What better time than the heart of summer to make healthy changes to your daily diet? This is fourth in a series of how to eat better so you can live better each and every day.
McDonald’s recently hosted a blogger breakfast in my area. Everyone attending received full size samples from their breakfast menu and a gift bag with coupons. No compensation was received. All opinions are my own.
I don’t know about you, but it has been at least a dozen years since I have set foot in to a McDonald’s restaurant. I had still been carrying the stigma of fatty fast food and Happy Meals from my kid raising days. And watching Super Size Me a few years back didn’t help my perceptions. With so many other quick food choices out there, I have to admit, McDonald’s was never a consideration. So when I was invited to host a blogger meet up at my neighborhood McDonald’s to learn about their new Egg White Delight McMuffin and other healthy menu options, I thought, “What the heck. This should be interesting. Bring it on.” Well, McDonald’s did bring it on and what I came away with that morning was a new appreciation for the fast food chain, how they prepare their foods, and what great healthy choices they offer morning, noon, and night.
Since 2011 when McDonald’s began their campaign, “Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices,” the company has pledged to provide a menu that includes the recommended servings of a well balanced diet as outlined in the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and My Plate (the replacement to the old Food Guide Pyramid). Come to find out, all day long, McDonald’s is a one stop place for getting required daily portions of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. This commitment means to me and any other health conscious individual that I can go in to a McDonald’s any time and be confident knowing that they will have just what I need for my healthy meals needs.
I shared in my post about Healthy Living Tip #2, today’s eating requirements have changed. As a woman, I should aim for 1,600 – 1,800 calories a day comprised of three, 600 calorie meals and two, one hundred calorie snacks. I learned that McDonald’s offers many meal options that are 600 calories or less that provide the recommended food ingredients and essential nutrients all at once. What a relief. I don’t have to do all the figuring. This particular morning I tried their new Egg White Delight McMuffin (250 calories), Fruit and Maple Oatmeal (290 calories) and a Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie (220 calories). All I can say is delicious. I make my own oatmeal from scratch (yes, I grind my own oatmeal from oat groats) and McDonald’s was just as fresh and wholesome as my own. The smoothie was tasty,made from real fruits, and full of anti-oxidants. I was most impressed with the McMuffin. The egg whites were made to order and so fluffy; no pre-fab discs of egg substitute. The combination of egg white and white cheddar on a whole grain muffin was just so satisfying.
Included with our breakfast was a “behind the scenes” tour of the restaurant. What I found was state-of-art equipment being managed from well trained employees.
Blanca, the manager, shared how fresh all the food is. Everything is made to order so you can substitute with any menu item to meet your dietary and taste preferences.
Salads include 12 different lettuces along with organic baby tomatoes and if they are not consumed within eight hours, they are thrown away. Same with the Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfaits. They are thrown out after twelve hours. The oil contains no trans fats and is filtered throughout the day. And each ingredient is measured. As Blanca said, “Everything is down to a science.”
Being a known “germ freak,” it was reassuring for me to find out that McDonald’s is big with sanitation. Employees are required to wash their hands a minimum every two hours and they take off their aprons when they use the restroom. They also use different colored gloves when working with raw and cooked foods. And I couldn’t help but give a sigh of relief when I saw a hand sanitation station outside the play area. Now I know I can bring my grandchildren to eat and play without any food or cooties worries.
At the end of my visit, my attitude towards McDonald’s and healthy meals was totally changed. The McDonald’s of today is not the McDonald’s of my child rearing era. I know they are looking out for me and everyone else in providing a one stop restaurant that provides healthy options for every meal. On a road trip, or out and about around town. In a hurry or have some extra time, I am going to choose McDonald’s as my fast food choice for healthy meals. I encourage you to do the same!!!
Healthy Tip #4- Explore the healthy food options at fast food chains like McDonald’s.