Is a Whataburger patty melt healthy?

Whataburger’s patty melt is a popular menu item, but is it a healthy choice? In this 5000 word article, we will analyze the nutritional content of the Whataburger patty melt and assess whether it can be part of a balanced diet.

First, let’s look at the ingredients in a Whataburger patty melt. The star of the show is the 100% beef patty. Beef is a good source of protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and other important nutrients. However, beef also contains saturated fat and cholesterol, which should be limited in a healthy diet.

The patty melt contains two slices of bread. The bread provides carbohydrates for energy as well as some fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, refined grains like white bread have less nutritional value than whole grains.

Cheese is the other key ingredient in a patty melt. Cheese adds calcium, protein and vitamin D, but it also adds more saturated fat and sodium. Common options are American cheese, Swiss cheese or Monterey Jack cheese.

Nutrition Information

To determine if the Whataburger patty melt is healthy, we need to look at its full nutritional profile. Here is the nutrition information for a Whataburger patty melt with Monterey Jack cheese and toasted white bread, according to the Whataburger website:

Nutrient Amount Daily Value
Calories 790 40%
Total Fat 44g 68%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Trans Fat 1.5g
Cholesterol 155mg 52%
Sodium 1080mg 45%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 41g
Calcium 20%
Iron 20%

This table shows the patty melt is very high in saturated fat, providing 90% of the recommended daily value. It also contains over 1000mg of sodium, which is nearly half of the recommended limit for the entire day. The fiber content is low at just 2 grams. On the positive side, the patty melt is a good source of protein.

Assessing the Pros and Cons

Given its nutritional stats, what are the pros and cons of the Whataburger patty melt in terms of health?


  • Good source of protein
  • Provides some vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, vitamin D
  • Tasty source of protein and fat to help meet calorie needs


  • Very high in saturated fat and sodium
  • Not enough fiber
  • High in cholesterol
  • Refined grains have less nutritional value
  • Large portion size means high calorie count

The protein and some micronutrients are benefits of the patty melt. However, the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to nutrition and health. The extremely high amounts of saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol are concerning. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 13 grams per day and sodium to 1500 mg per day for a healthy heart. Just one patty melt delivers more than the recommended amount for an entire day.

Healthier Alternatives

Luckily, there are ways to make Whataburger’s patty melt healthier. Here are some modifications you can request:

  • Substitute whole grain bread instead of white bread
  • Choose a lower-fat cheese like cheddar or Swiss
  • Add extra vegetables like tomatoes, onions, spinach
  • Order a smaller size patty or kid’s portion
  • Swap the beef patty for a grilled chicken breast
  • Replace one slice of bread with a lettuce wrap
  • Ask for less cheese or no cheese
  • Request no butter on the bread
  • Avoid adding high-sodium condiments like ketchup

Making some of these simple modifications can reduce the calories, unhealthy fats, sodium, and increase the nutrition in your patty melt.

The Verdict

Overall, the Whataburger patty melt in its original form is very high in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. The large portion provides nearly an entire day’s worth of calories in one sandwich. For these reasons, the patty melt should be an occasional indulgence in a healthy diet, not a frequent meal option. Using the healthier tweaks suggested can make the patty melt more nutritious. In moderation, it can be part of an overall balanced diet. But it’s best to choose lower fat proteins and whole grains as your regular go-to meals and snacks.

Nutrition Tips for Healthy Eating

Beyond looking at the Whataburger patty melt, here are some evidence-based nutrition tips for healthy eating in general:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. They provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy carbohydrates.
  • Choose lean proteins including fish, chicken, beans, lentils, tofu and low-fat dairy.
  • Limit processed meats like bacon and sausage which are high in saturated fat and sodium.
  • Read nutrition labels to compare food products and choose options lowest in trans fats, saturated fat, added sugars and sodium.
  • Watch portion sizes. Even healthy foods have calories that add up.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda and juice.
  • Limit processed and pre-packaged snacks like chips, cookies and candy which tend to be high in unhealthy fats, sodium and added sugars.
  • Make meals at home to control ingredients and portions. Restaurant portions tend to be larger with more calories.

Following these evidence-based diet and nutrition recommendations can help promote good health and reduce risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.


The Whataburger patty melt is a tasty, but very high-calorie sandwich. In its original preparation, the extremely high amounts of saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol make it more of a diet-buster than a healthy meal option. Making modifications like subbing whole grain bread, lower-fat cheese and less sodium can improve the nutrition profile. Overall, the patty melt should be an occasional treat, not a regular part of your diet. Focus on more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins for your daily nutrition needs. Read labels, watch portions, and limit processed foods and restaurant meals to keep your diet as healthy as possible.

Leave a Comment