Posted at 11:46 pm on June 11, 2012 by Farrah
I had my third and final farm tour this past weekend so I have healthy eating on the brain these days. Actually, it is something on my mind almost every day as I’m sure it is for many of you. But I’m also a mom on-the-go with little boys who aren’t as fun to be around when they are hungry. So just like many of you, I often choose to feed my boys (and myself) on-the-go instead of trying to get back home from wherever we are to make lunch before the cranky sets in. But even in those on-the-go meal moments, I still like to think that I am able to give my kids food that isn’t too unhealthy and maybe even slightly nutritious (not sure about that though).
At the end of May, I took my boys downtown to the Rock-and-Roll McDonalds for a nutrition seminar hosted by one of the dieticians who works for the McDonalds corporation. The goal of this luncheon was to highlight some of the healthier choices you can make at McDonalds and showcase their new Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal. It was a room full of tough critics- moms and other health conscious women who probably all walked in a little skeptical of what we would hear. I had a pretty good idea walking in of what they would say: “Our food is fresh… we have healthy choices… we serve well rounded meals…. don’t judge before you try…” And I wasn’t too far off base truthfully. Except I was actually pretty pleased with what they had to say. It is obvious to me that they have worked really hard to provide more health-conscious choices for those who are wanting to make more nutritious choices when they eat on-the-go.
Let’s face it- there are people who WANT to eat a juicy Big Mac with salty french fries and that is THE reason they go to McDonalds. I’m not here to judge. We all have guilty pleasures. And in moderation or as a special treat, I’m not even saying that’s a horrible thing. But for people like me who choose McDonalds and other fast food options more for the convenience factor than for the greasy craving, it is nice to know that McDonalds has options that I can feel pretty confident about feeding to my kids. They have several meal options for less than 400 calories:
Lunch/Dinner- Grilled chicken classic (350cal), snack wraps w/ grilled chicken (250-270 cal), cheeseburger (300cal), Premium salads (grilled chicken, no dressing 190-290 cal), 6pc Chicken nuggets (280cal)
Side Note: We got to sample the Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal… delicious! It is a tad sweet but has the tart blueberries to kinda counter it. Yum!! Both my boys gobbled it down.
Many of these low-cal items are pretty decent sources of whole grains, lean proteins, & low-fat dairy. I was kinda surprised. I was also pleased to learn that you can now get blueberries a la carte or as part of your kids meal. You can ask for salt-free fries, substitute side salad or apples for fries, and many other slight adjustments that make your meal a little more like something you would prepare for yourself at home (except that you don’t have to make it and you can get it while running the kids to and from camp/soccer/dance/piano lessons/playdates/etc…) The McDonalds execs kept saying that the staff at any restaurant should be more than happy to substitute and adjust menu items for you according to your health-conscious decisions. If they don’t, ask to talk to the manager or let someone know. They are being trained to allow customers to switch healthy choices for less healthy ones in an effort to affirm their commitment to offering improved nutrition choices. All nutritional information for each menu item can be found online, on the product packaging and the tray liners and through the McDonalds mobile nutrition app.
I know eating fast food isn’t the best option for my kids. But sometimes it is the best option at a given moment when you factor in the rest of our day and mommy’s sanity. And sometimes it is a special treat for good behavior or to have a little break from the routine. Whatever the reason you go to McDonalds, it is nice to have options you can feel good about. And I can now tell you, I think we do.