I’m not going to lie – when I was in college, I LOVED eating Big Macs. I’m thankful I didn’t actually keep count of the number of burgers I consumed over my college career. These days, McDonald’s has progressed with the times, but the core menu is generally as unhealthy as ever.
Let’s break it down.
Some folks will tell you the simple hamburger is a great option – but as Fast Food Nation told us, you shouldn’t eat McDonald’s beef because there’s “sh*t in the food”. Nah, if I’m going to eat beef, I’m going to know where it came from and avoid the ground stuff if possible (or at least cook it to 160 degrees to kill any bacteria). The buns are also full of gluten (obviously), but also have preservatives and dough conditioner (mmmm…just like Grandma used to make). They have made progress – they cut unnecessary sugar and high fructose corn syrup – still, you shouldn’t eat it.
Other folks will say “go for the fruit and raisin oatmeal! It’s wholegrain, it’s fruit, it’s OATMEAL! How could it be bad?” Let’s take a closer look:
- 33 grams of sugar (ok, that’s actually terrible)
- 5g of fiber (that’s pretty great)
- It’s made with “Cream”, although it’s not really just cream, it’s “Milk, Cream, Sodium Phosphate, DATEM, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Citrate, Carrageenan”. YUM!
So it won’t immediately cause you to go into shock, but you probably shouldn’t eat it for the sugar content alone (remember – this is your entire added sugar budget for the day in BREAKFAST).
No, if I have to head to McDonalds (and it happens once in a while), there is really only ONE thing on the menu I would eat:
The Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad – minus the cheese and tortilla strips, sub the cilantro-lime dressing with Newman’s Own® Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette and you’re in business.
Don’t cry for me, internet – it’s actually pretty good. How good?
- 330 calories, good protein (>25g), 6g of fiber and good Vitamin A and C
- The chicken breast is free from anything artificial
- A ton of dark, leafy greens
- Some fresh-ish veggies
- Only 9 g of sugar – likely less if you skip the cilantro lime dressing and stick with the Low-Fat Balsamic
And that, my friends, is really all I will eat at McDonalds these days. Are there days I long for the sweet embrace of the Big Mac? Sure. Or a collection of greasy fries, held delicately in the white paper bag that brings me back to my Happy Meals days? Yes (although c’mon guys – you can’t just use potatoes!). But alas – the single, solitary salad is all that makes the Stefan cut.