Dear McDonald’s, Your Salads Stink

Dear McDonald’s, Your Salads Stink

As many of you know, I’m on the road this week. I’m currently taking a writing retreat and catching up with work and trying to knock out some chapters for my next Cupid’s Crossing series novel. I also am pretty strictly low carb due to blood sugar issues which are only controlled with a low carb diet (I have one cheat meal a week and already had it this week). So, with the idea that me and my little dog would have dinner ready and not have to go out again tonight, I went through McDonald’s drive-through and ordered a chicken sandwich (I threw the bun out, of course) and a side salad with ranch dressing.

I’m Cheap

One of the things you’ve likely learned about me is that I’m cheap. If I can save money by getting a salad and chicken from McDonald’s and refrigerating it for later, then I definitely will. However, I also like high quality food because it makes me feel 100 times better. 

I Read Labels

If you have blood sugar issues or gluten sensitivity, etc., one of the first things you learn is to read labels. I’m often surprised at the sugar they sneak into healthy items. Even some frozen microwavable vegetables that you would think would be low carb have added sugar, especially broccoli with added cheese sauce or vegetable mixes. When I buy frozen broccoli and cheese, I want broccoli and cheese, not corn syrup, added fillers, etc. You can find just the veggies, but you have to read.

Where McDonald’s Gets It Wrong

mcdonald's dressing
This is the ranch dressing I was given with my “healthy” salad.

I know, I know, people have been saying for years that there are a ton of calories in those McDonald’s salads, but the problem really isn’t the calories but the crap we’re putting on top of them. The lettuce is healthy, tomatoes are healthy, chicken is pretty basic. It is this little packet that is the problem. I wasn’t thinking though and this is what I had. So, I flipped it over and you can see from the image below how many carbs this packet had.

mcdonald's dressing
Note that it says at the top that this is produced specifically for McDonald’s. If I were them, I’d be redoing my contract with Newman’s Own.

This one little packet of dressing, which I would argue that most people put the whole thing on their otherwise healthy salad, has a whopping 200 calories. The fat doesn’t bother me, but the carbs are through the roof. This one packet has 11 grams of carbs. For someone who is diabetic or trying to count their carbs, this might represent about 1/3 of their carbs for the day. Even if they are working with more carbs, the third highest ingredient on the list (they are listed in order by what they are made up the most of) is “corn syrup solids”. Yum, yum. Doesn’t that sound appetizing and healthy? On top of that, it also contains “sugar” and “corn starch”. 

Even store-brand Ranch dressing from Kroger only has 2 carbs per serving, which is much more manageable. Same for numerous name brands. If they can make theirs with that few carbs, surely Paul Newman could too. Instead of offering fat free options, which also have a ton of added sugar and do not fill you up, why not offer a decent Ranch dressing from any other formula than this one?

Oh, and if someone is vegan, the dressing has EGGS in it. So, you might think you’re eating vegan by ordering a salad only to find you really aren’t. Not cool at all. 

Get Your Act Together,  McDonald’s

An average restaurant in this chain serves around 1,916 customers in a day. Since about 9.3% of the population is diabetic and even more are borderline and/or watching their carbs simply to be healthier, and since there is at least one McDonald’s in every town over a few thousand people in I don’t know, like a gazillion towns in America, McDonald’s is feeding a lot of people stuff they shouldn’t be.

I will give them credit for planning some healthier options in recent years and when I bother to ask for things without the bread, they always accommodate me with problem. The ability to get apple slices instead of fries is a great step in the right direction.

The salad dressing is a step in the wrong direction. I know I’m not your CEO, although I’d love to have his salary, but let me suggest that you look into adding a few of Walden Farms dressings. They offer the packets just like this one, but their dressings have zero calories, zero carbs, zero fat, and zero gluten. 

Yes, they cost a little more. You could add an upcharge for them to cover that cost and most people would gladly pay it for healthier eating.

Thanks for the Dry Salad – Barf

So, let me end by saying thank you for giving me a packet of dressing via the drive-through that was so unhealthy it wasn’t something I was about to put into my body. I react to carbs like that badly, my blood sugar shooting up past 140, which is not a good level.

The dry salad without anything at all was oh so unappetizing that I seriously doubt I’ll be buying one of your salads in the near future. 

If you are truly committed to offering a few healthier options, you will look into your salad dressing choices and come up with some options that are better for your customers. Who knows, you might even gain a few new customers if you make moves to accommodate their dietary needs.

Lucky for me, I always carry some Macadamia nuts with me for emergencies. They keep well without refrigeration and are pretty perfect for regulating blood sugar. They have very little carbs, plenty of healthy fat,and are extremely filling.

Macadamia nuts straight from Hawaii are a great snack to carry with you for emergencies.