A Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken, A Grilled Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap, A Dasani Water, and a Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait is comprised of 690 calories, 170 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 115 g of cholesterol, 1,390 g of sodium, 85 g of carbohydrates, 9 g of dietary fiber, 38 g of sugar, 47 g of protein, 8,240 IU of Vitamin A, 31 mg of Vitamin C, 350 mg of Calcium, and 5.5 mg of Iron (McDonald’s, 2013). Based upon this nutritional information, it is evident that this meal is one of the healthier alternatives that is offered at McDonald’s in comparison to some of the burger, French fry, and soda value meals that are available. This meal also provides greater nutritional value in the areas of Vitamin A, protein, dietary fiber, and Vitamin C, in addition to being much lower in fat and saturated fat. In addition, this meal is much lower in calories than other alternatives that are available.
However, this meal also contains high amounts of sodium and cholesterol, which remains problematic for the average consumer and his or her nutritional health. Unfortunately, 1,390 mg of sodium is 58 percent of the recommended daily value and 115 mg cholesterol is 39 percent of the recommended daily value (McDonald’s, 2013). Therefore, although this meal is a healthier option than some of the other alternatives, it is nonetheless primarily processed and remains filled with preservatives and high amounts of sodium (McDonald’s, 2013). This is a problematic situation for the individual looking for the healthiest possible alternative, and as a result, McDonald’s is not considered to be the optimal restaurant alternative for a person seeking to consume foods that are as healthy and non-processed as possible. Consumers seeking healthier options should consider other alternatives when eating out at restaurants on the go rather than McDonald’s or other fast food establishments. This will ensure that they are obtaining the proper nutrition without excess fat and sodium within their food choices.
An extra value meal including a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, French fries, a Coca-Cola, and an Apple Pie is comprised of 1,360 calories, 58 grams of fat, 22 grams of saturated fat, 95 mg of cholesterol, 1,550 mg of sodium, 177 g of carbs, 11 g of dietary fiber, 78 g of sugar, 36 g of protein, 730 IU of Vitamin A, 24 mg of Vitamin C, 350 mg of calcium, and 6.5 mg of iron (McDonald’s, 2013). Based upon these observations and the nutritional content of this particular meal, this is a less than optimal choice for consumption. This meal is particularly high in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium; therefore, it is an unhealthy option for any individual striving to achieve healthier food choices.
This example also demonstrates that more than half recommended daily allowances of sodium, carbohydrates, and fat are consumed with this one meal alone. This is a less than desirable outcome for a person seeking to consume healthier food choices as part of the daily diet. Although fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s have increased the sale of healthier food items, they have a long way to go in order to achieve healthier options for their customers (Castillo, 2013). The nutritional content of many fast food products, which are often processed in nature, are less than desirable and must be improved on a gradual basis to provide options that will promote optimal health and wellbeing rather than to sell products that promote poor nutrition and obesity in children and adults (Castillo, 2013). This is an important tool which demonstrates the necessity of all fast food restaurants to become more health conscious in their menu offerings (Castillo, 2013). This will facilitate a greater examination of food options before consumers make these choices when eating out at different types of restaurants. This is critical to their overall health and wellbeing.
Castillo, M. (2013). Fast food’s nutritional value still needs to shape up. Retrieved from
McDonald’s (2013). http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/home.html