McDonalds. The fast food that literally no one can resist. I like to think that I am generally a healthy woman who loves my fruits and veggies, but McChickens are one thing I cannot resist.

My boyfriend is a special case. I truly believe he has an addiction to McChickens, which fuel his mouth and his wallet. Just recently, the McChicken price was lowered to just $1.00. So now, the McChicken addict that is my boyfriend, continues to purchase McChicken after McChicken. Repeatedly I question his McChicken addiction, which he justifies with "but its only 350 calories and a dollar is a steal!" 

Orielle Heilicher
(My boyfriend caught in the act and yes, he is eating it in the library)

My goal now is to help him recover from his addiction and replace it with something just as delicious, much healthier and as cheap as I can make it. I have put myself up to the monumental task. 

McChickens consist of warm deep-fried, crusted chicken topped with crunchy shredded lettuce, creamy mayo and finished off with a soft white bun. There is no greater American combination. But what is REALLY inside a McChicken? And is it really healthy, despite the surprisingly low calories?

I am going to take my best research skills to the Internet and the kitchen to find out if I can make a better, healthier version of the McChicken.

Calories, while they do matter towards your daily caloric intake, are not as important as nutritional value. The ingredients listed is where you can find out the nutritional and health value of your meal. So don't just count your calories. It is possible to eat McDonalds without feeling bloated, but there is a better way to eat the same deliciousness without your stomach wanting to implode. 

What's even in it?

So what is really in a McChicken? According to the McDonalds website, the McChicken patty consists of "Boneless Chicken, Bleached Wheat Flour, Water, Vegetable Oil, Modified Corn Starch, Sea Salt, Spice, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Paprika, Dextrose, Sodium Phosphates, Leavening, Natural Flavors with Extractives of Paprika, Yeast, Corn Starch, Garlic Powder." Wow so many ingredients and that is just in the chicken patty. 

Orielle Heilicher

So, why is it so unhealthy?

The ingredients must sound like a bunch of gibberish to you, but it basically just means in the process of eating your 350 calories, you are also ingesting all of this other stuff, and lets face it, who really knows what any of that stuff is? It's probably chemicals that preserve the food and more chemicals that really aren't needed. This 350 calories is also 15 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbs.

Although the 15 grams of protein seem great and for all you work-out-aholics, but the chemicals within the food, if consumed time after time, can deteriorate your health and lead to 2 of the top killers of humans in the United States; heart disease and diabetes. This is mostly due to the imbalanced diet and the proportion of meat we eat daily. 

Some experts say that a person should only consume 50 grams of protein, 70 grams of fat and 310 grams of carbs a day. I'm sure you are thinking, "wow, so a McChicken definitely fits within my calories. I can have like 3 and be totally fine." While this could be true, the contents of a McChicken are very low quality and do not provide low saturated fat protein, low fiber carbs, and don't have assorted vitamins and minerals. 

I believe that with the power of my hands, my brain and my tongue, I can make a healthy, more tasty version of the McChicken. With my boyfriend as my judge, we will decide which McChicken wins it all.

Now, after some trial and error I have finally made the masterpiece and it has my boyfriend's stamp of approval.

The recipe:


2 eggs

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 cup Panko

1 tablespoon Salt

1 tablespoon Black Pepper

2 tablespoons Garlic Powder

2 tablespoons Cayenne Pepper

2 tablespoons Paprika

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Olive oil mayo (half the fat of regular mayo)

1 8-pack Whole Wheat hamburger bun

Butter (to spread on buns)

1 head of Romaine Lettuce

Steps towards deliciousness:

1. In a pie dish or rounded plate, crack the eggs and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then whisk (this is the egg wash). 

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, panko, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix until well incorporated.

3. Rinse chicken breasts under cold water, then cut each breast horizontally, creating two thin halves. 

4. On medium heat place two tablespoons of light olive oil on a medium sauce pan. 

5. Take each half breast, coat it in the egg wash until covered, then place in panko/flour until fully coated, then place on the heated saucepan.

Orielle Heilicher

When each breast is browned evenly on both sides, set them on a plate covered with a paper towel (in order to absorb the excess oil). 

6. While the chicken is cooking, take each half of the whole wheat buns and coat them lightly with butter and place on a small saucepan, on low to medium heat, until browned and crispy.

7. Wash lettuce and tear off bun sized portions


Put 1/4 tablespoon of olive oil mayo on the toasted bottom bun, place the lettuce on top of the bun, then place one chicken patty on top of the lettuce, and finish it off with the top bun.

Orielle Heilicher

What now?

Now we have finished the refurbished McChicken and it is healthier and free of harsh chemicals.

Although the McChicken is convenient to get and pretty cheap, making this meal with your roommates can be pretty fun and relatively cheap. As one of my roommates said, "wow, it tastes so much fresher. Now I know what McChickens are suppose to taste like." 

While McChickens every once in a while are delicious, I can promise you that making it yourself tastes way better. 

I can tell you it was definitely a hit. (see reaction below)

Orielle Heilicher
Orielle Heilicher