July 06, 2011
1. Forget the salad. Give me CHEESEBURGER., 2. MickyD's, 3. Two Generations of McDonalds restaurant owners, 4. McDonalds Blogger Event, 5. Met Ronald #McDonald today. As seen on TV., 6. Meeting Ronald
A while back, I found out about a local blogging event that was put on by McDonalds. They wanted to invite some mom bloggers to try new healthier menu items. They wanted to get the message out - that they are listening to the public about what we want to eat - that we want healthier foods. Looks like all those Supersize movies are finally getting the official response... and honestly, I think McDonald's gets a bad rap on many fronts. I learned quite a few things about McDonald's that really impressed me during our short visit. The two year old survived hanging out with their clown mascot, too. They invited a nutrition specialist and a few local restaurant owners to the luncheon ... and quite a few good points about nutrition and people's food habits were brought up. I listed some of the take-aways below...
1. You can put a million healthy choices on the menu - and there are people out there that will order the cheeseburger and fries anyway. [Like me. I love the tagline for their sandwiches page on their website: "You so want one."]
2. You can put the calorie and ingredient list on every single tray liner - and there are people that will order the cheeseburger and fries anyway. [Like me.] Want to see the nutritional content of your favorite meal at McDonald's? Check out this "Bag a McMeal" interactive site!
3. If you are the cheeseburger and fries type (like me), it's OK to eat your burger... but "please don't eat something rich and then just sit around - exercise and work it off"... "back in the 1970's kids were playing outside - not playing Nintendo". Part of the reason high calorie foods aren't great now days is our lazy lifestyle. McDonald's can educate, but they can't force you to get off the couch.
4. There aren't many other burger chains that have as many healthy food alternative options for moms on the go... especially not at McDonald's prices.
5. The Egg-McMuffin actually uses REAL egg. Still. [I saw them myself in the cooler! I love Egg-McMuffins.]
6. Every 2 hours, the entire line of cheeseburger ingredients is tossed out and replaced. No old lettuce, cheese, mayo or tomato. No heat lamps, either. Not any more! Their managers do internal inspections TWICE A DAY also - every employee, every machine... in addition to the health department's inspections.
7. They don't flip burgers any more. No more chances of meat not meeting temperature requirements. [Loved the kitchen tour I got - great for a homeschool field trip idea - and was able to check out the new state of the art equipment.] You can see videos of how they make your favorite menu items if you follow the kitchen link in this paragraph! You can also see the FAQ page and ask questions of your own if they aren't answered there.
8. McDonald's kids meals have less than 600 calories - even with the fries.
9. They were the first restaurant to willingly offer their nutritional information to the public - did you know that? Yep - back in 1973. [I was in diapers back then.]
10. McDonald's restaurants are involved with the communities they are in - and the company as a whole donates nearly $44 million dollars per day (returning more than 52 cents of each dollar earned to their local economies). They also award scholarships, fund the arts, host teacher nights, and send their managers to nutrition school.
The McDonald's Cons:
1. White bread. I know you guys don't want to throw away food - but honestly... white is so 1970's. Let's move it up a notch, shall we? I get my burgers without a bun if I can, but I would get the bread if it weren't "white bread in disguise". Even the wheat buns are enriched flour... and closer to white than wheat.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup and MSG. MSG is found in the sausage and egg scramble and the ranch dipping sauce. High fructose corn syrup is found in most of the dips, toppings, chocolate and syrup items - including the chocolate milk, Oreo Pieces, frappe mixes, BREADS, and of course - the carbonated drinks.
3. I look really fat in the photo above. Maternity clothes five months after the baby was born is a cryin' shame. Oh, well - I'll use this to spur me on towards more healthy menu choices the next time I dine in -- sans the cheeseburger and fries. [Salad and me need to get a little more friendly in the near future.]
BUT TO BE FAIR... I have to be honest about the corn syrup thing. As much as I hate high-fructose corn syrup - and won't buy anything processed in my own home (we get bread that has no HFCS)... my very favorite thing at McDonald's is their HOT MUSTARD SAUCE.
No, really. I dip my fries in it. I will turn around and drive BACK to get some if they don't put it in with the order. I could DRINK it. I have been known to lick the container clean once the fries are gone. [For shame.]
So... I can imagine that it would be a challenge to make a stable sauce without these overused bad ingredients that are on everyone's hit list these days. I feel for McDonald's, really, I do.
I will continue to eat organic as much as possible, buy healthy foods for my house - with the least amount of processed and packaged stuff possible.... I'll continue to read my labels and work REAL HARD at adding exercise to our weekly homeschool routine (point taken, McDonald's team!)...
... but I wanted to speak up for the record - and for McDonald's - and admit openly that we are thankful they are around - and we're glad to know that they care about our opinions, our kids' health, and our communities. The field trip they put together for us blogging moms was very educational and I was thrilled to see them reaching out and trying to get the public to see them in a positive light.
I mean come on - can you imagine a world without the Golden Arches? Here's to many more years -- and many more healthy menu choices -- from our Fry-Guy friends!
Disclaimer: I was given a free meal (for me and the kids), a fun kitchen-tour field trip, a tiny Golden Arches lapel pin, and a nifty 'green' tote at the Austin mom-blog lunch at McDonald's... but my opinion in this review is my own and was not compensated.
Note to the Skeptics: Even if you aren't the fast food type - you should really check out the smoothies on their menu. Real fruit, lowfat yogurt and ice has never tasted so good (and they sure beat the fatty frappe menu at Starbucks). My husband is a McDonald's HATER and he loves the strawberry-banana smoothie.
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