Eat smart at McDonald’s

As a point of interest, I wanted to see what I could find on eating at McDonald’s.  What would it mean to our health?  If you eat fast food, you need to supplement your diet with proper nutrition.  If you eat poorly, you need to compensate with supplements. This can sometimes be accomplished with good cooking.

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”

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.  Along the way, we’ve managed not just to live history, but create it.  Witness drive-thru restaurants to Chicken McNuggets to college credits from Hamburger U and much more. It’s been quite the journey.  We promise this is just the beginning.We have our hearts set on making more history.

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?”

When searching on the topic I came across the following.  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:

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

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

Its terribly 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’s staggering. It is the exact opposite of what any doctor or nutritionist (even the good ol’ USDA MyPlate) 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, increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and sometimes fatal cardiovascular health problems. In fact, the processed fat in McDonald’s food (and other fast food) promotes endothelial dysfunction, which is linked to erectile dysfunction down the road. Is all of that really worth a couple of minutes without whining?  http://1m13.com/hcg1234/

kids dont eat mcdonald'sThe 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.

mcdonald's

It hurts families.

Are you looking forward to the holidays? Planning family meals and special Christmas morning surprises? You’re lucky. For the millions of parents who have no other option but to take jobs in the fast food industry (because, you know, if they go on public assistance while looking for better work they’re called mooches), these luxuries don’t exist. In recent years, McDonald’s has urged its franchises to stay open on Christmas day. To add insult to injury, workers at company-owned restaurants didn’t receive overtime for working the holiday last year. This is on top of the frighteningly low pay, zero benefits and general exploitation.

mcdonald's

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 agriculture (i.e. factory farming). 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? Because kids, especially crying, screaming ones like in the NYC custody story, are very persuasive. Those commercials and toys are meant to create life customers.

Images: mxmstyrodonkwan, strangecosmos.com, mtumesoulphalinn, evelynishere

 

THE QUESTION?

So then comes the question… if you are eating at McDonald’s, “How to eat healthy at McDonald’s?” – Or is it just best to stay clear and stay away.  With the growing numbers of new restaurants encompassing the Globe, is it something you should be supporting, or something that is literally hurting our fellow Earth Dwellers?  It has been stated by Doctors in several Health Consortiums, Conferences and Training Events that I attended throughout the 90’s that McDonald’s (in particular) and several other Fast Food Chains utilized engineered foods to make us eat more and more, and to literally gain cravings for their Food.  .

What can you do to make it Healthy – or Healthier?  I then found the following:

I also feel that if you are going to be eating in fast food, you had better be supplementing your diet with proper nutrition.   Go Here for Direct Access.

See Ref 2 Below:

Believe it or not, sometimes even diet experts eat at the Golden Arches.

What do Ronald McDonald and dietitians have in common? They’re “lovin’ it”—the Golden Arches menu that is. Before you call our bluff, hear us out: Not only is this true, we’ve got proof—in the form of eight diet experts’ go-to picks.

Bear in mind that most of our experts said that dining at the fast food joint was only a “sometimes” occurrence, but either way, their RD-sanctioned picks are sure to come in handy next time you can’t kick a fast food craving or find yourself with no where else to eat. Although they don’t exactly qualify as the best weight loss foods in the world, you have our word that none of the meals below will drown your hard-earned results in a pile of fry grease. And for the best top swaps at MickeyDs, be sure to buy our new Eat This, Not That! 2015 book!

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A PROTEIN-PACKED BREAKFAST

“Not only do I eat guilt-free at McDonald’s, I think they get a bad rap all too often. When I’m flying in the morning, I typically get an Egg McMuffin and a coffee. The sandwich only has 300 calories and it offers 17 grams of satiety-providing protein. Instead of the egg white version, I stick with the whole egg sandwich because the yolk contains carotenoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.” – Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND, a Chicago area registered dietitian and nutrition communications consultant

Like what you hear? We checked in with a crack team of diet pros to get you even more delicious advice. Click here to get healthy and happy with Top Diet Experts’ #1 Weight Loss Tips.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A BEEF-BASED LUNCH

“Every so often when I have a long drive and can’t pack food or snacks, McDonald’s is where I go. l order a kid’s meal comprised of a hamburger, small order of fries, a bottle of water and a Cuties clementine. This meal has 390 calories and 13 grams of fat.” – Toby Amidor, MS, RD nutrition expert and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day

This is worth repeating: You don’t need to strike burgers from your meal plan if you’re trying to slim down. To have the best of both worlds, indulge in The Best Burgers for Weight Loss.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A CHICKEN-BASED LUNCH

“I turn to the indulgent-sounding, but not overly heavy Premium Grilled Chicken Ranch BLT Sandwich. As long as you avoid the Crispy version–which adds an unnecessary 160 calories and 13 grams of fat–the super-low calorie count of the chicken breast lets you enjoy some splurge-worthy toppings like bacon.” –Dave Zinczenko, Creator of the Zero Belly Diet

“If I had to get a full meal from McDonald’s, I’d order a grilled chicken filet, sans bun and mayonnaise dressing. Removing the bun and dressing reduces the total fat by 7.5 grams and cuts about 450 mg of sodium. To help keep me full and add some vitamins to the meal, I’d also get a side salad and top it with a fresh mandarin orange.” – Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, Owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios

IF YOU WANT TO STICK WITH A SALAD

“It’s no surprise that a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist might order a side salad with grilled chicken from McDonald’s, but the dish is a good source of protein and iron, which will help you feel fuller, longer. Topping the greens with with Low-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette or Family Recipe Italian Dressing makes for a delicious meal that comes in between 290 and 460 calories.” – Libby Mills, MS, RDN, LDN, Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

“I’d skip the soft drinks and opt for Dasani water and then I’d have the Premium Southwest Salad with grilled—not crispy—chicken. I like that the beans and corn in the salad offer up some fiber. To lighten it up a bit, I’d have them hold the cheese and tortilla strips and use only half of the dressing. Then I might have a Vanilla Reduced Fat Kids cone, just enough to tame the craving for something sweet!” – Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, founder of Real Nutrition NYC

“The Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken is a good source of fiber, which can boost satiety and aid digestion. Add a bit of vinaigrette dressing for some flavor and wash it down with some water.” – Lauren Minchen MPH, RDN, CDN, a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist based in New York City

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR AN ENERGIZING SNACK

“If you feel that you’re low on energy and McDonald’s is your only bet, try getting the fruit and maple oatmeal—just skip the calorie-laden brown sugar, cream, raisins and Craisins. This snack will most likely curb your appetite until your next meal because the carbohydrates will take longer to digest than your typical high sugar donut or pastry.” – Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, Owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A LIGHT DINNER

“If I’m in need of a quick light dinner, I might order a premium McWrap Southwest Grilled Chicken. After a quick dietitian’s makeover of removing the tortilla strips, cheese and ranch sauce, this wrap only contains 380 calories while serving up a whopping 27 grams of muscle-building protein and 4 grams of appetite-suppressing fiber. Finish it off with a side of apple slices to make for a well-balanced meal that will make you sing ‘I’m lovin’ it!’” – Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group

Learning where you can grab low-cal, high-protein snacks on the run will make your weight loss journey even easier. And keep your waistline toned and tight—in record time—with these essential 10 Best Foods for Rapid Weight Loss.

IF YOU’RE CRAVING SOMETHING SWEET

“The Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait has 150 calories and 4 grams of protein, making it a good snack.” – Gina Consalvo, MA, RD, LDN, Pennsylvania-based owner of Eat Well with Gina

Image: Bikeworldtravel / Shutterstock.com

I also found the following info. 

and it gives some light as to decisions you can make should you find yourself at the Golden Arches – and you really are not looking to create health problems down the road, or at least you want to be wiser about your selection (even though that Big Mac may be calling out your name – along with the Fries Playing Cheerleaders for your taste buds to become addicted once more):

See Ref 3 Below:

healthy mcdonalds

The scenario is like this: You’re on a long drive. The road ahead is completely bare and your stomach is making noises louder than the radio.

You’ve eaten all of your healthy road snacks and there’s not a restaurant in sight. Until … those infamous golden arches miraculously appear as a tumbleweed tumbles by, making the choice a definitive one: You’ll be taking a pitstop at Mickey D’s.

These kind of experiences happen to the best of us. Even the most prepared person must sometimes compromise her routine to avoid the the lurid side effects of hanger. There are ways to make the most of your McDonald’s mischance.

SUPPLEMENTING…….

Again: I also feel that if you are going to be eating in fast food, you had better be supplementing your diet with proper nutrition.  There are many choices  Go Here for Direct Access.

For the sake of strategy, we referred to 10 nutritionists (who tend to avoid fast food like the plague) and asked them what their order would be in an urgent instance like this one. There were a few general trends: When possible, order grilled instead of fried; eat something with protein; try to incorporate a vegetable or fruit; select a meal that will actually fill you up. Check out the McDonald’s orders of 10 nutritionists below so next time, when hanger hits, you’ll be better equipped to order like an expert.

Note: None of the experts interviewed below work with McDonald’s or were compensated for their responses.

Nutritionists At McDonald’s

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 dessert.

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

MORE NUTRITION:

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

CONTINUING:

Fries And A Small Chocolate Shake

“I’d get fresh, hot fries (not wimpy cold ones) and a small chocolate shake. Why? When famished,  I’ll get “quick energy”  from carbohydrates, Actually. I enjoy fries and shakes without worrying about nutrition right now. 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

MORE CHOICES:

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  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.

Plus, it  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

Finally:

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

 

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

Ref 2: http://www.eatthis.com/what-diet-experts-eat-mcdonalds

Ref 3: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/19/healthy-mcdonalds-what-to-order_n_6886068.html