Dining Out Guide

Eating Healthy at McAlister's Deli

From SparkPeople’s Editors

McAlister's Deli has an extensive menu with more than 100 items--including sandwiches, potatoes, salads and soups as well as their famous sweet tea. It's a chain version of your favorite neighborhood deli.

  • They encourage you to get your salad, sandwich or spud just the way you like it, so don't be afraid to add or subtract items when you order to maximize nutrition when possible. The usual rules: Leave off cheese, mayo and other high-calorie items. Choose lean meats and pile vegetables on whole-grain breads. Opt for low-calorie salad dressings and skip croutons and bacon.

  • While McAlister Sweet Tea is something they are known for, they do not include calorie content on their nutrition information. According to some former employee shared information I located, there are about 10 calories per ounce. Therefore, a 32 oz glass of Sweet Tea could contain as much as 320 calories. While it may be a signature item, it is not something we would recommend.

  • When making your own sandwich, the bread you select can make a big difference. A croissant would be your highest calorie and fat choice with 360 calories and 21 g fat. A wheat hoagie would be your best choice with 195 calories and 2 g fat.

  • Nobody likes a dry sandwich. Sauces can add flavor and moisture to a sandwich but they can also add additional calories and fat very quickly. Although it can taste great, it would be best to skip the Horseradish sauce, which adds 132 calories and 12 g fat in a 2-tablespoon serving. Instead, consider the Fat Free Chipotle Peach Sauce with only 60 calories and no fat for the same amount.

  • Giant Spuds are two servings, so plan to split one with a friend or save half for a second meal.

  • If you like soup, this is the place for you! There is an extensive soup menu including both 8 oz cup and 12 oz bowl serving sizes. In this rare case, the small bread bowl option might be a nice addition to your meal, as it only has 140 calories, 1 g fat, and 310 mg sodium. (Just keep an eye on your sodium, as soups are notoriously high in salt!)

  • When looking for healthier options for your children, consider Mac & Cheese with a side of applesauce. The 6 oz serving has 302 calories, 16 g fat, and 714 mg sodium, with the applesauce adding 100 calories but no fat in a 4 oz serving. The PB & J on the other hand has 687 calories and 31 g fat.

  • Side items can make or break your health-conscious meal. Your best choice when selecting a side item would be the 5 oz serving of fruit salad, which has just 81 calories. Another good choice would be the applesauce mentioned above. It would be best to avoid the Macaroni & Cheese also mentioned above, which while fine as a meal for a kid, is too high for a side dish.

  • You will find diet-focused recommendations on their website for vegetarian, higher fiber, calorie smart, carbohydrate savvy, lower fat and gluten-free meals to help you plan ahead.

  • This restaurant provides nutritional info on its website.

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