From Supersizing to Salad Bars, can you really ‘eat clean’ at McDonalds?

Google Maps. The Electric Drill. Ultrasound Scanners. McCafe. Electronic Pacemakers.

What do all of these individual gifts to humankind have in common?

No, it’s not the letter ‘E’ – although I see you out there, Scrabble-bosses.

It turns out each of these inventions is in fact a brain-child of True Blue Aussie ingenuity.

Australian Made

Yep, from land-mapping to lattes, Australians are modestly making things that change the world – whether that be the world of medicine, cartography or culinary innovation.

We may be an island nation, but we’re damn good at tapping the World’s cultural pulse – particularly in all things culinary.

For example, when coffee-connoisseuring  Melbournians complained about the dank drip-water being served at McDonalds counters, McCafe was born. Soon God’s gift to ragged road-trippers began appearing across Australia – and eventually across the globe.

 

Likewise, in 2004, when the shock revelations of dietary documentary ‘Supersize Me’ hit our shores, McDonalds were quick to minimise damage, releasing a new ‘Healthy Choices Menu’ and this statement on their website:

“You are what you eat, and you have a right to know what’s in your food.”
– McDonalds Australia

The statement was supported by an unprecedented transparency – with all nutritional info being displayed on both the website and the wrappers of their products, allowing consumers to decide what met their dietary requirements.

And the choices didn’t stop there. In 2015 McDonalds launched a Nation-Wide ‘Create Your Taste’ campaign, allowing consumers to customise their McDonalds experience down to the last slice of beetroot (another Aussie innovation).

healthy choices

It seems that Maccas has come a long way from Big Macs and Large Fries. Less Supersize and more Salad (no sides), our interest was piqued.

So we popped down the road to our local Maccas to see just how healthy a lunch we could create.

Here are our findings:

healthy choices mcdonalds

  • Lettuce Rejoice
    An instant happy surprise? There’s something other than iceberg. With a choice between a diced cos-iceberg mix or a ‘Deluxe’ mixed leaves blend, we’re feeling optimistic.

grilled chicken salad

  • Thrills ‘n’ Grills
    Another shocker? Fried/battered chicken is off the menu. The options are grilled chicken or… Grilled chicken. But at least there’s no ‘nuggets’ option.

create your taste

  • ‘Top Ten’
    With their ‘top-up’ ingredients including a spectrum from staples, like grated carrot, through to a pre-mixed (yet surprisingly sugar- and oil-free) guacamole, there are a range of flavour options available. Well… there are ten options, to be precise. Slightly less than we’re used to, but surprisingly fresh for Maccas.
  • ‘Dress it Up’
    Or, in our case, dress it down. A quick trip to the website reveals that their dressings pack between 80 – 200 calories per 40g serve. With this packing the biggest caloric punch of all the ingredients, we opt for some balsamic on the side

 

  • mcdonalds salad

VERDICT:

Contrary to its name, McDonalds ‘Create Your Taste’ range doesn’t provide customers with much room to – well – customise.

But maybe that’s a good thing. With the range of salad ingredients being both basic and in their natural state (eg. raw veggies), there’s little margin for nutritional error.

That said, when it came to dressings, we did err on the side of caution. With even the lightest option adding 80 calories – and a sugar hit – to our otherwise well-balanced, crisp and flavoursome meal.

More than anything, we’re excited by what this shift in McDonald’s dining experience means for the fast food landscape. With more people wanting to know what goes into their bodies, the fast food chains are giving them the freedom of choice to decide.

And no, we don’t want fries with that.

mcdonalds fries