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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

McDonald's family-time happy-time trip: musings, pictures, and giveaway

This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and McDonald's.

Is it ironic that I'm writing this McDonald's Family-Time Happy-Time trip review in a McDonald's restaurant? Heh. Seems a tad ironic to me. It's just that our family has been traveling the entire summer, and this week is no exception. We're up in Tahoe (again) and there is no internet access to be found in these mountains except at the local McD's. Funny. Anyhow…

A few weeks ago, McDonald's invited 10 blogging mamas and their families to corporate headquarters in Chicago and told us to bring every question we had because we would have access to everyone and everything. And boy did we! We got to meet with Jan Fields (President of McDonald’s USA), as well as the heads of Strategy, Menu, Human Resources, Marketing, Nutrition, and employees at every level from every group, it was a fantastic opportunity! You should have seen the mamas and their questions. I loved the fact that we met with Jan in a McDonald's restaurant instead of a fancy boardroom, by the way. I don't know, something about that just tickled me.D3X_9778_(1) IMG_1545LRa

One of the most popular presentations was with "The Chicken Doctor," whose real title was VP of Live Operations and Processing of Keystone Foods. There were SO many excellent questions for him, and I have to say that he faced the room full of mama bears with great humor and answered all of the questions very well. I'll let the other bloggers address these questions, since mine were mostly around menu options (below).

The questions I kept asking:

My wishlist was all about healthy options for kids. The Chicken McNuggets/Apple Dippers/Milk Jugs are a great start for Happy Meals  (they said one-third of the Happy Meals sold are this configuration – and that’s the only way the meals are advertised, which I appreciate), but wouldn't it just be awesome if McDonald's offered a wider variety of healthy options? Specifically, more fruit, vegetables, and non-fried items. I'd love to be able to order any of these for the twinados: applesauce cups, tiny bags of baby carrots or grapes, mandarin orange cups, mac and cheese, mini bags of snap peas and ranch dip, toasted cheese sandwiches, corn niblets, cups of rice, etc. I know that comes as no surprise to anyone since these are featured in so many bento meals that I pack for the kids. The McDonald's execs said they had actually test marketed almost all of those choices and ran into two problems: 1) there are strict choking hazard laws in the US and 2) even though people say they want healthy options, they don't buy them, and if a product doesn't sell, it is dropped from the menu. I can totally understand the choking hazard problem, but doesn't that just mean that some products need to be sliced or cut before packaging? A cut grape must be similar to a sliced apple, right? And we know the sliced apples are currently offered. In addition, and this is one I believe passionately in: there must be a huge monetary worth that would be attached to even the perception that McDonald's offers the widest variety of healthy options of any fast-food chain. Say if they offered five healthy alternatives in the Happy Meal menu -- no one could touch that, right? Some percentage of mamas (like me!) would be ecstatic and would snap these options up. For the rest, just call it an advertising fee, something like the "Get Healthy Eat Healthy Campaign."

Here's what I like:

1. McDonald's restaurants, anywhere that we travel, and we travel a lot (so far this summer we've been to Hawaii, Tahoe, Chicago, Utah, and back to Tahoe twice), are 100% consistent. We know what we're getting, we know what the kids can and will eat, and TubaDad and I know exactly what we can eat there that's on our diets (grilled chicken, salads, fruit and yogurt, eggs, etc.). It's iffy if we go somewhere else, especially in airports or on the road. We're not eating McDonald's every day (is anyone?), but I'd guess that we take the kids there two times a month and easily make healthy choices while we're there.

2. I also reallyreallyreally enjoyed visiting one of the Ronald McDonald Houses during this getaway weekend and seeing the daily operations. Wonderful place, wonderful concept, and it is helping so many families with sick kids. McDonald's pays for all of the administrative costs of RMHC, in case you're curious about the connection, like me. Here’s a video of our group in one of the houses: you can see that Ro and Ree fell asleep on the comfy bus and we carried them in:

IMG_1625LRa3. Pssst: I was grinning big during the sneak preview we all got of the new Fruit & Maple Oatmeal that's being test marketed right now. Yum, that stuff was awesome (which is saying a lot coming from someone who eats oatmeal for breakfast almost every day -- you'd be hard pressed to find a pickier oatmeal consumer) and I cannot wait until it’s available near us.

Here's what the girls like:

1. Chicken McNuggets (about the only fast food they'll eat, before this trip or after – no exaggeration).

2. All of the fun family-time events that McDonald’s packed into this trip. They loved the family bbq, scavenger hunt, paddleboat rental, sensory taste testing, and especially the chance to cook with Chef Dan in a McDonald’s kitchen. Here’s a short video McDonald's made where you can see Ro and Ree and all the kids making fruit kabobs and smoothies (that's me talking in the beginning of the video):

2. "That silly guy" (AKA: Ronald McDonald). Heh. They were so happy to hang out with TubaDad and I (and the other kids and the super-fun McDonald’s kid staffers) all weekend and get to meet the silly dude at each event. Yeah, they're pretty easy to please.IMG_1665LRa

The bottom line:

We're pretty healthy eaters in our family. No surprise there – you can see the kinds of meals I serve my kiddos on my blog. And we take our kids to McDonald's and choose healthy options for them and ourselves every time. I'm guessing you can make healthy or unhealthy choices anywhere that you go, from a fast-food chain to a five-star restaurant. I give McDonald's huge props for hosting a big bunch of mamas and giving us total access to their execs, test kitchens, and restaurants. I learned a lot, they did a great job of listening to our concerns and answering our questions, and now I'm going to click "send" on this review and go order a diet coke and a grilled chicken snack wrap. Heh.

The giveaway:

mcdonaldsprizes copyOne winner will be chosen to win a McDonald’s Family Fun Prize Pack, which includes a McDonald’s smile tote bag, $25 AMC gift card, $20 McDonald’s Arch card (can be used for any purchase at a McD’s), fleece blanket, frisbee, french-fry playing cards, Monopoly Junior Board Game, Organic Lip Balm, McDonald’s Vintage Character T-Shirt, a McDonald’s Stainless Tumbler, and a surprise set of Happy Meal toys.

To enter the giveaway, please help TubaDad and I in our travels and leave a comment letting me know about any healthy options you've found in any fast-food restaurant.

  1. Giveaway opens at 9am (PST) July 27 2010 and ends 5pm (PST) August 10, 2010.
  2. To get one extra entry, either blog or tweet about this promotion and leave an additional comment with the url of your tweet or blog post (two entries allowed per person).
  3. You can visit the other bloggers for 9 more chances to win or to read their awesome reviews. I just loved meeting all these folks.
  4. Check out the full text of the official rules.
  5. Entries/comments must be on topic and not offensive or derogatory.

Good luck everyone! Feel free to leave any questions you might have about the trip or McDonald’s here as well and I’ll try to get the answers.  Thanks!!

140 comments:

Mami2jcn said...

I like the fact that you can substitute french fries with apple slices, or soda with juice/milk at McDonalds. I believe Wendy's has orange slices as an option.

As for sit-down restaurants, Chilis offers kids meals with optional sides of broccoli, corn niblets, and corn on the cob.

mami2jcn at gmail dot com

Janine said...

I like to order mini meals or even kids meals in place of the super-sized or even the regular-sized combos. We also like to stop at fast food places that offer substitutions for french fries, like salad, baked potatoes, fruit, etc.

ja9elizabeth at yahoo dot com

Syl said...

I love the salads at McDonald's, especially the southwestern chicken. It's healthy and tasty.

NikiTheo said...

Wendy's offered baked potatoes or mandrin oranges instead of fries. Subway also offers yogurt or apple slices w/ their sandwichs instead of chips or cookies.
My idea of fast food however ir Corner Bakery or Panera. Corner Bakery offers carrots instead of chips and Panera offers an apple instead of chips or a roll. And Panera's Mango smoothie is soooooo good!

theon115 @ gmail . com

TheAngelForever said...

We often make sure that sauces with mayonaise are left off, along with cheese. No need for the extra fat and calories. We also ask for a side salad instead of fries if it is allowed.

the_angel_forever at yahoo dot com

momof2girls said...

I love the fact that they have healthy substitues now for kids & adults and most places like fruit, yogurt, baked chips, etc.

Salsa friend said...

we always get the apple dippers - and not just with the happy meal. You can substitute the apple dippers for the breakfast combo's in place of hash brown and lunch/dinner meal combo's instead of fries! Love that my daughter gets to see all of us eating apples instead of fries!
Thank you!
Kim T (jstkat0711 at aol dot com)

Carol said...

Chick-fil-a offers fresh fruit and milk as side options to fries and sodas.

Charity(ccboobooy) said...

I love the chicken salads @ Subway. I do skip all the extras, and use a light dressing.


charisscharity at yahoo dot com

Charity(ccboobooy) said...

tweet

http://twitter.com/ccboobooy/status/19765620885


charisscharity at yahoo dot com

Angel Jacklyn said...

I'VE FOUND THAT FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS SUCH AS MCDONALDS AND BURGER KING NOW OFFER $1 SIDE SALADS WHICH ARE A GREAT HEALTHY FOOD ALTERNATIVE (IF IT WASN'T FOR THE DRESSING LOL) kytah00@yahoo.com

Angel Jacklyn said...

I ALSO TWEETED FOR YOU !!!!!!!!! http://twitter.com/kytah00/status/19771272748

kytah00@yahoo.com

Becca said...

We do like the same (chicken/apples/juice) choice for our kids at McDonald's. Like you mentioned, especially while traveling it's great that they are EVERYWHERE & reliable :)

For 'sit down' type restaurants, we love Mimi's Cafe; tons of healthy options, fruit, soup, salad, etc.

Jenn said...

We love to eat at chick-fil-a. They use peanut oil to cook their chicken in (which is much healthier than other oils) and my son chooses the fruit option, rather than the waffle fries. They also make a wonderful grilled chicken wrap that is divine. We also always get their fresh squeezed lemonade, to drink. :) bensmama06 at yahoo.com

Merynne said...

We rarely eat fast food. But when we do, I always give McDonald's as one of the options. They have plenty of healthy options for kids and adults that we all like. Often when my kids want ice cream, we opt for a fruit parfait instead. The kids are pleased as punch and I feel good about how healthy the treat is and it's price!

Sounds like a really fun trip! You get to do some pretty awesome things with that family of yours! -There's only the slightest bit of jealousy over here. ;)

Darcy said...

The Chick-fil-A Chargrilled and Fruit Salad is quite yummy if I do say so myself. Fruit cup instead of fries for the kiddos and milk...

Catherine said...

I'm a fan of the apple sauce option offered at Denny's and other places. At first it was a great option for Hannah when she was eating her first foods and now it's just a healthy option that I'd prefer her to have over french fries.

A McDonald's option that they have here in Canada that is wonderful is a grilled cheese sandwhich which is made even healthier than normal in that it's toasted without any butter on the bun. A fave of Hannah (and Mommy) for sure!

In the Philippines I remember having McRice and McSpaghetti back in the late 80's. Not sure if they still offer them but I remember them being popular with the locals back then.

Another vote for a fresh fruit option, especially something toddler friendly. Watermelon, cut grapes, etc. Offering a baked potato is also favoured over french fries.

Heh, never thought I'd be choosing anything over the amazing McDonald's french fries but having a baby to feed has had a big impact on mommy's eating habits too.

Maryellen Briscoe said...

My friend is so good at traveling with her kiddos (3). I've done this twice with her . . . roll kids out our bed around 5:30am, quick potty stop, pour into minivan in pj's. Drive 2-3 hours or until someone just HAS to go. (SF towards tahoe) Stop at Denny's. Solid kids breakfast menu - some good choices, right size portions. (I don't know where they get their grapes, but they're always delicious!) Order, eat, change clothes and brush teeth. 1-2 hours = Tahoe by 10am!

Looks like you might have done something similar this summer! We need a hit.

PS - in airports our latest "fast food" craze is smoothies. Easy to eat with snacks I've brought with me.

Basket full o' Plums said...

I like quizno's bullets sandwiches. They're just the right size for the kids, I can decide what goes inside and I can get 2 for 5 dollars right now.

BevS97 said...

I like in the UK, and we can get carrot sticks and fruit bags (apples and grapes) with Happy Meals.

Sarah said...

I like that at Subway you can get them meals that aren't fried.

I do love the healthier options they are having at McDonalds too.

arewethereyetla5[at]verizon[dot]net

Amber said...

I like McDonald's options too...my son always asks for the apples and chocolate milk with his kids meal! Not sure if you guys have chick-fil-a, but they have healthier options too. They offer fruit cups as a side option, among other things. They also have a a variety of salads, wraps and grilled chicken sandwiches.

Julie P said...

We like Panera a lot, I so wish it had a drive thru. But on long car trips stopping to eat lunch there is a welcome break. The ones here in Boston list the calorie count right on the menu - which helps a lot with making healthy choices. I also have to say Chick-Fil-a's fruit cup is a huge hit with us.

Naenay1012 said...

I like the options McDs gives you. Wendy's and Burger King also have some fruit choices for kids. Sonic does too.

Beachgal said...

I don't eat a lot of fast food, but as far as healthy options, I try to get the smallest size of something. Or stick with something grilled. And I always get things plain because I hate mayo.

Nicole said...

I love subway. My kids can have apples or yogurt. They offer juice and the sandwich is fun because they get to pick out what is on it.

ameliaandpearson at gmail dot com

wendy said...

i have found that pizzeria uno has a ton of healthy choices on their adult menu as well as the kids menu. whole wheat pasta, whole wheat crust on the pizza, we love going there for all their healthy choices, if you have one where you are, i would highly suggest trying it out!!!

Gail said...

Wow, great give away !! We substitute apples dippers for hash browns at breakfast. My gdaughter won't even eat the french fries.

Gail

Allison said...

My daughter likes the mandarin oranges she can get at Wendy's instead of fries and she often chooses fruit over fries at Chick fil a as well.
Bob Evans has an awesome kid's menu with a ton of choices. Not really fast food, but sort of.

hearts2home said...

We absolutely love, love, love the new Smoothies at McDonald's. The Strawberry Banana is our favorite. We like to get one of those and a grilled chicken snack wrap. Yum!

Chili's restaurant now has incredible fresh pineapple on its kid's menu. Applebee's offers cut up Granny Smith apples! We love the array of healthy choices at Subway. We always utilize the fruit options wherever we eat. :)

smklein at new dot rr dot com

Angie H. said...

I would love to win this...
So much stuff.
It is hard to find good food options for kids even when my twins are 14. McDonalds has gotten better with the choices and seem to continue to work on pleasing the public.

Jacquie said...

When I need to go the fast food route, my first go-to healthy choice is always Subway. So many healthy choices in their sandwiches and their kid meals can come with apple slices, yogurt, or milk.

Jenny said...

We love MCD apple dippers, 2% milk, and side salads!

Would love it if they offered applesauce, or carrots!

Shannon said...

Chick fil a also has healthy options. You can get a great fruit cup instead of fries, and I have also gotten a yogurt parfait there that was delish. And being a chicken place, of course you can get grilled chicken anytime you want. The wraps are the best!

Family of 4.... said...

I like Panera because they do offer an apple, and have yogurt.

Wendys has baked potatoes and salads and the mandarin oranges. My kids love the oranges there. Also I like to support them since they have the Dave Thomas Foundation (adoption related).

We have been to Chick-Fil-A when we had a play date and I liked that they offered fruit, too.

The girls like McD's and now I am glad to see we can substitute the apple dippers in the breakfast option instead of hash browns. Often times the girls do not want the hash browns and I never thought to ask to substitute them. Nuggets and milk with apple dippers are the choice here too.

Molly

Teresa said...

Definitely Happy Meals with apples.

One of the reasons I go to McD's is because of the way the RMHC treated my college vocal ensemble leader when his son was dying of cancer. Even though his son was in college and not a "child" anymore, they still allowed the family to stay in one of their houses while their son received experimental chemo in Chicago.

I also support Wendy's because of their committment to foster care/adoption.

Amy said...

We also like Subway for a quick and fast meal on the road. Getting my son a turkey sandwich with some yummy veggies of his choice on there with the amount of mayo or other dressing that I specify is great. Plus, they too offer apple slices instead of chips, milk instead of juice or soda, and oatmeal cookies.

Brandi said...

Wendy's has some new, absolutely DELICIOUS, salads out right now. Very healthy & very good!

Groovymarlin said...

I have to disagree with the person who said the new salads at Wendy's are "very healthy." Three out of four of them come with fried chicken, not grilled. Also, if you use the suggested dressings, you'll be downing a whole lot of unnecessary fat. I used to love Wendy's old salads, because you could get either grilled OR fried chicken on any of them.

That being said, if you order the apple pecan salad at Wendy's it's not too bad (just use your own dressing, I like the kind you can spray on). Or request grilled chicken on one of their other salads (not sure if they'll do it though).

I like most of the salads at McDonald's, and Burger King's salad is actually great because they package everything separately and you can put it together yourself, just the way you like it! ("Have it your way" as their old slogan goes.)

Of course, little kids aren't (usually) going to eat salad. I appreciate that most of the fast food places now offer healthier side items than fries - apple slices, apple "fries," mandarin oranges, etc. Watch out for the mac and cheese though - not terribly healthy, really.

I'm sure a pro like you realizes that the best way to feed kids on the road and keep it healthy is to bring a cooler of your own food! :)

Amanda said...

McDonald's as one of the options. They have good healthy options for kids.Sunbay also have good choices.
Amanda

Diana said...

I love Wendys Chili and McDonalds fruit and yogurt parfaits:)
Check Dotties Weight Lose Zone (DWLZ.com) for calories adn WW points so you have a idea before you get there:)

My question would have been WHY does it cost so much more to eat healthy. Not a lot of Low Cal/Fat options on the $1 menus at places. I love McDs salads but I think they are expensive for what you get:(

Sharon said...

My vote has to go to Subway as well, for healthy eating choices! I love that my 6 1/2 year old loves going there even without the fun toys and marketing tie-ins with their kids meals, and I know she's getting a healthy option and I have a wide variety of healthy choices as well, with the oven roasted chicken sandwich and other options, with tons of veggies on top!

Love your blog!
sharonj1017 at hotmail dot com

Salsa friend said...

i like the smoothies that are now at McDonalds. so do my kids.

lkotter at juno.com

grumpy chicken's mommy said...

I like that McD's does not charge extra for the healthy choice of apple slices - other places charge more for that meal option. Also, the yogurt parfait is a yummy breakfast option!

Missy said...

My five year-old gal loves Tex-Mex meals. When we eat at Taco Bell, she gets the "chicken & cheese" soft taco's. Haven't checked the actual nutritional info, but I'm sure it's better than the beef. Hard taco shells have a little more value with corn, but M just won't eat 'em. Here in the midwest we sometimes choose Cracker Barrel for a sit-down meal and M loves almost all their veggies.

Sharon said...

I like the grilled chicken at KFC and substitute green beans for the mashed potatoes and gravy.

FunnyGal KAT said...

This isn't specific to one chain, but I love that they all offer salads on their menu. I'm old enough to remember when the options were pretty much a burger, a cheeseburger or chicken nuggets, so it's nice to have the option of eating healthy (the taco salad at Wendy's is a particular favorite).

Pamster said...

Just tried Boston Market's new oriental salad today. It is full of yummy edamame!! and the dressing is delish.

Allison's mom said...

I like to take our daughter to Quiznos. She love the turkey sammie kids meal. Recently, I am able to substitute applesauce for chips or cookie.Quiznos has pretty good salads so it makes for healthy fast food.

marypat31@yahoo.com

Jamie said...

The only fast food we eat is Subway and In N Out. At Subway we can get apples and yogurt with a sandwich. At In N Out we go for it with chocolate shakes, burgers, and fries. But we only go on road trips, otherwise we'd be there every day.

Melissa said...

Arby's has wonderful market salads as a healthy option...

THANKS for the opportunity to win!

Suzy said...

Taco Bell is offering a new menu of healthier things - I think they call it their fresh menu. Also, Subway has a menu full of fresh foods so much so that I hardly think of it as fast food at all.

D said...

chic-fil-a is always a good option for my 4 yr old who will ONLY eat chicken nuggets. (and I do mean only) There is less fried breading on the chicken nuggets.

S said...

Subway! Subway has lots of healthy options!

Salsa friend said...

A healthy choice we like for April is the mandarin oranges at Wendy’s. April also eats tomatoes whenever anyone of us gets a salad. She is addicted to tomatoes!

- Ilene, mommy to April Lauren 4.8 years old.

Salsa friend said...

I've got three kids, so we always do at least one apple dippers (if not 2) and split the fries and apples among the kids. That way, everyone gets some fries... but no one eats an entire serving of fries. We do the same with the fruit cup at Chick-fil-a. Would love to see baby carrots or raw broccoli as an option.

Another thing, my daughter always wants a cup of ice water rather than a soda with her meal. Some fast-food franchises give us guff about this. We don't ask to pay less... we just want water instead of the soda... wish it were easier to request.

AmyinTexas

curryfamily5 at aol dot com

Lora said...

Subway, of course. They can make any of their sandwiches into a salad, and they're SO filling and healthy.

And their kids' meals are pretty healthy too, with apple chips and milk.

Lora at shoegal8.lj@gmail.com

JoeyfromSC said...

I love that more and more restaurants offer healthy options..I love the carrot n raisin salad from Chick-Fil-A and the grilled chicken..I also love the mandarin oranges from Wendy's! LOVE the apple dippers from McDonald's also!

Thanks for the chance to win!

ajoebloe(at)gmail(dot)com

JoeyfromSC said...

tweeted:

http://twitter.com/JoeyfromSC/status/19860666408

ajoebloe(at)gmail(dot)com

Emily said...

Subway for the win. The six inch Veggie sub is on Weight Watchers and isn't a lot of points, especially if you skip the cheese. They also have a lot of healthy options for the kiddos (and adults too!). Whenever I travel, I always try to find a Subway if I need a quick fast-food type of meal.

McD's is good too because of the Happy Meals. I'm an adult, but I always opt for a Happy Meal for myself with apples. That's the amount of food we SHOULD be eating!

Also, I agree with someone else who stated how unhealthy Wendy's salads are. Some of them are upwards of 600-800 calories. Just because it has lettuce, people, does NOT make it healthy!

The key is to always look up the nutrition info online beforehand, or keep it on your phone for quick reference. :)

Ash said...

CFA offers fruit cups instead of their waffle fries.

ryanashnryley@yahoo.com

Neil, Amy and The Girls said...

Our kids love Chic-Fil-A's kids meals. They usually get chicken nuggets, apple juice and a fruit cup. Thanks for the opportunity to win :o)

Your girls are adorable!!!

Stacy said...

We love, love, love Chick Fil A & their fruit cups (Chicken Nuggets are good - and we love the breakfast Chick N Minis). Wendy's also offers mandarin orange cups.

Kiy said...

Not sure if you have Sonic's in CA, but we have a fair amount of them here in SC/GA (we live right RIGHT on the line). For a quick snack on the go, a pack of sliced apples and a jug of white milk is perfect.

I honestly had no idea I could get apples slices at McD's until I read this so already McD's has one new (returning) customer because of your trip to Chicago! I haven't been to a McD's in forever, mainly as I honestly didn't think there were any healthy choices. Thank you for opening my eyes!

Michael, Melissa, Ainsley said...

DD refuses to eat chicken nuggets so normally I order a salad and she get some of my chicken - apple dippers are just for her and then we share a small fry. Not too bad but not something we do more than a handful of times a year.

Salsa friend said...

M3,

Love, love, love your site!

Fast Food thoughts…..

*I would like to see McDonalds remove the hypertoxin MSG from their foods….also hidden sugars and salts. (Check out the sodium in a shake!!)

* Fructose reduction……step backwards into the future. All the fructose needs to be drastically reduced. It isn’t as healthy as a simple sugar.

*I personally would like to see beans and rice, or other vegetarian options.

* As a celiac parent of a celiac child I would love to be able to offer my child something warm, such as soup without fear of ingesting wheat.

These are a few of the thoughts wishing to be heard.

Thank you for sharing so much joy.
Blessings to you indeed,

Jen

Julie said...

My son loves the chicken nuggets, apple slices, milk combo. I love the nuggets and the wraps. I tried a kid's meal at Jack in the Box and was not happy at all.

RainyD's said...

my favorite is the Quizno Bullet sandwiches - who really needs a giant sandwich - they are a better proportion that most others. Turkey with Swiss cheese - all melty with spinich, tomato and a little bit of vinaigrette YUMMY

That plus when I go to fast food restaurants I will order Iced Water with a slice of lemon with my meal instead of a soda or coffee, healthier for me and tastes better too on hot days

Jenna said...

I love McDonalds, I hate that people are so hard on them when out of all the fast food restaurants out there they have the lowest fat/calorie burgers and they offer healthy options.
I live in San Antonio and there are not many fast food restaurants that offer healthy options especially for kids. I do like that Wendy's has mandarin oranges, it would be nice if McD's offered both choices.
Other fast food places here are awful, we have Sonic which does offer bananas, Whataburger - no healthy choices, and Jack in the Box - no healthy choices... even their salads are loaded with fat and calories!
I wish I could see more veggies in fast food restaurants, like broccoli and carrots, my son loves veggies and if it was an option I would order them.

carosgram said...

My grandchildren like the apple dippers and mandarin orange slices. I wish they offered sugar snap peas and green beans as we all eat these veggies raw and they are delicious. Thanks for the report on your trip.

Jodi said...

Love the new salads at Wendy's the Apple Pecan Chicken salad is really good.

Also, I love the snackwraps at McDonalds. In the mood for a Big Mac but don't want all the calories, get the Mac Snack wrap it taste just like the original without all the guilt.

Joanna & Tim said...

I agree that you can choose healthy or unhealthy options at any restaurant. My dughter loves plain cheeseburgers and orange cups at Wendy's. At McDonald's she get the fruit and yougurt parfait and a plain cheesburger. I also carry cups of apple sauce or orange cups in case we go somewhere that does not have healthy choices. That way, we just tell them to skip the fries and give the applesauce or oranges to her instead.

joannadumas@hotmail.com

Elz said...

I know they can sell other fruit because Chik Fil A does. Chik Fil A is the only fast food we eat; they sell fruit cups. The fruit cup has apples, strawberries, grapes, and mandarin oranges. We always get that. If you are in the South, where there are Chik Fil A, I suggest that. Is it ok to write about CFA on a McDonald's post? I hope so.

Just call me b said...

I agree with a previous poster! The smoothies at Mcd's are a GREAT healthy option!!!

Amy said...

We go to McDonald's because you can order healthy there if you choose to. I often get the Southwest Salad (the dressing that goes w/ it is reduced fat I believe) or a grilled chicken snack wrap. I really wish you could get grilled chicken snack wraps with happy meals. I hate that they have to eat the nuggete every time they go, even though they like them.

My kids are not big on apple dippers, but I make them order them. ;) They love fresh apples, but can tell these are from a bag.
I like the way Wendy's has oranges because both kids love those. Chick FilA has decent fruit.

Interesting that they cited choking hazards when you mentioned the other fruits--you can get little bags of grapes or carrots w/ kids meals at Disney World!

You're right--applesauce cups would work. We had those at Imo's Pizza in St Louis w/the kids pizza meals. Even canned fruit cups would be fine. They aren't fresh and they have sugar, but it's got to be better than fries!

I love Subway, but my kid must be forced to eat those bagged apples.

MaLeah said...

We have a 15 month old that has never been given a french fry and we hope to keep it that way!

I agree with you that more healthy options should be included, especially for "side" items.

We like that Chevys Fresh Mex includes fruit with all their kids meals. The fruit option was a slice of cantelope melon and 2 orange wedges. Since he is too young for citrus, I ate those. :) He ate every bite of the cantelope! We didn't even know he liked it, so by them offering that as a choice, we discovered a new food for him!

I can't take credit for this next idea, but I do like it! Always order a side salad or a veggie for your child before their meal comes and call it their "appetizer". Parents usually get salads, but don't think about this for their kids! It is a good way to get them to eat their veggies and since it is before the main meal, they are more likely to be hungry, thus more likely to actually eat the "good stuff".

I love your blog! Thanks for sharing with us all!

MaLeah (Marin's mom)

http://marin.mrorex.com

hi said...

couple of things...

1. If you are on a budget you can get any of the $1 menu items at McD's and add lettuce, tomato, etc...

2. I always take the caramel from my daughter for the apple dippers... i dont even think she knows it comes with it!

3. If you have a sonic close by I love that you can buy a whole banana!

4. If you eat subway get a 6 inch and ask them to cut it in half... Taking the break inbetween pieces will fill you faster.


ON a more unhealthy note..

1. Did you know you can trade your kids meal toy in for an ice cream cone at Chicfila!?

stephanie dot parish at gmail dot com

Salsa friend said...

Hi M3...
I wanted to post a comment on your mcdonald's giveaway....
We love Sonic. We have found that they have several fruit options and their tater tots are to die for (not healthy per-say... but really yummy).
-Erin
ladystargazer at hotmail dot com

ossmcalc said...

I like it that McDonald's, Sonic, Wendy's, and Chick-Fil-A all offer options that allow us to substitute apple slices or a banana instead of french fries and milk instead of soda pop. I also like to sometimes get a baked potato at Wendy's and use salsa for a lower calorie topping.

Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

ossmcalc said...

I tweeted about your giveaway http://twitter.com/ossmcalc/status/19977456511

Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

Jo-el said...

I agree with most that it is nice to substitute milk/juice for soda and apple for fries. I also know that Bob Evans (sit down) offers chicken fingers that are not breaded or fried they are grilled & yummy.

StaceyC4 said...

After joining Weight Watchers (and watching The Biggest Loser), I got hooked on Subway. They don't put a lot of meat on their sandwiches BUT you can load up on the veggies to make a very filling sandwich!

Kim said...

The way we try to eat healthy in restaurants is I usually share something with one of the kids. My nine year old is getting to the age that kids meals are not filling her up, so now we order a regular size meal and we share. This helps me not eat as much as I usually could.

frugalmdmom at comcast dot net

Jules said...

my daughter can't stand the mcnuggets-but love french fries. I wish we could get a meal of apple dippers/french fries/milk-that's her perfect combo.

However-I'm not impressed with the smoothies-they use a "fruit blend"-not fresh fruit. And even the small one has more than 50 grams of sugar. Not exactly healthy.

carrolju at ohsu dot edu

Emily N. said...

Ordering off the kid's menu is usually a good way to keep the calorie count lower than many of the regular menu items. And just get water to drink.

StephanieC said...

I love McDonalds salads! I always get water too. scg00387 at yahoo dot com

StephanieC said...

http://twitter.com/DesMoinesDealin/status/20038399910 scg00387 at yahoo dot com

JC said...

We like to get fruit parfait at McDonald's for kids.

JC said...

http://twitter.com/tcarolinep/status/20048380865

Taking Heart said...

I love the healthier option that has recently been promo'd in my town... FRUIT SMOOTHIES... the kids think they are getting a milk shake... instead fruit and yogurt... YUM.

Analeise said...

I always order the apples at McDonald's for nolan and also the oranges at Wendy's. I like having the options open to order things besides the fries.
i143cheer at aol dot com

sally0630 said...

i tend to get the salad with chicken at mcdonald, i like thier fruit and yogurt parfait also. im glad that they are giving people healthy options but i wish there was morte to pick from and they told you the calories and fat content so you could choose more wisely for your health!!!

Ashley said...

I like that my son can get chocolate milk which he loves instead of juice or soda at McDonald's.

ashleymcdermott at gmail dot com

maryjaco1 said...

Anything place that offers grilled food.

MOMFOREVERANDEVER said...

seriously salads are not as healthy as you thik- but you could run into a store and grab some fresh greens and tomatoes and some turkey from the deli to make a healthy salad- carry silverware and plates with you on your travels- for snacking carry the apples and slice add a dib f pb on them. Subway has great kids healthy options- even mcds you can ask no salt,dressing on the side, etc

wigget said...

mcdonald's offers the apple dippers for kids which are relatively healthy

Becky said...

I love the egg mc muffins and the salads.

One place that always has plenty of healthy options is Boston Market(and I think they're owned by McDonalds too?)...kids meals and a HUGE variety of sides are available there.

Trixie said...

Our children do NOT like the chkn mcnuggets nor do they like the apple slices. They love the nuggets at Wendy's, the oranges and the milk. I love the adoption angle. They like to eat black beans and rice at Chipolte (sp?) with tomato salsa and milk to drink. They also like the fruit cup at Chick Fila but are not fans of their nuggets.

If McDonalds had more options that were healthy and things my kids would eat, I would at least try the new items a couple of times before giving up. I might get lucky and the kids would love them.

Right now my children aren't interested in food that comes on bread or in a bun. So they would need options that can be eaten sans bun. They love to eat the meat on Subway subs w/o any bread. They like cheese sticks and slices. They eat the veggies too. Just not the bread.

LV said...

The new Cantina Tacos at Taco Bell are quite healthy

LV said...

I tweeted! http://twitter.com/LisaSVance/status/20300779507

Kuklaswish said...

I like Wendy's choice of mandarin oranges. You can order a large salad and share it with kids choices. Then the oranges can be eaten with salad or as a side.

Lori A. said...

Subway is great for healthier options. Ours offer apples or yogurt as sides.
ljatwood at gmail dot com

Lori A. said...

tweeted
http://twitter.com/ljatwood/status/20430207661
ljatwood at gmail dot com

magslog said...

The last time we were on the road we stopped at a Wendy's and tried to get the healthier options, but they were out of all the healthy options. It was a little frustrating, but maybe it means that more and more people are choosing them!

Gail said...

I love the apples as substitutes at McDs. Subway has a breakfast sandwich that is made with egg whites. Yummy.

Natalie said...

My grandkids love that you can substitute healthy choices at McDonalds. They also love Subway.
Love your blog.

In Due Time said...

We almost always get the chicken nuggets, apple slices, and milk for the little one. I can't say the same for myself, but it's always easier to make someone ELSE eat healthier. LOL

I know she likes fries (who doesn't?) so I always give her a few of mine instead of letting her get fries in the happy meal.

(email address is on a link on my blog, I don't want it being picked up by google search. lol)

Kristen said...

Alot of the ff places now offer salads with low fat dressing on the side or fruit salads, which are my fave! Also if you just order a SMALL burger at most places it is okay portion control and is not too many calories or fat.

couponboss at gmail dot com

amandawk said...

I love the apple and yogurt salad.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

Monkey Momma said...

I never feel guilty taking the kids to McD's because of their food options. But I would like to see oranges, apple sauce, grilled chicken and broccoli as additional options. This can't be that hard, right?

Shelly said...

sometimes I get a kids meal for myself.
El Pollo Loco and Baja Fresh 'seem' healthy...

Kikilia said...

Chick-fil-A has fruit cups, diet tea and lemonaide as well as a grilled chicken sandwich on a whole grain bun.

Wendy's has baked potatoes, yogurt, mandrin orange slices, and grilled chicken sandwiches.

Sonic now has apple slices or a banana option as well as grilled cheese sandwiches and juice available.

BTW- we don't have the grilled chicken snack wrap in my area of the country at McD. Would be nice to try it though.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

if you count subway, kids can get apples and milk instead of cookies and soda.

lauren51990 at aol dot com

Lori said...

We like Wendy's salads...

Mel Fraase said...

I know BK has mac and cheese and mandarin orange slices on their kids menu along with the milk and juice options.
I've always found subway to be a healthy all around choice.
McD's is usually a crowd fave, I love the fruit and yogurt for desert!!

Tracy, Justin, Mitchell, Devon and Loren said...

we like the fruit smoothies @ McD.
hollanderstochina at yahoo dot com

lmurley2000 said...

i love their salads, and their madarian oranges, and their apples

lmurley2000@yahoo.com

lmurley2000 said...

tweeted

http://twitter.com/lmurley2000/status/20556172464

lmurley2000@yahoo.com

jakiesmom said...

i like that the mc donalds we went to in hawaii gives pineapple with your value meal. a great fresh healthy dessert
nannypanpan at sbcglobal.net

Wander said...

I definitely like the salads offered at McD's. But honestly, I go for the good stuff: Chicken biscuit, Mocha Frappe, Vanilla Iced Coffee, and a Big & Tasty!

{not all at the same time}
I love that place!
We're going for dinner tonight! :)

Annette D said...

I order the Happy Meal for myself!
It has much fewer calories that an adult sized item! Then I save the toys and give them out at Halloween for trick or treat, since my kids are 21 and 17.
jedoggett@embarqmail.com

degood said...

I like to get a grilled chicken wrap, a side salad and a yougurt when i take the kids to mcdonalds

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

Steph said...

Papa Murphys take-n-bakes are really low calorie. I think they are like 1/2 the calories of a normal pizza. Be forewarned they cook alot different so keep a close on eye on it.

Steph said...

Tweeted

http://twitter.com/mnsteph/status/20641230880

FinsUp said...

My daughter enjoys the grilled chicken and broccoli at Ruby Tuesday's on the kid's menu. She also likes that she can get the salad bar on the kid's menu. She will make a meal off of the boiled egg, grapes, cucumbers, and croutons.

Shannon said...

The apple fries at burger king have been a good alternative option for us to fries!

shannyiphone(at)gmail(dot)com

Sondra said...

Usually we find grilled chicken sandwiches and/or salads as a healthy option when we travel. I have one son who LOVES everything McDonalds has and another one - (who watched Super Size Me with me a few years ago) who will NOT eat any any fast food establishment! So we usually have to get him healthy subs -

yount said...

it not so much about the junk food they eat but letting them set in front of the computer or tv!

mrsbroccoliguy said...

We always get the apples at McD's - at other fast food places we've found applesauce and oranges, so I know both can be done and obviously people (US!) will buy them.
On road trips we often look for a sub shop because the food feels more "real" there... but we hit an awful lot of McD's too - the happy meal toys are good for filling at least an hour in the car!

sarahkate60120 said...

Anna prefers the apple slices to french fries and water over juice or soda.

I like to order my chicken grilled with just tomatoes. I take off the top of the bun and eat it like an open faced sandwich.

Tracey said...

I love the side salad at Chic-Fil-A and Chipotle has a great new (new in our area) kids menu with rice, beans and a taco, burrito or quesadilla for super cheap!

Tracysweetangl said...

Apple Fries and Burger King are very good for the kids.

Amanda said...

Wendy's has a very nice side salad which always has quite a few veggie toppings. I don't like it when I order a side salad and it's just a tiny bowl of lettuce without any other veggies. The salads I've had at my local Wendy's are always fresh and yummy!
winnieayala at yahoo dot com

Karina said...

Get the apples and milk instead of fries and soda in a kids meal

purplelover04 said...

i love the dollar salads at mcdonalds they are a nice size and nice meal on the go

purple_lover_04 at msn dot com

purplelover04 said...

i tweeted http://twitter.com/purplelover04/status/20818958898

purple_lover_04 at msn dot com

*Alice Anne* said...

I think the healthiest thing to do when you eat at a fast food place is to remember that some things that SOUND healthy (smoothies, salads, etc.) can actually be completely UNhealthy if they add tons of sugar or you pack on the salad dressing. That's my healthy suggestion - be aware of *fake* healthy foods!

ngurl2000 AT msn

slehan said...

I like the baked potato at Wendy's. Thanks for the contest.

slehan said...

http://twitter.com/slehan/status/20835609040

M3 said...

HI GUYS, THANKS FOR YOUR ENTRIES! THE GIVEAWAY CLOSED AT 5PM PST TONIGHT AND I PUBLISHED ALL COMMENTS THAT GOT IN BEFORE THAT TIME. I'LL DRAW A WINNER AND PUBLISH THE RESULTS TOMORROW.