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Saturday, July 5, 2014 Leave a Comment

Recently, I visited one of the brand, spankin' new McDonald's(R) locations in Denver, along with a bunch of

other food bloggers. We were there to learn more about the popular fast-food restaurant chain's efforts to provide healthy food to all of us, but specifically, to our kids.

I was impressed, not only with the operation that puts a lot of emphasis on cleanliness and food safety, but also with some of the efforts the company is making to have healthy options and to buy local. The McDonald's system purchased a total of more than $116 million worth of food from Colorado suppliers, sourcing locally whenever possible. I was pleasantly surprised by that.

Someone said to me recently, "if I ate the healthy stuff at McDonald's, it wouldn't feel like I had 'fast food' at all." Well, that's where you have a once-in-a-while splurge. But if you change your association with McDonald's from just a place for junk food, to a place to get something healthy, quickly, you'll enjoy the fruit and nut topped oatmeal and egg-white McMuffin a lot more.

Here are some of the things the company is doing to help:
In the Happy Meal, they automatically include a 1/2 serving of apples with a smaller size of fries (you can also ask for two packets of apples instead of the fries).  They offer fat-free chocolate milk or 1% low fat white milk as a drink. And the sodium in the Happy Meal Chicken McNuggets has been reduced by more than 20%.

McDonald's also offers healthy tips including:

  • Request your burger without the grill seasoning which contains salt
  • Order sandwiches without cheese which saves 200mg sodium per slice!
  • Order grilled chicken with Premium Salads instead of crispy to save 160 calories. 
While the name "McDonald's" will probably always by synonymous with "fast food" and the negative connotations that go along with that, I do believe they are making a real effort to offer decent alternatives and the education behind those better choices. After all, what company wants to be known for contributing to obesity rates? Definitely not McDonald's. Take a look at their website for more information. If we start our kids very young making healthier choices, even when at a fast food restaurant, they still stand a very good chance at growing up learning how to make the right choices for themselves.