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

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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


Did you guess the correct winner?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


CECELW 12/31/2020
The only thing I can tolerate at McDonalds is the coffee Report
PATRICIAAK 12/2/2020
:) Report
PATRICIAAK 11/9/2020
:) Report
Thanks for the thought provoking article Report
I don't eat either from McDonalds, so this doesn't matter to me, but I hope it helps others chose wisely Report
If I have to, I'll get the fruit/walnut salad or a side salad with light Italian dressing. And yes, sometimes I'm naughty and eat fries...

When fast food has to happen for a meal, those just aren't enough. Taco Bell's bean burrito has 370 calories, 10 g. fat, and I think 10 g. protein. Not exactly the best choice as far as sodium, but calorie-wise could be way worse. Not being able to eat non-organic meat without a trip to the E.R. has certainly saved me a lot of fast food calories. Report
I like the simple hamburger better. Report
I've never had the McBites, but I'll be staying away from them. I already like the nuggets, so if they taste better than the nuggets, I'd rather not tempt myself!

For everyone complaining: They're not telling you to run out and buy McNuggets. They're saying that, IF you had to choose between them and the McBites, choose the McNuggets. I, for one, am still in the process of transitioning to healthier foods (I'm a very picky eater and the one thing in life I am NOT open-minded about is food), and I do find myself in McDonald's every once in a while. If you've already hit a point where you go back to nuggets and they taste horrible, good for you. I'm sure I'm not the only one that hasn't hit that stage. This kind of information is good to have; it gets you thinking the right way. Baby steps! Report
Funny thing i was just at mc ds yesterday ,i decided after eating clean food for two good weeks and having lost 6 pounds, i had to spoil myself a little since i never cheated. Got the kids mc nugget meal with apples , all was welluntil i took abite of the nugget, yukkkkk, it smelled wonderful but it was as if my tongue was drenched in oil. I could taste every gram of fat on that nugget, it was disgusting. I completely lost my appetite and felt like vomiting. Thanx to eating clean organic food ,close to not processed meals( vegetables,fruits,fish)my tongue literally sent signals to my brain that wateva i had put in my mouth wasnt good for me. So proud of my self. Thank u sparkpeople. Report
Love the McBites; willing to take in those extra calories for their taste. Report
I had to make this very choice recently. I'm glad I chose correctly then and now. Report
The alternative, may cost a bit more, is when I want a fast finger food, I will stop at chick-fil-a. They have grilled bites, not batter or skin. They taste great. Be careful which dipping sauce you get, that's where it bites you back. They have a guide there in store that tells you all the nutrition facts of the sauces and everything else they sale. And if its not in the brochure, they can print individual item facts at the register.
I found staying away from fried foods as much as possible is better for you. Report
As a treat for our granddaughters, who never eat at McDonalds, we brouht them there for lunch yesterday. Each got a Happy Meal, but only ate their apple slices. To encourage them to eat anything besides fries I bought the new McBites, which I assumed would be healthier. They were so bad....too much batter, which just cooked to a hard crisp, leaving nothing to taste. I was rather disappointed, and my 5 and 2 year-old granddaughters reminded me that that is why their Mommy never takes them to McDonald's! Report
I chose the wrong one. I thought McBites would be the better choice because (they say) McBites are actual pieces of chicken - Chicken it's an actual food. Mcnuggets are mechanically put together chicken scraps. Of the two 'evils' I still think the mcbites are the lesser - even if looking at the calories doesnt tell that story. There might be more nutrition in the actual piece of meat.
I seem to have missed the part where we are being "encouraged" to eat at Mcdonalds though. I must agree with DLG505, a shift in attitude has happened here at SP. I started noticing it last year and curbed my visits.
People dont seem to think/believe that they have a choice. We do though. You dont like/eat/agree with Mcdonalds...thats just fine move on. Why the need to stick around and belittle? Report
Do some research on chicken nuggets. They aren't chicken at all! They discovered that they are putting anti foaming agents into chicken nuggets. Please do not feed this to your children! I wouldn't eat the chicken bites either...they are made from sick chickens that are pumped full of hormones to make them bigger and they are given antibiotics because they are ill and live in filthy factory farming conditions. I can't believe this article is encouraging us to eat this garbage! Report
I agree with bumblebee....I work at McDonald's too. I don 't eat a lot of it but when I do it's mostly the snack wraps...just remember YOU make the choice what to order....we don't do it for you! Report
I guessed right, and for the right reason. I'm so proud of myself.

One another note, I used to travel from North Carolina to Pennsylvania several times a year. I would stop at McD's for McNuggets at lunch because I could eat and keep driving...until the day I offered the cat one. He hissed and hid at the back of his carrier. For an animal that is an obligatory carnivore (can't get all its essential nutrients w/o eating meat) to not only refuse to eat 'chicken' but to feel threatened by it, well, that says there is something wrong. He does eat my dad's bbq chicken and fried chicken, and he goes crazy over coq au vin, so whatever the problem is, it wasn't the cat.

In a similar vein, same cat loves the smell of Chineese food. Will crawl inside the bag and faint in ecstasy. When I put the plate on the floor for him to nibble leftovers, he invariably tries to bury poo.

I stopped eating McNuggets on his say so, but I can't give up my Chineese food completely. Report
My husband works at McDonald's, so, that means that they pay our bills.....So, what can I say! :) Report
i can't believe anybody @SP actually still eats from places like McDonalds. !! Report
On the subject of how nuggets are made.. all of America's processed meat is made the exact same way.Just so you know. Sausage, hot dogs, lunch meat. Same stuff. So its just not McDonalds. If you grew up on a farm with tons of kids to feed. You would be used to life of using. the proverbial "whole hog".. chicken nuggets case.. chicken.
If you seen how chicken McNuggets were made, you would never eat them again. If you are interested, check it out on Youtube, just type in "How Mcdonald's Chicken McNuggets are made" and you get a number of videos. I for one will never buy them for me or anyone in my family; just think of how many children eat these! Report
I eat at McDonalds sometimes and I really like nuggets. For me, 30 calories in difference isn't really enough of a difference for me to chose one over the other. From what I've seen in the commercials though, it looks like the McBites may actually be small pieces of chicken breast, rather than as processed as the nuggets. Not sure. Based on that, I would think they would be a healthier choice for me. Otherwise I could go with either on the rare occasion that I eat at McDs. Report
Neither one. I don't like fried foods. I do, however, grab one of their chicken snack wraps on the rare occasion. The grilled ones with either honey mustard or chipotle BBQ sauce are 250 calories, but only 8 grams of fat. And they taste better!!! Report
This is good information, but really, the option should be NEITHER. That stuff doesn't even fill the gap. In fact, it makes you hungrier. There is more and more proof that the ingredients in things like McNuggets (sugar, salt, flour - all heavily processed, including the meat!) are very addictive. There are just so many bad things about fast food that I really think the only option is to just not eat it! If you don't believe me, read the article in the Huffington Post called "Food Addiction: Could it Explain Why 70 Percent of America is Fat?" Report
This should be a no-brainer for math/science geeks. The smaller piece of chicken has more surface area for the breading and oil to stick to. Report
If I'm ever at McDonalds and need a snack - or a meal - I choose the grilled chicken snack wrap without the sauce. Curious to know how this compares to the other "snack" options mentioned. Thanks to SparkPeople for making us think about these things! Great info. Report
Good information! Thanks!! Report
Not a McDonalds consumer, but have seen the ads for these. I'm always curious about AND suspicious of these 'new' products. Interesting that they try to fool the public with the name 'McBites' which sounds so small and harmless. Thanks for once again revealing the truth behind the marketing. Report
Thanks this is appreciated. Sparkspeople keeps its real. Thank you for sharing this info for free... Its helped me make better choices.... Im sorry that there are others out there that are so negative.... But at the end of the day, we all need some type of convience food. We dont have unlimited time.

both pretty gross! Report
I kind of cheated to know that the McNuggets are better than the McBites... because I've become obsessed with the McBites. One of the pitfalls of having a toddler is that she'll eat McDonalds... and despite how unhealthy they are, I just can't pass them up. The last time we were there I also splurged on a small Caramel Hot Chocolate. And after sitting in a tattoo shop for 4 hours (with my daughter) and walking half a mile in the snow (also with my daughter) I think I deserved that disgustingly bad for me treat. Report
NO thanks to all of them! Report
I was addicted to fast food so I have to stay away from it. I had type 2 Diabetes (not any more thank God) so for me it was life or death. But I am weak of will, so what helps me stay away from Mickey D's is remembering all the news articles about gross stuff they've found in the food from time to time. I don't mean the chemicals, I mean insects, etc. When I think about that, I don't feel deprived the way I used to. My food is not anywhere near perfect but getting off the fast food has truly been a blessing for me. Report
McDonalds is off my list to eat no matter what food it serves. I am sorry but I feel patting a stray pit bull is much safer then eating their foods. (yup I have boycotted McDonalds because they support animal abuse) Report
I am new to sparkpeople and would like to say thank you! McDonalds is part of my life because I work there 5 days a week around 45 plus hours a week. Fast food restaurants are trying to get healthier and just because u eat there doesn't mean what u eat isn't. Instead of fries eat the apple slices or the fruit and walnut salads, don't super size your order and drink water! It is funny to me how many say I wont eat McDonalds but yet we are a company still hiring to keep up the sales!!! Stop criticizing fast food because the public doesn't chose to eat the healthier food! Report
I agree with DLG0505. KWITCHERBITCHIN,people! Report
One of the things I like about SparkPeople is the information they give us. Not everyone cooks every meal at home. Not everyone eats perfect at every meal. Some of us are old and forget to bring our lunch and find it sitting on the kitchen counter when we get home from work! The information is helpful and although some people may not need it or want it, others do.

I have noticed a very sad trend on SparkPeople lately that people have become negative and very critical of the Spark Staff's blogs. Critical of choices of topics, critical of other people. I believe that SparkPeople is aware not everyone eats how we should at every meal. So what they do is give us options that are healthier for the times we do grab something fast. And I, for one, appreciate their information and their efforts.

When I first joined SparkPeople you very rarely read a criticism. Now they're all over the place. Last week I read a comment by a lady that was mad because of the chocolate article and was leaving SparkPeople. Her comment made me bristle because of the tone and criticism. With all that SparkPeople has done for us, and this site is FREE, we should be appreciative. I'm a firm believer if you can't say something nice then you shouldn't say anything at all. But today I had to speak up and defend this article. And defend SparkPeople, because I am grateful for the site and all the tools, information and knowledge that I find here. Report
There are some very negative and some very bitchy remarks about Food Showdown.
I don't eat fast foods. Full stop. I really loathe the smell, let alone the taste - I don't even eat burgers, sausages etc at home.
And I used to get annoyed that the Food ShowDown concentrated on fast foods, including donuts and other stuff.
But now - I've mellowed. I know there are folk who still eat fast foods, whether because they have to or whether because they happen to like the stuff.
It's not for me to judge. I'll continue cooking at home, and enjoying myself while I do so. Yes - some of us are that way inclined, and cannot be understood by time-limited SparkFriends.
Give and take!
There are so many articles on SP that nconcentrate on the "good food" angle. I now realise that the Food ShowDown is also performing a service to SparkFriends of a different habit.

Thanks SP for catering to the needs of all. Report
"Don't be fooled by the size or weight of a food-- even ''snack-sized'' portions can pack a caloric punch!" There's way more to getting healthy than servings size, calories and fat content. While there are times where we give in to less than healthy choices, let's stick to foods that are at least somewhat real. Report
I am surprised that Sparkpeople would encourage consumption of any kind of McDonald's junk. This is very disappointing. Report
I don't go to McDonalds as much as I used to. I eat mostly at home and try to
eat nutritious meal. If I do go to McD's I would eat a salad, but I don't even like their salads, they don't taste fresh. If I do go with my kids, I get the small hamburgar and take off one bun and eat it that way. I don't buy pop I drink water. Also I got the showdown wrong. Report
I was hoping for an improved Showdown. It's really time. Report
And Jamie Oliver wept...

?v=S9B7im8aQjo /link

I never knew how chicken nuggets were made until I watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution show, in the link above. I think this article should have included a video of how nuggets are made, using ground up gizzards, sinew, connective tissue, blood, bone, ammonia, and the other "ingredients" in order to inform people about what they are actually consuming. This is just not healthy eating. It's really just pointing out the lesser of the two evils, imo. But to each their own. Report
I'd like a deep-fried McTwinkie with that, please. Report
When McDonald's starting advertising these new McBites, I knew they'd be way worse than regular ol' McNuggets. They're basically popcorn chicken. More surface area that is fried = higher calories. I stay away from McDonald's and all fast food anyways. I don't always eat perfect but after deliberately shifting to an overall healthier diet, I just can't eat fast food anymore without getting horribly sick. All my friends were like that's so sad but I see it as an advantage. I'm never tempted by this stuff anymore! Report
This is junk food...!!! Not part of a healthy life style at all. Report
Can we say overly processed pseudo-food? Not really worth human consumption AT ALL! Have you seen the starting point photo of mechanically separated chicken paste that makes this stuff? You should, but the the comment box won't allow the url posting.
This chemical mess is NOT gonna enter my trying-to-get-healthier body!

- Maryjean Gregory Report
We do not eat at Mc D's. This is fast food at its worst. Report
I miss the daily emails for the food challenges. Report
I have to agree @RD03875...showdowns work better as regular emails. Report