Did you know that 66% of Americans are obese? *Yikes* Despite the fact that we’re one of the most educated and technologically advanced nations we are also the most overweight. The thing is, fatty foods and carbs were around 20 years ago – so that hasn’t changed. It seems we’re just making poorer choices as a country. Obesity has become such a widespread phenomenon that First Lady Michelle Obama even introduced her “Let’s Move” campaign, prompting folks young and old to become active and work toward decreasing this culture of obesity.
Yesterday afternoon I joined a group of NYC influencers to learn about the healthy menu options available at McDonald’s that many people don’t know about. New York Times best-selling author and TV personality Tanya Zuckerbrot took us through McDonald’s wholesome menu options, giving us tips on making nutrition-minded choices, and telling us about McDonald’s brand-new Nutrition Network. It was so eye-opening and what I took away from the experience, more than anything, is that McDonald’s is really working toward becoming part of the solution. The reality is that I do eat at McDonald’s, and I do take my kids there too – it’s convenient, it’s quick, and sometimes we need just that as working moms-on-the-go. What many people don’t realize is that there are numerous nutrient-dense options on the menu for both adults and kids. At the information session I was pleasantly surprised to learn that:
- Happy Meals can come with 100% apple juice, low-fat milk (which is the only milk I give to my boys) or fat free chocolate milk (which contains less sugar than a can of soda, and the same 300 mg of calcium found in white milk)
- 1/4 cup of fresh apple slices now come standard in the Happy Meal
- portion size of the fries is now smaller in Happy Meals (the size went from 2.2 oz to 1.1 oz)
In addition to these healthier options for kids, we had a chance to sample breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. My favorite snack by far was the Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait (160 cals)! Not only was it delicious, creamy, and sweet, it also contains 50 mg of calcium, which is 130% of the recommended daily calcium allowance (and that’s important to me as a 30-something woman). I also loved the Wild Berry Smoothie! Yum! I usually treat myself to one of those once per week anyway, so it was nice to learn that the smoothie contains 70% of Vitamin C (which is 120% of the recommended daily Vitamin C allowance).
The Nutrition Network is aimed at helping local community organizations in the tri-state region start grassroots nutrition programs. Through the program, New York Tri-State McDonald’s restaurant owners are offering seed money to help local organizations bring nutrition information and guidance to the communities they serve. This initiative is an extension of McDonald’s national commitment to offer improved nutrition choices. In addition to providing seed funding to community organizations, McDonald’s will also host a series of offline MeetUps throughout the Tri-State area where registered dietitians can engage directly with families and individuals seeking nutrition information. Visit www.mcdonaldsnymetro.com or follow them on Twitter @McDNYTriState for information about other McDonald’s area programs.
Disclosure: Event attendees were given menu samples for purposes of review and compensation for this campaign was provided by The Motherhood.