The affect popular opinion can have on a business is astronomical. Whether or not fast-food chains like McDonald’s are in fact responsible—even in small part—for America’s obesity epidemic is irrelevant. Just the fact that many blame fast food for obesity is enough; food chains are easy targets and finger-pointing from pundits and politicians creates a modern day witch-hunt atmosphere.
McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Hardees, and hundreds of other chain restaurants around the country face the wrath of food critics whose anger and frustration with an overweight society threatens even the largest billion-dollar chains.
There is no rationale in a fast food chain being responsible for obesity. It’s only the image that makes them stand out as somehow wrong.
A burger and fries and a soda – fats, carbs and calories. That’s the enemy. But it’s the cheap accessibility of the food that makes it stand out.
And even though fast food companies realize that no one is forcing people to eat the food, especially kids, many have taken it upon themselves to change the image by offering healthier alternatives, and McDonald’s is spearheading the healthy campaign.
Healthier Fast Food Offerings
The biggest restaurant chain in the world, McDonald’s has an entire side menu packed full of healthier alternatives. One area in which the company is attempting to focus the most on is the kids’ menu.
You can grab a lot of healthy choices from McDonald’s, including:
- Asian salad w/grilled chicken: 270 calories, 9 grams fat, 28 grams protein, 21 carbs
- Mango pineapple smoothie (medium): 270 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 3 grams protein, 61 carbs
- Fruit ‘n yogurt parfait: 160 calories, 2 grams fat, 4 grams protein, 31 carbs
- Sausage burrito: 300 calories, 16 grams fat, 12 grams protein, 26 carbs
- Grilled chicken sandwich: 350 calories, 9 grams fat, 28 grams protein, 42 carbs
- Ranch snack wrap: 350 calories, 19 grams fat, 14 grams protein, 31 carbs
- Apple slices: 15 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein, 4 carbs
As McDonald’s goes, so go every other chain in the industry, attempting to keep up. Burger King is no exception. They’re right behind McDonald’s in their new healthier menu.
- TenderGrill chicken sandwich (w/o mayonnaise): 400 calories, 7 grams fat, 36 grams protein, 48 carbs
- Fresh garden salad: 70 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 4 grams protein, 7 carbs
- Veggie burger: 410 calories, 16 grams fat, 22 grams protein, 44 carbs
- TenderGrill salad: 230 calories, 7 grams fat, 33 grams protein, 9 carbs
- Ham, egg and cheese Croissan’wich: 350 calories, 17 grams fat, 18 grams protein, 27 carbs
- Apple fries: 70 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein, 16 carbs
Although they’re a little behind the curve here, Wendy’s has recently introduced some pretty big changes to their menu. They weren’t one of the “enemies” in the limelight, and they already had a few long-term healthier options. But they’ve increased their offerings.
- Baked potato (w/o sour cream): 280 calories, 0 grams fat, 7 grams protein, 61 carbs
- Chili: 210 calories, 6 grams fat, 17 grams protein, 21 carbs
- Deli-style Frescata club: 440 calories, 16 grams fat, 25 grams protein, 49 carbs
- Berry almond chicken salad: 450 calories, 16 grams fat, 38 grams protein, 42 carbs
- Fresh fruit bowl: 130 calories, 0 grams fat, 2 grams protein, 33 carbs
Carl’s Jr. conjures up images of huge, greasy burgers, dripping with fat and calories. But this chain has also been on the move, offering healthier alternatives… at least in terms of salads. You won’t find many healthy options here, but they are starting to transition.
- Original grilled chicken salad: 270 calories, 9 grams fat, 25 grams protein, 23 carbs
- Kids chicken tenders: 220 calories, 12 grams fat, 19 grams protein, 10 carbs
For most fast food restaurants out there, they’ve had healthier menu options for over a decade. Of course, you never hear about them that much because the truth is that people do not go to McDonald’s to eat a salad. They go for the burgers and fries. But with the pressure put on, the chains are now advertising healthier options more and are adding a few more to the menu.