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You Want Salad with That? McDonald’s to Offer Salads, Fruit, Veggie Sides

You Want Salad with That? McDonald’s to Offer Salads, Fruit, Veggie Sides


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The new offerings will replace fries as the default Value Meal option

McDonald's is continuing its effort to make its menu healthier.

For as long as McDonald’s has been offering Value Meals, the formula has remained basically unchanged: a sandwich, fries, and a drink. But all that’s about to change: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the fast-food giant will begin offering salads, fruit, and vegetables as options as well as fries.

The move was announced on Thursday at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, amid criticism that the chain promotes unhealthy eating habits. And now that we think of it, offering healthy options instead of fries makes perfect sense.

They’ll also reportedly begin using Happy Meal packaging to promote healthy childhood eating, with "fun" nutrition-related information.

The chain has been working hard to compete with Panera Bread and other options that are perceived as a bit more classy and healthy, and not much more expensive. They’ve recently rolled our egg white breakfast sandwiches, for example, as well as chicken wraps.


Snacks & Sides

At McDonald's, we take great care to serve quality, great-tasting menu items to our customers each and every time they visit our restaurants. We understand that each of our customers has individual needs and considerations when choosing a place to eat or drink outside their home, especially those customers with food allergies. As part of our commitment to you, we provide the most current ingredient information available from our food suppliers for the eight most common allergens as identified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish), so that our guests with food allergies can make informed food selections. However, we also want you to know that despite taking precautions, normal kitchen operations may involve some shared cooking and preparation areas, equipment and utensils, and the possibility exists for your food items to come in contact with other food products, including allergens. We encourage our customers with food allergies or special dietary needs to visit www.mcdonalds.com for ingredient information, and to consult their doctor for questions regarding their diet. If you have questions about our food, please reach out to us directly at mcdonalds.com/contact or 1-800-244-6227.

Percent Daily Values (DV) and RDIs are based on unrounded values.

** Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


The 10 Healthiest McDonald's Menu Items, According To A Dietitian

Look, you know McDonald's isn't exactly the destination for quick, nutritious eats. But whether you're craving drive-thru food or stuck hangry on the road with few snack options, sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.

That said, if you're trying to keep it healthy, certain menu picks are certainly better than others.

Some of the major issues with McDonald's famous fast eats? Loads of saturated fats and added sugars, which are linked to heart disease and inflammation, respectively, says dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It.

In addition to those two undesirable factors, most menu items are also packed with an exorbitant amount of salt. &ldquoThe sodium in some of these menu items is crazy,&rdquo Taub-Dix says.

If consumed in excess (anything more than the American Heart Association's recommended 1,500 milligrams a day), sodium can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and a slew of other serious conditions. Considering the average American consumes twice the recommended amount of sodium daily (according to the AHA), ordering McNuggets, fries, and a McFlurry to keep you from getting cranky on your next road trip suddenly doesn't seem like such a great idea.

Luckily, not all of the McDonald's menu nutrition is quite as ominous. In fact, McD's has quite a few lesser evils you can choose from. Here, Taub-Dix shares the 10 best eats to pick from the next time you find yourself at the drive-thru.


Dilly Potatoes Grilled in a Packet

Dilly potatoes grilled in packets go great with flame-cooked meats. Steaming them on the grill after a short marinade produces the perfect crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside texture. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Live Updates

Mr. Donahue conceded that the Shaker salads "did not resonate with customers" in part because customers did not like the idea of eating salad from a plastic cup. The company sold about 170 million of them in the 18 months they were on sale.

At the McDonald's corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., the excitement over the new salads has as much to do with public opinion as rising sales. Five months before the salads were introduced, the company had to contend with a debate over what role it has played in the nation's expanding waistlines after two overweight, burger-loving New York teenagers filed a lawsuit accusing McDonald's of making them fat. A judge dismissed the case, but a federal appeals court last month overruled that decision, allowing the suit to proceed. Many had already come to see McDonald's as a symbol of everything that is wrong with the American food supply.

"Salads have changed the way people think of our brand," said Wade Thoma, vice president for menu management in the United States. "It tells people that we are very serious about offering things people feel comfortable eating."

Apple Dippers, which come with caramel dipping sauce and are offered either as part of a Happy Meal or sold separately for $1, do not have the same blockbuster status as the salads. But they have also given McDonald's customers some alternatives to burgers, chicken nuggets and fried potatoes. Mr. Thoma said the salads help explain why the company is serving one million more Americans now than it was a year ago. Many of these customers, he said, are mothers who feel better about giving their children Happy Meals if they come with fruit rather than fries.

McDonald's executives say they hope to put even more fresh fruits and vegetables on the menu. "We're always thinking about this," said Mark Lepine, the director of food innovation and development. "We're looking at whether we can leverage the Apple Dipper concept for carrots."

That is music to the ears of Grimmway Farms, the country's largest producer of carrots. "We think snack packs of baby carrots really make sense for the fast-food environment," said Lisa McNeese, vice president for food service sales. "Today we're growing sweeter varieties and improving flavor."

The potential payoff from suddenly moving a product into 13,700 restaurants is so big that the orange industry is kicking itself for not being better positioned for the fast-food market. Oranges are not sold at McDonald's or the other big chains, with the exception of canned mandarin oranges at Wendy's. "We've got to pool our resources and do a better job of processing oranges in an economical fashion," said Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual, a trade association of citrus growers.

Mr. Lepine says he gets frequent calls from fruit and vegetable growers, industry associations and processors wanting to enlighten him on the attributes of their products and to offer him taste tests. At times, he says, his desk is stacked with bags of lettuce and stalks of broccoli.

BUT there are limits to what Mr. Lepine and his team can do. "There has to be a willingness on the part of the customer to buy these products," said Mr. Lepine, who has been working on menus at McDonald's for seven years. "We only sell things that people want to buy."

For instance, McDonald's does not want to sell something that people may have readily available at home. It learned that lesson from the disappointment of Go-Gurt, a squeezable tube of fruit yogurt that McDonald's sold in a deal with Go-Gurt's manufacturer, General Mills. Despite Go-Gurt's popularity in supermarkets, it didn't sell well at McDonald's and was pulled within a year. "Kids think of McDonald's as a treat, and it's not a treat if you have it at home," said Vicki Spiller, the director of new product purchasing.

McDonald's also faces the problem of trying to satisfy contradictory consumer demands. Maura Havenga, senior vice president for supply chain management in the United States, said that a lot of McDonald's customers say in focus groups that they want healthy food, but less than 10 percent actually buy the salads. "Everyone says they want a veggie burger, but we sell about two or three a day in stores that sell still them," she said.

For that reason, McDonald's is cautious in introducing products, especially nontraditional ones like sliced apples. Mr. Lepine's team took three years just to get the internal approval to move ahead with consumer testing on the Apple Dippers. It took an additional year to complete the required four stages of focus group research.

Mr. Lepine was among those who wanted to sell apple slices without the sugary dipping sauce. But because McDonald's insists that all new products get a clear thumbs-up from more than 70 percent of its test customers, dipless apples did not make the cut.

"The cost of failure is extreme," Ms. Spiller explained. "We have 26 million customers we serve every day in the U.S., and we've got to make sure we get it right."

It helps if healthy food looks nice, too. The premium salads were designed, in part, for aesthetic appeal. Cheap and reliable iceberg and romaine account for 90 percent of the lettuce in the salad the 10 percent smattering of spring mix is intended to make the salads more attractive to the eye as well as the palate.

The carrots in the salads, for example, are sliced so thin that customers are lucky if they end up eating one-quarter of a small carrot, but the delicate slices don't fall to a puddle at the bottom of the bowl. "Women look at the salads and say, 'It's beautiful,"' said Ms. Spiller, proudly. About 80 percent of salad buyers at McDonald's are women, she added.

Healthier fare does not come cheap, for McDonald's or its customers. Fruits and vegetables are much more expensive and complicated to ship and store than meat and potatoes. Unlike meat patties, chicken breasts, French fries and other items on the McDonald's menu, salads and fruit cannot be frozen and stored for a month in distribution centers. Shipments of Apple Dippers and salad components leave McDonald's warehouses several times a week, which is part of the reason salads cost $4 and everything else can be had for less than $3.

The care required for perishable food also raises the costs. Spring mix is much more delicate than iceberg and romaine lettuce and is twice as expensive, said Bill Zinke, vice president for marketing at Ready Pac, which supplies McDonald's with all three kinds. "It's almost like you have to protect every leaf," he said.

Similarly, grape tomatoes, which dot the lettuce on McDonald's salads, are more than double the price of plum or standard tomatoes.

Despite the fragility of the salads and fruit, McDonald's says it does not use any artificial preservatives or additives to keep them fresh longer. The calcium ascorbate in the Apple Dippers is not much different from the orange or lemon juice that many people pour on their homemade fruit salad to keep it from browning.

At Ready Pac's plant in Irwindale, Calif., oxygen is sucked out of the large lettuce packing bags and replaced with nitrogen, an inert gas. This is the same process used on bags of lettuce sold in supermarkets, and, as a result, the McDonald's supply of spring mix lasts about the same as they do: 14 days. Because of that, said Mr. Smith, the McDonald's executive, "we have to have a very tight-knit distribution network."

PRESERVATIVES were a big issue for Newman's Own, which is responsible for supplying dressing for the salads. When McDonald's first approached the company in early 2002, Paul Newman, the actor who is its chief executive, made it clear that the arrangement would have to be on his terms. One condition was that the company would not use artificial preservatives.

"When we told them we wouldn't do salad dressings with preservatives, they were a little scared," recalled Tom Indoe, the chief operating officer at Newman's Own. "We taught them they really didn't need them." He added that McDonald's was eager to work with Newman's because of the company's all-natural products and reputation for corporate responsibility.

Despite his initial reservations about working with McDonald's, Mr. Newman went ahead because sales to a customer of McDonald's size could improve his company's bottom line -- and therefore increase the amount it gives to charity. Newman's Own contributes all its profits to charity working with McDonald's has increased that amount by more than $3 million a year.

As part of the three-year deal, though, Mr. Newman has approval over all advertisements and promotions that feature the premium salads. That represents an unusual concession for a company like McDonald's, which is accustomed to calling the shots. So far, nothing has been rejected, Mr. Indoe said.

Some critics bristle at the notion that McDonald's has somehow become healthier simply because it uses natural dressings and sells salads and some fruit. "Nearly all the entree choices at McDonald's -- as well as Burger King and Wendy's -- are still all of poor nutritional value," said Margo Wootan, director of nutritional policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food activist group. "I applaud them for making those changes, but there's still a lot more that needs to be done."

Ms. Wootan also points out that the Apple Dipper caramel sauce, which is packaged separately, has nine grams of sugar, one-quarter of the total recommended daily limit under new guidelines of the Department of Agriculture.

Other advocacy groups said that they were hopeful that McDonald's would one day use its power not only to get better prices and greater supply, but also to change the way the produce industry operates -- for the better. Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, an advocacy group based in Little Marais, Minn., said he would like to see McDonald's buy some organic products, which he believes are more healthful for consumers.

In a 2003 report on pesticides in produce, the Environmental Working Group, a public-policy outfit based in Washington, ranked apples as the third-most-contaminated produce group, after peaches and strawberries, in terms of pesticide residue. The findings were based on tests done by the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration from 1992 to 2001.

"McDonald's could have a huge impact," Mr. Cummins said. "They could be the company that changes agriculture toward a more organic and sustainable model." It may sound far-fetched, but from a company that's come a long way from the days of selling mainly hamburgers and fries, anything is possible.


McDonalds Salads Menu Prices

McDonalds Salads Menu Prices can be very affordable and unhealthy. You might think that you are being healthy by eating a salad at McDonald’s but you may be surprised to find out that most of their salads have more calories and fat than their cheeseburgers. McDonald’s Southwest Crispy Chicken Salad: 480 Calories, with 24 grams of fat.

McDonalds Salads Menu Prices

Every lunch hours meal is served with your choice of an icy soft drink and their world-famous fries. To keep pace with the changing needs of customers, McDonald’s even offers chicken salad with fresh veggies, greens, and special dressing. … Bacon Rach Grilled Chicken Salad. Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad.


Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

If you only dream of eating lobster with a side of cheesy garlic biscuits, this copycat Red Lobster recipe is what you've been waiting for. They are easy to prepare with only 5 ingredients, including store-bought biscuit mix, and bake to perfection in only 10 minutes.


Extra Value Meals

The company’s history can be traced back to 1940, when brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald decided to open a barbeque restaurant in San Bernardino, California. They quickly noticed that their most profitable item was their hamburgers and in 1948 they converted their restaurant into a hamburger stand.

It was in 1948 that they introduced their “Speedee Service System” which was to revolutionize the fast food industry and create the blueprint of the industry model today. McDonald’s was a fast growing business and in 1953 the company began franchising and the first franchise was opened in Phoenix in 1953. Their second franchise was opened in the same year in Downey, California this location holds the title for the oldest operating McDonald’s.

In 1955 the founding brothers met Ray Kroc who saw the potential that the business had. After various disagreements between Kroc and the McDonalds, Kroc bought them out of the company completely and began global expansion. The famous ‘golden arches’ were made a trademark logo of the company in 1953, with the current version that we know and love being trademarked in 1968.

Over the years, they have remained true to their core values: providing affordable, tasty, convenient food. With branches in 119 countries, they have proven their continued popularity time and time again.


15 Discontinued Fast-Food Sides We Want Back

Conventional wisdom says that it's better to have loved and lost, but is that true? When it comes to discontinued fast-food menu items, sometimes the loss is so painful I wish I never knew how good something like Taco Bell's caramel apple empanada was. You make room for something in your heart, only to have it torn away before you get the chance to say goodbye.

With that in mind, it's a bittersweet feeling as we reminisce upon these discontinued fast-food sides. McDonald's fries were indisputably better before the ྖs, and Taco Bell has sent way too many tasty foods to the graveyard.


McDonald&rsquos Vegan McPlant Burger Arrives Next Year, But Until Then Here&rsquos What To Order

I mean, Burger King, Carl&rsquos Jr., and White Castle already offer a version of vegan plant-based patties made with Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat products. And, &ldquoTaco Bell and Chipotle are known for having an even wider variety of vegan options,&rdquo says nutritionist Shanthi Appelö, RD. (Both even have special sections on their website dedicated to vegan eaters.)

Honestly, even McD&rsquos international game is stronger than its showing in the U.S. &ldquoWhile McDonald&rsquos French fries are vegan in most of the world, the U.S. version uses a milk derivative in its &lsquonatural beef flavor,&rsquo&rdquo says Appelö. Other countries also enjoy exclusive vegan menu items, like the McFalafel (Sweden) and the McAloo (India).

Luckily for us vegans hanging on the North American continent, McDonald&rsquos is finally launching a plant-based burger (aptly named the McPlant) in 2021. Though the fast-food giant hasn&rsquot released much info about the plant-based patty, it&rsquoll likely be a &ldquovegan option to enjoy in moderation,&rdquo Appelö says. (Most popular plant burgers are high in saturated fat and sodium.)

While we wait for the McPlant to drop, though, vegan eaters will have to make do with the current Golden Arches options. The below list of McDonald&rsquos vegan menu items will get you started if you find yourself stuck at the drive-through.

First, though, you probably want to know which condiments are vegan, yeah? The safe list:

  • Newman&rsquos Own Classic Oil and Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • White Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Citrus Splash Dressing
  • Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette
  • Sesame Ginger Dressing
  • Zesty Italian Dressing

Of course, mustard, ketchup, sweet and sour sauce, barbecue sauce, spicy buffalo sauce, and maple syrup are also a-okay.

That said, you may also want to come prepared with a few travel-friendly ingredients to give your vegan order a little oomph, especially considering McD&rsquos lacks vegan protein options. A few ideas Appelö recommends:

  • Packaged roasted edamame
  • Packaged roasted chickpeas
  • Nuts
  • Almond or peanut butter

With this intel in mind (and a few add-ins up your sleeve), you can create a vegan McDonald&rsquos meal that&rsquos actually somewhat satisfying. Now, here&rsquos what you can order.


The good news: no animals or environmental infrastructures were harmed in the making of this salad. The not-so-good news: the side salad contains a minimal 15 calories, leading to minimal taste and enjoyment. If you want something with a little more flavor, try ordering one of the main salads without chicken.

Typical smoothie flavors are blueberry pomegranate, strawberry banana, or mango pineapple. A smoothie can be a great addition to your breakfast or lunch, containing around 200 calories and a decent portion of carbs. The origins and quality of the fruit may be uncertain, but the smoothies are ethically produced with little effect on the surrounding environment.



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