Let's face it. Mc.Donald's is a super-power and it's powered by our money and a truck-load of processed crap. There really are very few options at the golden arches that aren't crazy high in fat and calories...not to mention laden with preservatives and who knows what else. You are better off shoving a bunch of dirt in your mouth than eating there. But...there is always that...
*night when you are completely exhausted and don't feel like cooking
*3rd night in a row that you are rushing straight from work to take your kids to ___ practice and don't have TIME to cook
*time of insanity where it sounds SO good (I know because I still get the urge from time to time - ew)
*we all eat out
So what do you do? For starters...try to do your research. Just knowing how high the stats are on some of your fav foods is enough to make you seek out other options. Or...be smart. Try something new - less horrific. My kids used to eat the occasional chicken nuggets or what-not, but I could really tell a difference in their behavior (and, um, well, bathroom habits - is that a nice way to put it?) after they would eat them - really. So...I swore off Mc.D's forever...and forever turned into a few weeks. But we did change what they ate there. First of all...I wanted something that still sounded "fun." Happy Meals and Chicken Mc. Nuggets sound kid-friendly and fun. Why? So that kids beg incessantly for them on a regular basis!
The word "wrap" also sounds pretty fun...and so does the word "ranch." I could probably slather ranch dressing on a shoe and they'd eat it! ;) Is it a great thing? Not really, but I feel like a small amount every once in a while is OK...and I am working on a replacement to their favorite 64 oz jug o' Hidden Valley as we speak. (Sunspot makes a MEAN organic semi-good-for-you option.) Anyway, the new Mc.D's meal for the kids? Grilled Chicken Snackwraps and Strawberry-Banana smoothies. Still not better than a home-cooked meal loaded with veggies, but with a side of carrots and bell pepper sticks and fruit...
The Ranch Snackwrap (Grilled) weighs in at 270 calories and 10 grams of fat. Not too shabby for take-out. It is more than enough to fill them up with some added veggies and their smoothie. I think it is a far better choice than a cheeseburger or fried nuggets - even though the nuggets are less calories (for a 4-piece: 190) they have more fat (12 grams) and are much more processed (do we REALLY know what a Mc. Nugget is?). The smoothies are really pretty tasty. The website states that they are just strawberries (frozen I'm sure - which is OK with me), banana, ice, and low-fat yogurt. Yogurt doesn't seem to bother my son's stomach like milk which is good. A small Strawberry-Banana Smoothie is 210 calories and .5 grams of fat. We buy two smalls and give each kiddo half (and then someone sneaks the rest).
But let's get serious...do they have anything I can eat? Yes. An unsweetened tea! Seriously, though, I always seem to feel a little left out when we go there. The smell of grease is in a way intoxicating...right? Yes...they have salads, but why should I pay $4-$5 for a salad I could make at home? I have to bring my own dressing anyway! After viewing commercials about the Mac Snackwrap I decided last night that I was going to make a healthy alternative...and feel like part of the crowd again.
Mc. Fatty Mac Snackwrap Swap
1 Trader Joe's Whole Grain w/ flax tortilla (or any other whole grain tortilla)
1 Amy's Texas Veggie Burger (cook on 425 for 4-5 min per side)
1 slice Veggie Slices American flavor
a little bit of mustard
1 T ketchup
1 T Vegenaise
1/2 T sweet pickle relish
Start by cooking your veggie burger. (I really love Amy's. They are my favorite. They are soy-free and have all kinds of good-for-you grains and goodness in them. The Texas version has a little bit of a barbecue flavor in it.) Add the cheese slice and then place back into the oven with your tortilla just until warm. Cut the burger in half. Place the halves on the tortilla. Add lots of lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and a small amount of mustard. Mix together the ketchup, Vegenaise, and relish. Top with "special sauce." :) Enjoy!
This was really surprisingly good and I felt like I was eating something so bad for me even though it wasn't. It was very reminiscent of the Big Mac. The stats? The wrap-swap was 8 points total. That figures out to be about 350-400 calories. The Mc. D's version is 330 calories. Hmmm...a lil high you might say? Well, yes and no. Mc. D's Mac snackwrap is about half the size, contains no whole grains, and only has iceberg lettuce, cheese, and special sauce. Also...the Mc. D's Mac has 19 grams of fat. Mine? 16 - the majority is in the Vegenaise (which is a mayo-like product). You decide if it's worth it. I think it is. Why? Two less dollars in their pockets. I'm lovin' it!