Fast food: Burgers

Fast food: Burgers

We investigate the three big burger chains and find that it is possible to make healthy choices.

Here's what we found at Burger King, Wendy's and McDonalds and how they rate as a % of an average person's daily fat and energy intake.

(Nutrient analysis based on approx. recommended dietary intake (RDI) for an 'average' adult.)


On the website: Nutrition info is provided but it's aimed at US customers and given in calories.

In-store: Nutrition info is on all tray mats.

Healthy options: Garden Sensations salads are quite healthy choices, although they might not fill you up for long, and some of the dressings and extras are quite high in energy and fat. Chilli is not a bad option, if you leave off the shredded cheese.

Surprises: A hot stuffed baked potato might seem like a good option, but choose carefully: a Bacon & Cheese potato has 2428kJ and 25g fat – as much as a Big Classic burger.

Best choice: Mandarin chicken salad

4.3g fat

% of an average person's daily intake:
Energy: 6.0%
Fat: 6.1%

Worst choice: Big Bacon Classic

33g fat

% of an average person's daily intake:
Energy: 28.2%
Fat: 47.1%

Burger King

On the website: There is full nutritional analysis of each menu item.

In-store: No nutrition info is displayed, but you can look at a chart if you ask for it, and if you want to take it away, they will photocopy it for you.

Healthy options: You can 'opt 2 swap' fries for a salad, or a soft drink for water, but it will cost you an extra 60 cents. Lite mayo instead of regular is free.

Best choice: TenderGrill Chicken with lite mayo

6g fat

% of an average person's daily intake:
Energy: 17.9%
Fat: 8.6%

Worst choice: Double Whopper with cheese, bacon, avocado and BBQ sauce

64g fat

% of an average person's daily intake:
Energy: 49.6%
Fat: 91.4%


On the website: There is comprehensive nutrition info, and a nutrition calculator allowing you to find out the content of whole meals.

In-store: Nutrition info is on all packaging and on every tray mat.

Healthy options: McDonald's has a range of Lighter Choices menu options, including some of the DeliChoices rolls and SaladsPlus menu. Sprite has been replaced with (sugar-free) Sprite Zero in all stores. Kids' menus include apple pieces (which can be swapped for fries at no cost), milk and water, and there's the option of the new Pasta Zoo meal of vege-filled pasta.

Surprises: Not all DeliChoices are part of the Lighter choices menu, so choose carefully. The BLT, for example, has 1930kJ and 15.2g fat. Be careful of sides too; a large French fries has close to a third of the fat in an average day.

Best choice: Classic chicken deli roll

5g fat

% of an average person's daily intake:
Energy: 15.9%
Fat: 7.1%

Worst choice: Boss burger

51.7g fat

% of an average person's daily intake:
Energy: 40.1%
Fat: 73.9%

Author: Cindy Williams

Healthy Food Guide

First published: Oct 2007

2017-04-03 16:58:19

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