In terms of getting the best bang for your buck, you really can't argue with the allure of the Dollar Menu, especially when you're on a budget or away on a road game. Although it wouldn't be my first choice, it's possible to put together a nutritious meal from the McDonalds Dollar Menu.
Many of my clients skip breakfast for lack of time. Stopping at McDonalds can be helpful if you're in a hurry. But instead of ordering the oatmeal or smoothie, which are full of sugar, opt for an English muffin sandwich with sausage, egg, and cheese (but hold the cheese). You won't get the leanest form of protein, but the sausage and egg combination will keep you full longer. The English muffin is a better choice than the biscuit or croissant, which are higher in fat. (See 7 Healthiest Fast Food Breakfast Options.)
For a mid-day pick-me-up, the Dollar Menu offers chicken sandwiches and salads. The menu might specify a "fried chicken sandwich," but you can ask the server to customize your order with a piece of grilled chicken. Pair this with a side salad. If "fried" is your only option, take the chicken off the bun and eat it on the salad. Choose an oil-based dressing rather than a creamy dressing to reduce saturated fat.
Another good lunch option is the fruit and yogurt parfait. Though it is higher in sugar than I would like, it still has some protein, fruit and complex carbohydrates from the granola. This would be a good meal on the go.
There are currently two burgers on the Dollar Menu: a McDouble and a Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger. Stick with the cheddar burger since cheddar cheese is less processed than American cheese and you only need one burger patty. Skipping the extra patty will leave room for dessert. Yes it's possible to enjoy a dessert from the Dollar Menu. The vanilla cone is a well-portioned sweet treat to go with your meal. (Check out Pick and Pass: McDonald's Cheeseburger or Salad?)