How to eat smart at McDonald’s Is This Healthy Eating?

As a point of interest, and personal concern for myself and my family, I wanted to see what I could find on eating at McDonald’s, and what it meant to our health. Healthy Eating is of course important to everyone of us.

According to their own website:

http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/websites.html

“Good food and fun knows no boundaries. McDonald’s has over 32,000 locations in more than 100 countries around the globe.”

“We serve more than 60 million people around the world every day. Learn more about our company, our environmental policies and social responsibility efforts, and our history”  But Does that mean we are all eating Healthy?

And as referenced from their site: http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/our_story/our_history.html

Our History

Since 1955, we’ve been proud to serve the world some of its favorite food. And along the way, we’ve managed not just to live history. From drive-thru restaurants to Chicken McNuggets. It’s been quite the journey, and we promise this is just the beginning.We’ve got our hearts set on making more history.

Eating Healthy ? Is this really a good food and lifestyle decision for us and our family?  Is this something we really should be doing???

We all may ask:  “Is it a good idea to let my children eat at McDonald’s?” Is this Healthy Eating?

When searching on the topic I came across the following information. It is pretty alarming and enlightening to what we all think is the answer… no… you probably shouldn’t let them eat McDonald’s… not if you love them.

See Ref 1 Below:

4 Reasons to Never Let Your Kids Eat McDonald’skids mcdonald's fast food

1. Its a lie.

McDonald’s, really fast-food in general, isn’t real food. The “nugget” isn’t a part of the chicken’s anatomy, real ribs have bones (I’m looking at you McRib), and, most importantly, real food rots. Check out this McDonald’s hamburger from 1999. Yes, it’s been sitting on a shelf for 14 years. There’s not a spot of mold or a single maggot. If nature’s natural composters don’t recognize it as food, neither should you. If you feed your kids McDonald’s, you forever alter their concept of what real food looks, feels and tastes like.

mc donald's

2. Its heinously unhealthy.

There are few things that derail your health like fast-food. The average McDonald’s meal contains so much sodium, unhealthy fat, sugar and empty carbs.  It is the exact opposite of what any doctor or nutritionist  would consider a healthy diet. A 2004 study published in “The Lancet” found that eating fast food more than twice per week is linked to rapid weight gain. As well as  increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And sometimes fatal cardiovascular health problem.

 

3. The company refuses to acknowledge what its food does to kids.

Sure, sure, every day we hear that McDonald’s offers a plethora of healthy choices, blah, blah, blah. It doesn’t matter. Offer as many weird, wilted salads as you want. But almost no one buys them, and certainly not kids. If McDonald’s is so healthy for kids, why doesn’t the company prove it? Instead, McDonald’s has consistently refused to assess the impact it has on children’s weight and health.

 

 

4. Because your kids are their future.

We haven’t even begun to discuss the impact McDonald’s and other fast food chains have on the environment and agricultue. If those issues matter to you, the last thing you should do is introduce your kids to this food. It’s no secret that one of the oldest items on the McDonald’s menu is the “Happy Meal.” A kid-sized sack of fake food accompanied by a plastic, Made in China toy. McDonald’s has and always will target children with its advertising. Why? . Did we mention fast food has been proven to be intentionally addictive? Once hooked, McDonald’s knows your kids will return as adults, allowing them to continue their gross, destructive, exploitative practices in perpetuity.

 

 What should you Eat

Regular Burger With A Side Salad

“If you must have something more “traditional” at McD’s, opt for a regular burger patty and swap out the fries for a side salad with low fat vinaigrette dressing. Otherwise, I’d choose the Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken.”
— Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D.
Sweet Chili Chicken Wrap (Grilled), Apple Slices & A Side Salad

“I’d choose the Sweet Chili Chicken Wrap because it’s grilled chicken, and I like chili/sweet sauces. It doesn’t have the least amount of calories on the menu, but if I have to eat McDonald’s, I don’t want to eat it and still be hungry after.

I’d round out the wrap with a fruit and side salad to transform it into balanced meal.”

4-Piece Chicken Nugget, Small Fries, Apples & A Go-Gurt

If it is lunch time, I typically choose a kids meal. A 4-piece nugget, small fry, apples and a go-yogurt. This contains fewer than 500 calories. With this meal, the small portion size equals the right amount of calories for me. Plus it’s adding a fruit and dairy serving for the day.”

Angela Ginn-Meadow, R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E., Spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Premium Southwest Salad (No Chicken), McCafe Latte and Cuties

“I would select the Premium Southwest Salad without chicken (I’m a vegetarian), a McCafe Nonfat Medium Latte and a side order of cuties.

All of this would total to 350 calories, 70g fat, 55g carbs, 8g fiber, 35g sugar and 21g protein.

This meal would be satisfying, flavorful, hit most of the food group targets and one that I would enjoy.” — Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

— Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, CDN, ACSM-HFS, National Spokesperson,

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal — Without The Brown Sugar

“Being the oatmeal fanatic that I am (hello, fiber, whole grains and energizing B vitamins!), I’d probably go for the fruit and maple oatmeal without brown sugar. And I’d likely be the annoying customer that asks for blueberries from the yogurt parfait and apple slices on the side.

Complete with a whopping 8 teaspoons of added sugar, McDonald’s oatmeal with brown sugar has more sugar and calories than a 2-ounce Snickers bar.

Moral of the story? Pass on the brown sugar.” — Alexis Joseph M.S, R.D., author of Hummusapien.com

Fries And A Small Chocolate Shake

“I’d get fresh, hot fries (not wimpy cold ones) and a small chocolate shake. Why? If I’m famished, I need “quick energy” which I’ll get from carbohydrates, but also because … I actually enjoy fries and shakes. I wouldn’t worry about nutrition right now because it’s not in the cards. I’d rather get a healthy meal I could savor later, and something quick and enjoyable now.”

— Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, HFS

Bacon Ranch Salad With Grilled Chicken (And Half Of The Dressing)

“I’d order the bacon ranch salad with grilled chicken and use less than half the dressing. It provides some veggies and fiber, some lean protein to fill me up, some calcium and flavor from the cheese and extra flavor from the bacon (sue me, I like bacon every once in a while). I’d also order apple slices as they provide fiber and help me meet my fruit quota.

Once in a while I will eat French fries with ketchup. If I ordered them with a salad, I’d choose a small order. And I’d limit total fat and saturated fat the rest of the day.

I think when it comes to fast food, watching portions is most important. If you stick to smallest portions and try to get foods from at least 3 food groups (lean protein, fruits and vegetables), a fast food meal doesn’t have to be a dietary disaster.”

— Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, Author of “Younger Next Week”

Premium Southwest Salad With Grilled Chicken

“I would have the Premium Southwest Salad with grilled Chicken. I would order that because I would get some veggies, 7 grams of fiber for fullness and would not go overboard on refined carbs (from the buns). I also like that it has 29 grams of protein as I generally strive to get 25-30 grams protein in all of my three main meals every day.

It also has 320 calories, which means I can have a piece of fruit or something else as part of this lunch too.”

— Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., CSSD

Premium McWrap Southwest (Grilled)

“A salad just wouldn’t be enough calories.So if I’m famished, I think I would probably choose the Premium McWrap Southwest (grilled).

Five hundred calories is a reasonable amount for a meal and it’s pretty balanced, with about 40% of the calories coming from carbs, 24% from protein and 33% from fat.

It’s also got a serving of vegetables (including a salad blend that actually includes some nice greens, like mizuna and arugula) and 5 grams of fiber. For fast food, that’s actually pretty good!

The trick would be resisting the fries!!”

— Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN, CNS, Author of “Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for a Healthy Diet”

Southwest Salad Without Chicken

I’d get the Southwest Salad without chicken. I prefer eating more vegetarian foods and that really is difficult at McDonald’s. Trying to eat veggies at each meal is important to me –I like that the salad is mostly veggies with some fun from tortilla strips, cheese and dressing.

It weighs in under 300 calories and has 9 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. Plus, the sodium isn’t off the charts like many other fast food options.”

— Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, LDN

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Ref 1: http://www.care2.com/causes/5-reasons-to-never-let-your-kids-eat-mcdonalds.html