McHealthy Eating at the Golden Arches

We love McDonald’s. One thing is certain – we tend to order the fried, overly-salty options rather than acknowledge their equally tasty and healthy choices. We think that this is because when we make the conscious decision to enter the drive-thru at Micky D’s we have a preconceived notion that we aren’t going to eat healthy. But much of this unintended forethought is due to the fact that we aren’t too familiar with the healthier options. As children our Happy Meals consisted of McNuggets and fries, which then translated to our familiarity with these two options. This is one of the many reasons why our knee-jerk reaction at the drive thru window is “20 piece McNuggets and a large fry.” However, after taking another look at the menu, there are a few healthier options  that we always overlook because we rarely see them advertised.

McDonald’s doesn’t advertise their meals to be healthy, which wouldn’t make sense since over 80% of the menu is fried, greasy, salty, and oily. But for those health-conscious consumers, they do offer sandwiches and salads that substitutes the battered and fried buttermilk chicken with grilled chicken. The grilled chicken sandwich, we believe, doesn’t have enough flavor to satisfy the everyday consumer as the chicken lacks a lot of seasoning to hold up to its nearly $7 price point. The southwest grilled chicken salad, however, is the complete opposite. At around the same price for your standard Big Mac meal, you can upgrade to a healthy and much more flavorful meal, topped with light cheese, corn, black beans, tortilla strips, and chunks of grilled chicken. The southwest grilled chicken salad is arguably one of the most flavorful meals you can possibly order at McDonald’s.

If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast option, look no further than the egg white delight McMuffin. At around 200 calories, you can fill up on this lower-calorie breakfast option without feeling the guilt of consuming a whole day-worth of calories as one would feel after eating the deluxe breakfast platter with pancakes and sausage. Out of all fast food breakfast options, this McDonald’s option is definitely the healthiest.

McDonald’s is currently renovating most of their fast-food chains to offer kiosk ordering and transform it into a sit in restaurant. Personally, if we were in charge of McDonald’s day-to-day operations we would keep the structure of McDonald’s as is, but highlight the healthier, grilled chicken options like the Southwest salad, or even the grilled chicken wrap, to open the consumer market to healthier patrons and remove the stigma of McDonald’s as a completely unhealthy fast food operation. In fact, most fast food places should take this advice. We digress.

Nonetheless, everything is about options so we hope that the public is aware of all of their options prior to ordering at any food establishment.

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Grilled chicken southwest salad at McDonald’s

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