McDonald's rolling out McHealthy meals

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
McDonald's, fast food, egg whites, Egg McMuffin, healthy diet
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Fast food has a long-standing reputation as a provider of unhealthy, artery-clogging meals; however, McDonald's, a moniker synonymous with fast food, is out to change that image. The Daily Meal, a Web site focused on healthy dining, has announced that, beginning April 22, McDonald’s will be rolling out their Egg White Delight, a yolk-free version of their Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich, in locations nationwide.

The Egg McMuffin has not changed much in its 40 year history and contains 300 calories. The new version omits the cholesterol-laden egg yolks and trims 50 calories off the meal. Residents of Atlanta Georgia and Austin, Texas were able to test the new product last November. Apparently, the response was favorable and encouraged the fast food chain to market the yolk-free version. The preparation of the new product is also different. The egg whites are cooked free-form on the griddle with a spatula (as opposed to the more common microwaved version sold by competitors including Dunkin’ Donuts); it will contain a slice of white cheddar cheese and Canadian bacon on a whole-grain English muffin. In addition, egg whites will also be made available on all the other breakfast sandwiches that McDonald’s offers.

“We’ve been listening to our customers, and they want premium options,” McDonald’s external communications manager Tyler Litchenberger told The Daily Meal. He added, “We can’t just limit egg whites to one menu item. We want to provide variety, and the ability to customize anything. We’ll even not add salt to your fries if you want.”

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In addition to the new breakfast sandwich, McDonald’s will introduce a few additional menu items within the next few months: Premium McWraps in three varieties, chicken and bacon, chicken and ranch, and sweet chile chicken, will be available throughout the U.S. beginning March 18. In addition, McCafé blueberry pomegranate smoothies will be rolled out on May 15.

With their focus on healthy alternatives, it is likely that McDonald’s will consider adding a healthier beef product to their burgers. NBO3 Technologies LLC (Manhattan, Kansas) is now offering its GreatO Premium Ground Beef at select retailers in Buffalo, NY; sales will expand to retailers and restaurants throughout the nation later this year. NBO3 notes that their proprietary feeding protocol is designed to deliver naturally high dietary Omega-3 fatty acids, which result in beef that is high in Omega-3s. The company explains that the healthier ration means cattle perform better in the feedlot at a much younger age. It claims that their ration stimulates healthy rumen (first portion of a steer’s stomach), minimizes gut bacteria and creates healthier animals. As a result, the cattle grow faster, perform more efficiently, and spend little-to-no time in the sick pen, requiring; thus, they require little to no antibiotics (therapeutic or sub-therapeutic) compared to commodity beef. Studies have found that dairy and beef cattle with an enriched diet of flaxseed and other omega-3 rich grains have fewer respiratory diseases. The cattle also have higher fertility rates, which helps offset infertility among dairy cattle.

Take home message:
McDonald’s focus on healthier alternatives is a good thing; however, the new Egg McMuffin can be made healthier by eliminating the Canadian bacon. Although Canadian bacon has a lower fat content than regular bacon, it is processed meat, which is associated with an increased risk for health problems such as cardiovascular disease.

Reference: The Daily Meal

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