McDs Egg Sausage McMuff - © McDonalds

What You SHOULD Order At McDonald’s – If You Must…

We all too often see posts on health and general-news websites about how unhealthy Fast Food is. They often suggest ‘What NOT to order…’ Today, I’m pleased to showcase a post from FOX News about what you SHOULD order from McDonald’s…

McCrispy - © 2023 McDonald'sMcDonald’s McCrispy Fried Chicken Sandwich: Lesser of the big McSandwich evils?

Specifically, Fox’s Perry Ormont Blumburg asked pro dieticians and nutritionists to evaluate the core McDonald’s menu, and reveal the best options for us to consider. I was surprised by some of them. Shocked by others (for reasons I’ll explain when w get to them). And reassured by at least one.

Blumburg’s ‘experts on call’ were Catherine Karnatz, a Rhode Island nutritionist, and Lara Clevenger, a registered dietician/nutritionist from Clearwater, Florida…

What you SHOULD order…

Breakfast
The Egg McMuffin

Did you think it was a non-starter, based on nutritional factor? Apparently not! At ‘just’ 290 Calories, 16 g protein, and mere traces of sugar, it’s looks pretty healthy. But there’s a lot of frying and cured meats going on, too. One McMuffin delivers 11 g of fat and 750 mg of salt – a whopping 33 percent of your daily recommended total salt intake! But one now and then isn’t going to hurt you…

Mains

Classic Hamburger

No, really. It’s smaller – therefore lower in Calories (just 250) and other ingredients – than other, larger, often cheese-topped sandwiches on the McMenu. On the plus side, it offers 12 g of protein, 8 g of fat, 27 g of carbs, 0.8 g salt and 3.9 g sugar. On the minus side, I have to point out, it IS pretty small, and one probably won’t satisfy most diners over the age of 6.

McCrispy Chicken

Good news for Chicken lovers. The McCrispy packs ‘just’ 470 Calories and provides a relatively generous 26 g of protein. It also comes with fewer toppings, sauces and other potentially undesirable (dietarily) add-ons. But its deep fried, and therein lies the rub: 26 g of fat, and 840 mg of salt. Still, Blumburg’s pros rate it the lesser of the large-sandwich evils.

Sides

You were expecting, maybe, Small Fries or something similar? Sorry. The pros couldn’t bring themselves to recommend any McSide, of any size. But that’s just a fact of life in the Fast Food universe…

Snacks

Apple Slices

A dietary home run. But, for other reasons that immediately became apparent to me, a loser in consumer’s eyes. Yes, apples are healthy. No, there’s no salt, no fat, no ‘added’ preservatives or toppings – anything. Hoorah. But A small pouch containing just three slices sells for $1.19. You can get a whole apple at the supermarket for half that! I guess Apple Slices went on the menu as a symbolic illustration of the company’s McCommitment to healthier eating. And, of course, as an option in the Happy Meals.

Beverages

Sorry, again. No fizzy fountain beverages made the cut. Loads of sugar in some, loads of artificial sweeteners in others. Artificial flavours and colours throughout the spectrum. But…

McCafé Café Americano

“Looking for a quick caffeine fix without the sugar crash? McCafé Americano (any size) contains 0 g sugar,” Karnatz says. But… “Remember that coffee isn’t a meal. And is best paired with food.”

Desserts

Vanilla Cone

Surprise! There is one McDessert you can enjoy more or less guilt-free. It’s the classic Vanilla softserve Cone. Aside from other stuff to make it look and taste the way it does, the Cone delivers 5 g of protein and 15 percent of your daily recommended allowance of calcium. Alas, the 200 Calorie treat also comes with 17 g of sugar. And, with all that said, what are the odds that the softserve machine will actually be working when you want one?

My take

I get the feeling that the nutrition pros consulted were briefed on their task in language that suggested: “If you had to recommend the healthiest selections from the McDonald’s core menu, what would you choose?” Nevertheless…

I think we Boomers approach a trip to McDonald’s – or any of its competitors – as an occasional treat, rather than a daily or even weekly go-to ‘meal’ option.

It’s the Millennials, Xs and Z’s I worry about. They have a well-known bias toward convenience foods and the immediate gratification that the quick service business model offers.

Yes, there are indications that Fast Food joints are struggling, especially under the burden of rising food and staff costs. And there is a solid contingent of younger diners who are opting for healthier fare. But I believe there will always be enough high school kids, harried housewives and go-getters on the go to keep the major chains, at least, in business…

~ Maggie J.

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