeping your calorie count in check.
McFlurry Nutrition Compared to Other Desserts
At around 400-550 calories, a small McFlurry is lower in calories than many other dessert options. Here’s how it compares nutritionally to some other popular desserts:
|Small McFlurry (Reese’s)
|1 cup Breyer’s Chocolate Ice Cream
|1 cup Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
|1 slice Cheesecake (plain)
|Starbucks Caramel Macchiato (grande)
|1 slice Chocolate Fudge Cake
While the McFlurry is high in calories compared to some lower-fat frozen desserts like yogurt, it has a similar calorie count to many cakes, brownies, and ice cream desserts. Going for a snack size with light mix-ins can help keep the calories comparable to other treats.
Healthiest Ways to Customize Your McFlurry
If you want to indulge in a McFlurry but are trying to make healthier choices, there are some easy ways to customize it:
- Choose fresh fruit as the mix-in instead of candy or cookies
- Ask for low-fat or nonfat yogurt instead of soft serve
- Request an extra drizzle of sugar-free syrup for flavor
- Opt for a child size for portion control
- Choose milk instead of cream for a shake-style McFlurry
- Top with crunchy mixed nuts instead of chocolate candies
- Add granola or crushed graham crackers for crunch
- Drizzle with honey instead of chocolate fudge
Making substitutions like yogurt instead of ice cream and fruit instead of candy can reduce the calories, fat, and sugar. Portion control is key, so consider downsizing to a kids size if you want to indulge.
Making Your Own Healthy McFlurry at Home
You can also recreate a healthier version of a McFlurry at home. Just blend together the ingredients of your choice for a custom, lower calorie treat:
- Low-fat or Greek yogurt
- Frozen fruit like strawberries, bananas, or pineapple
- Milk or milk alternative like almond milk
- Fresh fruit like blueberries, mango, or cherries
- Ground flax or chia seeds
- Protein powder
- Cocoa powder
- Nut butter
- Granola or crushed Graham crackers
- Honey, maple syrup, or vanilla extract to sweeten
Blending nutrient-dense ingredients like yogurt, fruit, nuts, and seeds gives you way more nutritional value than a traditional McFlurry. You can customize the ingredients to suit your taste and dietary needs.
Tips for Enjoying McFlurries as Part of a Healthy Diet
While McFlurries are high in calories, fat, and sugar, you can still enjoy them in moderation as part of a healthy diet by following these tips:
- Opt for a snack size or child size for portion control
- Share your McFlurry with someone
- Eat slowly and savor each bite to keep portions small
- Balance it out by choosing healthier meals and snacks for the rest of the day
- Make it an occasional treat instead of a daily habit
- Walk, run, or exercise after eating a McFlurry to burn off some of the calories
By carefully watching portions, limiting frequency, and balancing it out with nutrient-dense whole foods and exercise, an occasional McFlurry can be part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
Should You Eat a McFlurry Every Day?
Experts generally recommend limiting McFlurries to an occasional treat rather than something you eat daily, based on their high calorie, sugar, fat, and sodium content. Eating them daily can increase your risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other health conditions.
Here are some downsides to eating a McFlurry every day:
- Weight gain – A small Reese’s McFlurry contains over 500 calories, or about 1/4 of the daily calories needed for most adults. Eating this daily can quickly lead to weight gain.
- Sugar spike and crash – A McFlurry contains around 60-80 grams of sugar. That big sugar hit can cause an energy crash after the initial rush.
- Nutritional deficits – The low nutritional value of a daily McFlurry may bump more nutrient-dense foods out of your diet.
- Blood sugar issues – High sugar foods like McFlurries can increase insulin resistance and risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Inflammation – Dairy and refined sugar may cause inflammation, especially in those with sensitivities.
- High cholesterol – The saturated fat can raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
- Decreased satiety – Liquid calories like McFlurries don’t satisfy hunger as well as whole foods do.
Overall, having a McFlurry every day provides excessive calories and sugar with minimal nutrition. Limiting to a once a week or a couple times per month treat is a healthier approach.
Healthier Dessert Alternatives to McFlurries
If you’re looking for a healthier daily dessert option, here are some alternatives to consider instead of an everyday McFlurry:
- Fresh fruit – Berries, banana slices, apple wedges, grapefruit, etc.
- Greek yogurt parfait – With fresh fruit, nuts, and honey or jam
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- Nutrition smoothie – Blender with milk, yogurt, greens, and frozen fruit
- Protein muffin – Homemade with banana, eggs, nuts, oats, etc.
- Frozen fruit popsicle – Puree and freeze 100% fruit juice
- Dark chocolate – 1-2 small squares with fresh raspberries
- Angel food cake with strawberries
- Oatmeal cookie protein bites
- Chia pudding made with milk and fruit
Dessert doesn’t have to be ice cream to be delicious and satisfying! Whole fruits, yogurt,smoothies, and other treats made from nourishing ingredients offer nutrition instead of just empty calories.
The Bottom Line
A small McFlurry ranges from 330-550 calories depending on the flavor, with candies and cookies boosting the totals higher. While they make an occasional sweet treat, having them daily can lead to nutritional deficits and weight gain. Customizing your McFlurry with lighter ingredients or having healthier homemade versions can let you enjoy the flavors while nourishing your body.
Overall, it’s fine to work an occasional McFlurry into your diet, but aim for more nutritious choices like fruit or yogurt on a daily basis. Be mindful of portions, ingredients, and frequency to strike the right balance.