McDonald’s Give Away and an Austin 5K Family Fun Run

Photo by Sprittibee: Mmmmmm  #atxhappymeals @mcd_austin #fries

Note to reader: There’s a 25$ give away at the bottom of the post! This post was not sponsored by McDonald’s, but they did provide me with some free munchies and a tour of their store. I met with Delmy and her crew, a nutritionist, and someone from McDonald’s Austin PR. We had a really nice time and learned a lot.

I eat a lot of really healthy things. I cook at home at least 90% of our meals each week. We even try to buy organic produce, avoid junk food and colas, steer clear of processed stuff in boxes and cans when possible, and I make my own chicken broth. But even with eating healthy most of the time, I will not turn my nose up to going through a drive thru if we are stuck in the car between activities or errands. Here’s the shocking truth: I actually like McDonald’s.

Photo by Sprittibee: -7 degrees and freezing ... #atxhappymeals McDonalds freezer with Delmy ❄️

Whenever you bring up eating at McDonald’s there are always those that turn their noses up. Yeah, haters gonna hate. However, McDonald’s has quite a few things on the menu that are { gasp } healthy – and probably better for you than some of the stuff in your own kitchen pantry. Not to mention, McDonald’s is interested in public opinion and has been listening to YOU.

Yeah… YOU. The one who wants healther kid foods – like yogurt and apples – in your happy meals; and chicken snack wraps instead of in addition to cheeseburgers.

Me? I’m all for eating healthy. In fact, I am a huge Non GMO and Organics, but I’m also a realist (especially when it comes to financial limitations – there’s not always extra cash to take our family of six to eat at a healthy restaurant, and most of the ones I love are over 20 miles from my house, anyway). You could also label me as a “food libertarian”. Why not let people eat what they want? Government has no right to tell you that your soda and cookies aren’t fit for consumption (the public can decide). If a company is being honest and telling you what’s in it, you should be allowed to decide for yourself if you want to eat it.

What’s next? Are they going to outlaw chocolate? I don’t think so. Homey better not play.

I like a cheeseburger sometimes. Scratch that. I LOVE a cheeseburger sometimes. That’s the key, though: I said SOMETIMES. Not all the time. Otherwise, I’d be obese or maybe a ticking time bomb for a heart attack. Or both.

McDonald’s has all-the-time foods – like salads, wraps, and blueberry pomegranate smoothies…. and they have sometimes foods, like cheeseburgers and fries. The problem isn’t that they make foods which have high fat content, it’s that we tend to have no self control when it comes time to order. McDonald’s gets a bad rap for our decisions and lifestyle choices.

Photo by Sprittibee: #atxhappymeals blog meet-up!

I went to a blog event at McDonald’s last weekend and sat down with a group of other Austin bloggers and talked about the new menu choices at McDonald’s: new choices for healthy eaters on their happy meals, new salads, and their amazing Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie (juice, yogurt, and blueberries – only 220 calories). We toured the kitchen and learned more about what goes on behind the scenes… like for instance:

Photo by Sprittibee: As big as McDonalds is, they only serve home made tea. I love that. ❤ #atxhappymeals

1. McDonald’s still makes fresh tea – nothing bottled or fake, even though they serve gallons of it every minute.

2. McDonald’s tears their restaurants down every 20 years and rebuilds to keep them clean, updated and fresh.

Photo by Sprittibee: I don't drink cokes, but it's pretty cool to see the room at McDonald's where they hook up the hundreds of gallons of syrup and flavors and carbonation... And how they run the tubes through the ceiling across the store to the drink machines! #atxhappymeals

3. McDonald’s makes every item fresh and doesn’t allow their meat to get below 160 degrees after cooking or they throw it out.

Photo by Sprittibee: Keepin' it fresh. #atxhappymeals @mcdonalds

4. The cleanliness standards in McDonald’s are extreme. I mean, I wish my kitchen looked as clean as the McDonald’s I toured last week. I’m pretty sure they would shut me down if I was a franchise.

5. They offer oatmeal all day long, not just for breakfast. Plus, you can order it without the sugar and cream if you are watching your fat and calorie intake.

Photo by Sprittibee: Thx 4 a yummy lunch & awesome blueberry pomegranate smoothie! @mcd_austin #atxhappymeals

Beyond food, McDonald’s also does a lot of things for the community and their employees. Take for instance…

1. Ronald McDonald House, which served over 1749 families in 2012. One of Delmy’s own employees had a child who needed open-heart surgery and had to use the “house” in Houston. Austin area locations are doing Lights of Love (a 5K run, or walk if you want) to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House this year. It takes place on December 6th and you can even register your pet to participate with you. Hurry and register if you want to participate! Everyone will be dressing up in full holiday fashion and participating McDonald’s stores will be handing out McCafe Premium Coffee, apple slices and Go-GURT.

Photo by Sprittibee: Sometimes the healthy choice (blueberry pomegranate) needs to be countered by some yummy, greasy fries. ❤️ #atxhappymeals

2. McDonald’s goes to great lengths to inform and educate the public (including this healthy choices blog campaign) on how to make positive lifestyle choices with their menu selections, physical activity levels, and more. They have done everything from giving out pedometers in adult meals to changing the menu, adding new wholesome options and reducing the fries in kid meals. They showed us the difference in fat levels between a burger and a chicken menu item and it was pretty convincing that burgers should be the “sometimes” choice; like to the tune of 4 viles of fat to less than a half of ONE. I’m not a big “low fat” diet proponent (for why, read “Nourishing Traditions”), but I still believe in moderation. A burger and fries every day is NOT moderation and will definitely not be great for your arteries.

3. McDonald’s doesn’t try to hide their ingredients. In fact, they have been leading the way with menu transparency. Something our government and the big grocery and pharm cartels could learn from. Educated consumers still might buy a cheeseburger, but they’ll do it less often, and be back in the drive thru for a snack wrap the next time. Everyone’s happy – and healthier – when there is TRUTH on the menu.

Photo by Sprittibee: McCooks  #atxhappymeals @mcd_austin

4. McDonald’s has a university that helps teach and invest in their managers and franchise owners and anyone who is interested in a career with them: Hamburger University. Delmy and her husband – who own four locations in Austin, including the top grossing store and first ever geographically located in the city – both started as cooks with McDonald’s. She’s passionate about her job and teaches her employees that she’s not their boss, their customers are the boss. I love that. That’s the American way, right there.

5. McDonald’s donates money towards schools by allowing teachers to come work behind the counter of their local McDonald’s location for a few hours and a portion of the sale goes to that school. They donate 20% of the sales for those hours! They call it McTeacher’s Night. Too bad they don’t do it for homeschool co-ops. Boy, wouldn’t that be nice!? I could use a copy machine, some back yard playground equipment, and extra book shelves.

Photo by Sprittibee: Keepin' it fast. #atxhappymeals @mcd_austin

So hey, if you are a hater, that’s OK… but you’ll find us at our local McDonald’s without apology. Sometimes we’ll be getting the greasy burger with cheese and mayo. Other times we’ll be stopping in for a smoothie, a salad, a bottled water, and a wrap. Always, we’ll be thankful that they are there – and ready to serve us while we are on the go.

Want to join me in the drive-thru?

I’m giving away a $25.00 reloadable McDonald’s Arch Card (good for use anywhere in the United States). To enter, use the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{ Have a wonderful December! }

In Him,

Heather

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Disclaimer: McDonald’s did not compensate me for this post, but did provide free food for me to try! All opinions are my own.

 

Comments

  1. Meghan says

    I love the Ronald McDonald house! We stayed there for a few days in Seattle while my mom was in the hospital with Gracie.

  2. Sheila Laurence says

    I like McDonald’s, too. :) Not for every day, but I enjoy their wraps, the fruit and walnut salads and the yogurt cups. I actually don’t feel badly about myself when I eat there, because those are the things I get. Well, not all at once, of course. :)

  3. says

    You bring up some really good points, Heather. We are, admittedly, a non-McDonald’s family. However, there’s that once a year or so while on a road trip across the country that we must have some McD’s! :) It’s all about moderation and self-control that the good Lord gave us (that we don’t apply to our lives enough), and yes, I don’t want the government outlawing food…and certainly not chocolate! 😉

    Have a blessed Holy Season, my dear!

  4. Melissa says

    I love McD’s breakfast… and the McFlurrys… and their fries… heck, I like pretty much everything. Just gotta enjoy in moderation!

  5. sally says

    I am not afraid to admit that I love McDonalds(especially the fries)! Love the $1 menu for my always starving teenagers.
    Have a blessed Christmas!

  6. Kelly says

    We love McDonald’s and probably eat it way too often… my kid loves to play while I get wifi! Also there flavored coffees are amazing and way cheaper than Starbucks! Single mom here… free wifi and good cheapish coffee makes me happy.

  7. Leigh O says

    Thanks for being REAL, Heather! I take my kids to McD’s all the time to play, and we usually only get a $1 sweet tea, a cone, or, occasionally, a frappe (which are just as good as Starbucks!). But I don’t feel guilty when we zoom through the drive-thru for burgers and fries on a busy day.

    Like you, I get tired of hearing all the McD’s haters. My cousin’s family was served by RMH in Charleston, SC, about 14 years ago. Thank God for them! And if I’m on a long trip and I want a super-size Sweet Tea to last a while, or to share with the kids to save money, that is my business! Thanks for giving them some well-deserved positive coverage.

    • says

      Yeah, I don’t know if all those haters would be so happy if they disappeared and weren’t there on a long road trip one day. :) Of course, you should probably not eat there every day (the temptation for fries is too great), but they are a great sometimes place! Starbucks is another place that should be a sometimes place! I’m not sure there are very many things with as many calories as a frapp!

  8. says

    Heather, you know what I like about this post? It’s real and it’s not going to kill us!
    I’ve grown so tired of this fearful generation that thinks everything is killing us!

    I’ve got news for them….their fear is killing them!
    Eat some fries and a Big Mac for goodness sakes!

    You made me want a burger :)

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