The “Healthy” Menu You Need to Avoid

McDonalds

McDonald’s now offers a 400-calorie “healthy menu.” But is this fast food restaurant actually a good source of healthy food? Here’s what you need to know.

I’ve taken a look at McDonald’s new healthy menu and firstly, I have to commend McDonald’s for being so transparent about their nutritional information.

The menu itself has a few items which I feel are okay, regardless of the caloric value. There is no doubt that fast food is very calorically dense, but you also have to look at the nutritional breakdown.

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Here are some of the foods on their new healthy menu—and if they’re actually healthy.

Breakfast Choices

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal

This is probably the best choice for breakfast. It contains 290 calories, 58 grams (g) of carbohydrates, five grams of protein and four grams of fat. It is available with or without brown sugar.

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Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait

This item I would also recommend, as it is only 150 calories, 30 g of carbohydrates, four grams of protein, and two grams of fat. However, the problem is that McDonald’s doesn’t indicate the types of carbohydrates in their food, which is vital to know if you are avoiding simple sugars.

My advice is to avoid everything else on the breakfast menu, regardless of the fact that these items are under 400 calories. The McMuffins and burrito are both quite high in fat, and there is also no specific breakdown regarding the types of fat contained within each item. This is obviously a glaring problem.

Lunch Choices

Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken

This item has 190 calories, 27 g of protein, 10 g of carbohydrates, and five grams of fat. This is a very good lunch choice.

Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken

This salad item has 230 calories, 30 g of protein, 10 g of carbohydrates, and nine grams of fat. This one is also a healthy food you should eat, but avoid the high-fat salad dressing.

Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken

This lunch item has 290 calories, 27 g of protein, 29 g of carbohydrates, and eight grams of fat. This item is also a good lunch choice from McDonald’s healthy menu.

Grilled Chicken Ranch Snack Wrap

This wrap has 270 calories, 16 g of protein, 25 g of carbohydrates, and 12 g of fat. Although this is also a decent choice, beware of the small serving size.

Dinner Choices

Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich

This sandwich has 350 calories, 42 g of carbohydrates, 28 g of protein, and nine grams of fat. In my opinion, this is McDonald’s best sandwich, as it’s a healthy food.

Hamburger

This sandwich contains 250 calories, nine grams of fat, 12 g of protein, and 31 g of carbohydrates. It’s also high in sodium (480 mg). However, these items are usually not ordered on their own and the serving sizes are small. The majority of people order French fries with their hamburgers, but even the medium fries contain 20 grams of fat.

I would not recommend any drinks or snacks from the 400-calorie menu, as they are very high in carbohydrates relative to the caloric serving size, which indicates that they contain a great deal of sugar.

McDonald’s is trying to advertise itself as a fast food chain with healthy menu options, but that’s often not the case. Make sure you read the nutritional information carefully.

Sources:
“Fast food fluff: Why the McDonalds 400 calorie menu is a joke,” Natural News web site; http://www.naturalnews.com/040867_McDonalds_caloric_intake_fast_food.html, last accessed June 25, 2013.
“Favorites under 400,” McDonald’s web site; http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/meal_bundles/favoritesunder400.html, last accessed June 25, 2013.