Say no to the Combo

I don’t watch a lot of TV.  In fact, I don’t have cable at all.  I purchased an antenna just so that I could watch the Olympic games.  As my previous article mentions how 5-hour ENERGY commercials are manipulating data to prove a point.  McDonalds on the other hand tried to do something a little more clever.

McDonalds decided to promote their “healthy” menu by stating the food was under 400 Calories.  I initially thought this was going to be awesome until I looked at the menu.  I do believe that fast food chains are taking on the responsibility of understanding they have a huge role in the health of our nation, but this new marketing ploy doesn’t work considering most people order combination meals.

McDonalds under 400 calorie menu

balanced meal image

After you have read through the calorie content of the lunch you just ate or thinking about eating the odds are there were multiple items on the list in your meal.  We understand the components of a balanced meal and therefore we feel we need to order multiple items, especially when they are sold at a discount if you buy the bundle. We try to mimic a balanced meal by having different portions. Sandwich, fries, drink. . . balanced!

under 400 sandwichLets piece together a really quick combo based on the chart above:

Premium Chicken Sadwhich: 380 Cal
Small Fries: 280 Cal
Drink:Diet Drink: 0 Cal

(notice how they did not put a full Soda on this list)

TOTAL: 680 Cal.

This is a typical combo meal.  If you are trying to stick to a 1500 or 2000 Cal diet then that is almost half to 1/3 of you daily allowance.  If you are trying to lose weight you need to have your meals around 400 – 500 Cal.  You should also be eating snacks through out the day to keep your metabolism up, which add calories to the total daily allowance. You should be eating at home, but there is no reason you shouldn’t be allowed to eat out.

Here is my suggestion, DROP the COMBO.  Just order the sandwich or the fries.  Although the ingredients aren’t the greatest you might surprise yourself at how full you become on part of the meal.

fork dipping in dressingIf you do feel like you are in a combo mood then swap out the fries with the side salad, it is 20 Calories, if you don’t use dressing (which might be gross).  If you need the dressing DO NOT pour it all over your salad,instead, just dip the tip of a fork in the dressing and then pick up as much of the salad as you can handle  This will still give you the flavor of the dressing, but cut down on the calories.

Also switch your drink to something with minimal calories.  I would recommend water. They will try to give you water in a bottle, but you should ask for the tap.  Tap water is better for you (check out the documentary Tapped).  Plus all restaurants are required to filter their tap water.  If water isn’t your thing then ask for BREWED ice tea.  Many fast food places use a syrup for their iced tea which are typically loaded with sugars.  Do not put any sweetener in it, even the zero calorie kind.  There are many nutritionist talking about how the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas and in packages actually trigger the desire to eat more.

SO again be cautions with advertising.  Make sure you understand what is actually being advertised.  If McDonalds came out with Combo meals that were under 400 calories that would be AWESOME! But they just spun what they had and made it sound like you were eating a healthier option.

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