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2013-10-03 / Telling It Like It Is

Telling It Like It Is

Putting “McDonald’s” And “Healthy” In The Same Sentence?
By Dara Mormile

You're in a rush to get to your destination. You don't have much time to sit down for a healthy meal - and the idea of a “portable” snack sounds better than anything that requires cutlery. Some of the things you might munch on during your busy commute is a slice of pizza. While not exactly a “neat” food, at least pizza can be folded up and devoured in less than 15 minutes. There aren't too many Chinese delicacies that are “to go” unless you get deep fried wontons or an eggroll. Sandwiches are pretty easy to consume in public – they're compact, for the most part, and some delis wrap them in wax paper so you can easily keep the sandwich contained. In the same department as the sandwich is the hamburger, which I think is a pretty decent portable food unless it's dripping with some type of sauce. French fries are my favorite portable food - they're small and bite-sized, salty and satisfying – for the time, at least.

If you look at what people on the bus and trains are eating – most of them aren't having veggie wraps or stalks of celery. What fun is that? McDonald's seems to think they can liven up their patrons with a healthier addition to their menu - allowing customers to choose between fries, a salad or fruit as part of their value meal.

Sorry, but I don't have that much faith in anyone going to McDonald's to begin with. You wait in line to get those greasy, salty fries because – let's face it – they're naughty and delicious! As unhealthy as they are - no matter which way you slice them, because it's all carbs - they're most likely going to be chosen over a salad. A salad...a dry, green, cold, flavorless side dish. Unless you douse it with fattening dressing, you're not going to make it part of your value meal.

I can't picture someone on the bus or train easily munching on that hamburger, sipping a soda and then reaching their fingers into a greasy paper bag and pulling out a leaf of lettuce.

McDonald's already serves salads that are not only expensive, but do little in terms of promoting a healthy lifestyle. By the time you get through the dressing, cheese and croutons – the most tasty part of a salad - the 'healthy' aspect of the meal is long gone.

It's a great idea to try to influence people's diet by giving them the options to eat healthier. But, unless you're on a diet and you've committed yourself to vegetables on a regular basis, are you really going to order a salad with your Big Mac?

First of all, a salad is NOT portable and it's NOT a quick snack, which is what most people want when they're in a rush. Let's get real – if you're ordering a Big Mac or a chicken sandwich, there's already lettuce and tomato on the bun! So you decide to get one of those chicken McNugget meals. Great! You're on the go and poppin' those nuggets into your mouth but you've also decided to balance the meal out with a salad. Unless the salad will include cherry tomatoes and those bite-sized carrots, which are probably more costly to McDonald’s than French fries, how will you enjoy your side dish?

Another discouraging factor, I'm sad to say, is that you're not going to get kids to eat salad more often just because Mickey Dees is serving it up. In a world that's plagued with obesity, it's not up to a corporation to try to make its customers healthier. It's up to the consumer to decide to eat healthier! Give your kid a salad and see how long it holds them off – or if they’ll be content with getting their fingers on tiny shreds of carrots. I don’t think it sounds like a fun idea or a fun addition to a fast food meal.

The idea, as a whole, is great. Then again, what kind of salad will be served on the side? If they’re using Iceberg lettuce, you might as well eat air! If the fruit they serve on the side, such as apple slices, comes in one of those plastic bags, it was probably preserved via some unhealthy process. McDonald’s isn’t going to serve fruits and veggies fresh from the farm. The new ‘sides’ will have probably been to hell and back before it makes it to your value meal. Do you really want to eat a salad or fruit that’s been processed days or weeks before consumption? Whatever it’s endured, I’m sure it’s lost its nutritional value before it gets to any McDonald’s!

Nice try fast food giant, but it will take a lot more than earthy treats to satisfy our on-the-go needs!

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