Food Showdown: McDonald's 6-piece Chicken McNuggets® vs. Chicken McBites Snack Size™


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  79 comments   :  55,640 Views

You're strapped for time and decide to hit the McDonald's drive-thru for a quick afternoon snack. How about some Chicken McNuggets®? They're small, portable, and surely fewer calories than a sandwich. You could go with the tried-and-true 6-piece chicken nugget box, or… wait a minute! There's a new item on the menu: the Chicken McBites Snack Size™. It's only 3 ounces, whereas the 6-piece box of nuggets weighs in at 3.4 ounces. The bites may weigh less than the nuggets, but does a lower weight indicate a lower calorie count?

Quick, you're almost to the drive-thru window-- which chicken snack is better for your waistline? 

The Winner: 6-piece Chicken McNuggets®!
The lower-calorie victor this round is the good 'ol fashioned 6-piece Chicken McNuggets® box. Even though the Chicken McBites Snack Size™ weighs less than the nuggets, it still packs in 310 calories and 19 grams of fat... and that's without any dipping sauce! By comparison, the 6-piece nugget box clocks in at 280 calories and 18 grams of fat. Since the chicken bites are smaller, they have more surface area for batter to stick to, upping the fat and calorie content. This is a perfect example of calorie density. Don't be fooled by the size or weight of a food-- even ''snack-sized'' portions can pack a caloric punch! If you're looking for an even lower-calorie chicken snack option, go for the 4-piece Chicken McNuggets® box (190 calories and 12 grams of fat).

Photo Source: found on Flickr and


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  • 29
    I'd rather have the e-mails back! - 2/19/2012   7:24:10 AM
  • 28
    the only time i eat at MC Donald's is for breakfast and i am sure the food police will me like they did on the Today this week but sometimes i just want hot cakes a sausage. like a lot of the comments I am not a perfect eater all the time but I do try to eat healthy most of the time and the last time i was at McDonald's was in Dec so i don't go very often but i enjoy the way you present the information you don't make me feel like a fool for enjoying the food once in a while thanks for the information and the manner you present the information - 2/18/2012   11:14:24 PM
    Ingredients wise your still better off just going with a hamburger if you HAVE to stop at McDonalds for food. In a crunch I just go for the gas station and grab a bag of raw unsalted almonds. - 2/18/2012   10:54:36 PM
  • 26
    It is good information, though I have not eaten at a McDonald's in probably a dozen years. We have tried to make healthy food choices for a long time but had not had been able to manage or lose weight. What finally helped was SparkPeople helping us being aware of and controlling portion size and track everything we eat. - 2/18/2012   10:39:26 PM
  • 25
    I used to like the KFC ones better. - 2/18/2012   9:27:39 PM
  • 24
    When I absolutely *have* to stop for fast food, the only place I'll go is Jack in the Box. This is because they put the calorie content right on the drive-thru menu so I don't have to guess.
    As a rule, though, I will do whatever I can to avoid fast "food" in favor of *real* food, even stopping at a grocery store deli. It only takes a few extra minutes to run in and get a salad or sandwich and I know I'm getting a better product. Mostly I stick to my friend's rule of "If I'm leaving the house for more than two hours, I'll pack a snack for the trip." - 2/18/2012   9:09:59 PM
  • 23
    'What a super helpful article. My son tried the McBites and said they tasted much better than the McNuggets. Boy I should have known better. The taste's do to the increase fat content. - 2/18/2012   8:10:02 PM
  • 22
    Doesn't really matter the winner, it is all JUNK....not real food at all. Too much fat, too much salt.... - 2/18/2012   7:48:44 PM
  • 21
    We don't have a chick-filet up here, so that's not an option for us.

    The showdowns in the time that I've been here have covered a lot of different territory--the good for you, the bad for you, and the OH MY GOD DON'T EAT THAT. Yes, they tend to focus on things like packaged foods and restaurants/fast food, but that makes sense to me. If I make something at home, I know what went into it. When I eat out, it's really easy to eat WAY more calories than I expect.

    While it would be great if I didn't eat out at all, especially fast food, there are days (like today in fact) where I end up doing that because I'm gone all day and have to eat somewhere. My husband eats at McDonald's more than I do because he sometimes is out of the office visiting various projects sites for work (a lot of them in Detroit) and his fast food options especially in Detroit are really limited--nor can he easily bring food from home when he's out because he doesn't have refrigeration or access to a microwave and he has a lot of food allergies which limits his options. He can't have salads (he's allergic to, among other things, carrots, cheese, tomatoes, eggs, and nuts) so he usually gets the chicken nuggets (no sauce). I had wondered about the chicken bites as a possible alternative so it's good to know that the nuggets are fewer calories. - 2/18/2012   6:11:54 PM
  • ANNEV2012
    If it was food, I'd consider eating it!!! - 2/18/2012   6:10:04 PM
  • 19
    Some of us here have children. Some of those children like McDonalds.
    Recently my son and I went to McDonalds. He actually asked me which of these foods were healthier. I didn't know. He picked the less healthy one because he had to make a choice and didn't have the information. Now he does.

    I'm glad that Spark puts this information out here for us.
    I'm really disappointed in anyone who would want to keep this information away from us.

    If you think this sort of article is new, then you haven't been reading your SparkMail. I do read it and I appreciate it.

    I need this information. If you don't need it, don't read it. - 2/18/2012   4:52:32 PM
  • 18
    The reason Chik-fil-a tastes good without the sauce is because they put sugar in the batter. Surprise! - 2/18/2012   4:01:52 PM
  • 17
    THANK YOU!! I have told a number of people that these things would pack extra (definitely not "snack" appropriate) calories, due to the extra breading! Being gluten free, I am not even tempted by any form of Chicken McNuggets/McBites, but am happy to see my suspicions and statements validated!! - 2/18/2012   3:58:54 PM
  • 16
    Chick Fil-A is an excellent choice for "nuggets". Real chicken, little batter, and delish without any dipping sauce!!! - 2/18/2012   3:47:43 PM
  • 15
    I chose the regular McNuggets because they are larger and hold more chicken then the new mini bites. Also the amount of breading increases when one makes a product smaller - more surface area per serving and that adds salt, fat, and starch. On occasion, I will get a mini meal with 4 nuggets, apple slices, and a small drink from McDonalds - and I know the meal is with in my nutritional budget. - 2/18/2012   3:32:44 PM
  • 14
    I don't believe this is an ad at all. This is the real America for so many people on the go. This info does the leg work for us. If we happen to find ourselves at a McDonalds (the last time I was there was for my childs school fundraiser...I know that could be an entire issue right, but I went to support the school), it is good to know ahead of time which are the "better" options. I wish I could steer clear of fast food at all costs but it isn't practical for sooo many of us. I like to be armed with info like this when I do end up eating outside of my home! SP shouldn't be reprimanded for giving us real life info! - 2/18/2012   2:42:58 PM
  • 13
    I like these food showdowns, they're fun and informative.

    I did not pick the right one.

    - 2/18/2012   2:42:21 PM
  • 12
    I really like these blogs! Unfortunately sometimes circumstances bring me to fast food places, and it's hard to figure out the better choices. I'd love to see a blog post showing the best choices at various fast food places. :) - 2/18/2012   2:40:00 PM
  • 11
    I haven't gotten the impression at all that SP is getting any kind of reimbursement for "advertising" for McDonald's... and I don't think this showdown is an ad, really. Like several people have already said, time constraints (and children, and in my case, a McD's-lovin' husband) and other things--even the concept of having one cheat meal/day a week--can make nearly anyone want or need to go eat fast food once in a while.

    For myself, I prefer BK to McD, and I LOVE that our local one has the chart of nutritional info posted on the wall--I choose from that instead of their pretty and new digital menu. Aside from burger joints, there aren't many "fast" food options in my small town. There's a Subway, but my dietitian has advised me to to eat there because I have no way of knowing the temperature their meat's been sitting at, or how long it's been sitting there. And frankly, if I'm going to have a cold-cut sandwich, I can make a better and tastier one at home, knowing EXACTLY how many calories, carbs, protein, etc. it's going to have in it. My burgers, on the other hand, aren't as consistently tasty, and aren't remotely as quick to make.

    If there were a place anywhere nearby where I could choose a salad or something and not end up with a big pile of bland iceberg lettuce, which gives me heartburn where Romaine and other lettuces won't, or a health-conscious meal at a fast-food speed and price (or even something close to it) then that might be an option. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be a big concern in this country.

    I don't feel like this DailySpark will make me decide to eat at McDonald's, but I'm glad that SP is taking into account the places that are out there, that are convenient, and that have options like this--or, like someone already mentioned, some of McD's healthier options. Cheers to SP for just helping us all keep informed! - 2/18/2012   2:36:14 PM
    I'm actually glad you showed the difference between the two items. I was wondering what the hype was about the bites. I'll stick with the nuggets, thanks for showing the difference between the two items. As for the negative postings above, in a perfect world, McDonald's wouldn't be an option. But for those who stop at fast food places on occasion, it's good to know about food nutritionals to steer people towards healthier options. Keep up the good work Sparkpeople! - 2/18/2012   2:08:02 PM
  • 9
    Blech, useless showdown - 2/18/2012   1:27:02 PM
  • 8
    Oh wow, I'm feeling embarassed that I'm not a 100% "perfect eater" like some people on this website. How dare I occassionally enjoy chicken nuggets (in moderation).

    Not everyone is going to devote themselves to a healthy lifestyle 24-7, due to circumstance or time constraints, and while there are better choices to be made, I think its cool that SP posts these sort of things so that those of us who have a full agenda can have an idea instead of going on an assumption. - 2/18/2012   1:25:57 PM
  • 7
    I understand that SP gets funding to keep the website "free" with advertising...but are we really pushing McDonald's now? I can't BELIEVE that SP is advocating eating their food by making this blog the daily blog...especially one of the fried items! SP (per their mission statement) is SUPPOSED to be about healthy living...where does McDonald's "fake" food figure into this? I know that most of us (on occasion) indulge in a little junk food, but I can't help but feel gobsmacked by the inappropriateness of SP choosing to highlight a blog pushing ANY of their fried foods. Is SP this desperate for funding that they are neglecting good health in favor of quick cash now? This is sad...and I'm REALLY disappointed!! - 2/18/2012   12:55:46 PM
  • 6
    Guh. I tend to avoid McDonald's altogether, and when I first saw the McBites ads, my initial thought was that they were downsizing their items so they could improve their profit margin... just like almost everyone else in the food industry, even at the grocery stores, seems to be doing. - 2/18/2012   11:39:14 AM
  • 5
    It would be great if we could eat every meal at home but sometimes we find ourselves out and it's good to know stuff like this. I was attending a birthday gathering at this restaurant a few weeks ago. I was thinking salad, but looking through the nutrition chart I concluded that for sodium, fat, and protein content, 6 piece nuggets was the way to go. Though now that I'm boosting vegetables, I probably would go with the salad and only use half my dressing. - 2/18/2012   11:37:34 AM
  • 4
    Are the showdowns always going to be food that is really bad for you. I wasn't impressed with last weeks since one was deep fried and the other chocolate coated. Now this week is from fast food. Really?!? I hope you guys can spot light things that are more realistic than deep fried food. I think we can all agree go grilled instead of deep fried. How about things that sound like they are a healthy choices but they really aren't. This has yet to be a helpful article to read for me but hope it will be in the future. - 2/18/2012   11:08:19 AM
  • 3
    I realize its more in calories but the Chicken Mcnuggets don't taste like real chicken unlike the Bites do. I don't like pressed chicken because its really not real chicken. I'll stick with the Bites. - 2/18/2012   10:45:54 AM
  • 2
    I'm disappointed to even see an article like this. Gross. - 2/18/2012   10:24:18 AM
  • 1
    Although I don't run out to buy McDonalds nuggets every day, I do like them once in a while. I was thinking about trying the bite size in the future. I like this article because it let's me be aware of the smaller surface area of the bite size having more calories. There is nothing better than this kind of knowledge. - 2/18/2012   10:17:00 AM

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