SAN DIEGO McDonald's is the latest restaurant chain to join HealthyDiningFinder.com, a website that helps consumers identify more healthful meals when dining out,
Healthy Dining, the cooperative of nutrition experts behind HealthyDiningFinder.com , said McDonald’s has 15 products that qualify for inclusion in HealthyDiningFinder.com’s searchable database of acceptable menu items. The Fruit n’ Yogurt Parfait, the Egg McMuffin paired with a side of fruit, the Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich and the grilled version of the Honey Mustard Snack Wrap were among the chain's menu items that met Healthy Dining’s guidelines for calories, fat and saturated fat. The menu items also satisfied requirements for either lean protein, a whole-grain component, or a serving of fruits or vegetables.
“We are very pleased to have McDonald’s join the Healthy Dining program,” said Anita Jones-Mueller, president of Healthy Dining. “It is exciting to feature so many restaurants of all types and price ranges on HealthyDiningFinder.com.”
Other chain restaurants participating in Healthy Dining’s initiative include Boston Market, Bahama Breeze, Au Bon Pain, Moe’s Southwest Grill, El Torito, Sandella’s, Go Roma and Friendly’s. More than 70,000 restaurant locations are featured on the website.
“We continually strive to meet our customers’ needs by providing a variety of high-quality menu choices and easily accessible nutrition information,” said Dr. Cynthia Goody, a registered dietician and McDonald’s USA’s director of nutrition. “We’re pleased to feature a selection of our menu options on HealthyDiningFinder.com, furthering our commitment to helping consumers make informed decisions when they visit McDonald’s.”
The emphasis on consumer choice is the foodservice industry’s response to consumer advocates who have blamed restaurants for the prevalence of obesity in the United States.
Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s was the target of Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” in which the director lived solely on the chain’s food for one month to make a point about the quick-service industry’s effect on public health.
Since then, the restaurant industry has faced challenges from public officials trying to ban quick-service restaurants from low-income neighborhoods, as was proposed in Southern California, or moving to require nutrition information disclosure on menus, a national standard for which was enacted as part of the recently signed health care reform legislation.
HealthyDiningFinder.com allows users to search for such healthful meals by restaurant name, location, price range and more. Healthy Dining launched the website in collaboration with the National Restaurant Association and with partial funding from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
McDonald’s has more than 32,000 restaurants in the world, including more than 14,000 units in the United States.