Good job, millennials. You made McDonald’s do its market research
What will we even buy at Whole Foods anymore? (Photo Modified: Flickr/sweetonveg)
If McDonald’s starts putting kale on the menu, will more customers bite?
That’s the big question reportedly looming over the burger behemoth’s head right now, as consumers, especially American ones, continue to slip through its fingers.
Although McDonald’s has not confirmed the rumor, an analyst for Janney Capital Markets told Nation’s Restaurant News that indeed, kale will be introduced to the menu within the year.
Whether it’s a strategy from the company to adapt to changing consumer tastes — a measure that the company has described as “urgent” — or to try anything once, or both, the rumor doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. McDonald’s really needs your business, and kale is the next tool in the arsenal.
As NRN puts it, “kale could be part of an effort by McDonald’s to appeal to more health conscious consumers. It would also in theory give the brand a health halo, giving consumers a better perception of the brand even when they order Big Macs and large fries.”
Last week, in another clear move to meet consumer demands, the company announced that it had begun phasing out antibiotics in its poultry, and would soon introduce hormone-free milk. Burger King, meanwhile, announced today that it would remove soda from its children’s menus, echoing the actions of other fast food giants before it.
As McDonald’s and its competitors battle to stay relevant, consumers at least stand to benefit from healthier options across the board. It does make us wonder, though — will McDonald’s adoption of kale finally make it okay not to care about kale?
The Secret Trick for Scoring Deals at Popular Chain Restaurants
If you're tired of making the same meals during quarantine, then you might be craving some fast food. Sometimes a burrito bowl from Chipotle or a Big Mac from McDonald's can just hit the spot. Did you know that there are ways to customize your food to have it served fresh or even cheaper than what's listed on the menu?
We've scoured the internet to gather the fast-food ordering hacks that will blow your mind. After reading these hacks, you're never going to order fast-food in the same way again. Your taste buds—and your wallet—will thank you.
You Can Now Order a McDonald's Caramel Macchiato
When you imagine breakfast at McDonald&aposs, chances are good that you&aposre picturing an Egg McMuffin or a McGriddle sandwich, rather than a cup of coffee. If anything, coffee at McDonald&aposs has always seemed like something of an afterthought (except for the fact that McDonald&aposs coffee is extremely hot). But McDonald&aposs is looking to make coffee a primary draw, not just another drink on the breakfast menu by revamping the McCafé brand with a whole new line of espresso drinks.
The first change is strictly cosmetic. According to a press release sent to Extra Crispy, the McCafé logo is changing, and the new hot and cold cups—which are now available in nearly all of the fast food chain&aposs 14,000 restaurants—will also feature "gold accents that will change with the seasons." (Hopefully, these new McDonald&aposs coffee cups will not feature mittens in winter again.)
Inside these new cups, customer can order one of three new McCafé espresso drinks, made with Arabica beans that are Rainforest Alliance Certified. The first new McDonald&aposs espresso drink is a caramel macchiato, available hot or iced and made with "rich, dark-roast espresso served with whole or nonfat milk, mixed with sweet caramel syrup, and topped with ribbons of buttery caramel drizzle." There&aposs also a cappuccino, which is a shot of espresso with either whole or nonfat steamed milk "and the choice of French vanilla, caramel or hazelnut flavor." The final is an Americano, which is simply espresso with hot water.
These new in-store espresso drinks with high (or at least higher) quality beans is just the first step in McDonald&aposs move toward better coffee, though. According to the press release, starting in 2018, McDonald&aposs will also "launch a new ready-to-drink, bottled McCafé Frappé line in grocery stores and other retailers nationwide, and will be available in three flavors: Caramel, Vanilla, and Mocha."
In some ways, this move toward a stronger coffee program makes a lot of sense for the American fast food corporation. After all, given current trends, Starbucks is on track to become bigger than McDonald&aposs, and this move toward higher quality beans and a new bottled coffee line is on trend with what other chain and third wave coffee companies have been doing over the last year.
The only question is if people will like the new McCafé drinks well enough to keep on coming for coffee and not just breakfast sandwiches or hash browns. Fortunately for those who might be interested in giving these new drinks a try, McDonald&aposs will be selling small sizes of these McCafé specialty beverages for $2 each for a limited time.
The 8 Worst Fast-Food Smoothies (and What to Order Instead)
Smoothies are now available at tons of nationwide coffee shops and fast-food joints. Good news for healthy eaters, right? Eh, maybe if you want an energy-sucking sugar crash to follow that 20 oz tropical fruit blend.
Truth is, most fast-food smoothies are seriously bad for you. Don't get us wrong, they taste delicious, but they're high in calories and often loaded with added sweeteners and super-sweet juice concentrates instead of actual fruit. Some even top 100 grams of sugar per serving&mdashthat's like an entire pint of ice cream! (Why not make your own healthy smoothie recipe with one of these options?)
But don't despair: For every sugar bomb, we found a healthier swap with no or minimal added sweeteners. (Get your sugar cravings under control and lose weight while still enjoying the sweets you love with Sugar Smart Express.)
Here, what to pick and what to pass on at eight popular chains:
Worst: Tripleberry Smoothie
Berries are lower in sugar than most fruits, so it's a little confusing that Orange Julius' Tripleberry is so sweet. The 16-oz medium has 390 calories and 86 grams of sugar&mdashmore sweet stuff than you'd get from four Snickers bars.
Best: Light Strawberry Banana Smoothie
This classic flavor has 200 calories and 42 grams of sugar in the same 16-oz cup&mdashby far the best Julius offering.
Worst: Low-Fat Wild Berry Smoothie
Don't put much stock in "healthy" claims like "low-fat." This smoothie is the worst of Panera's bunch, with 68 grams of sugar and 340 calories in a 16-oz medium cup. Part of the problem? It's made with sweetened vanilla yogurt.
Best: Superfruit Power Smoothie with Ginseng
You're way better off with this blend: It maxes out at 210 calories and 34 grams of sugar, thanks to plain Greek yogurt and a bit of the natural no-calorie sweetener stevia. Plus, it has more than double the protein of the Wild Berry flavor, so you stay fuller longer.
Tropical Smoothie Café
Worst: Kiwi Quencher Smoothie
This chain only serves one size (24 oz), so forget about portion control. If you choose this seemingly healthy flavor, you'll ingest 254 calories and 100 grams of sugar&mdashroughly the sweetness equivalent of an entire pint of ice cream.
Best: Detox Island Green Smoothie
This smoothie (made with spinach, kale, mango, pineapple, banana, and fresh ginger) clocks in at a far more reasonable 182 calories and 32 grams of sugar. That's a sugar savings of 68%!
Worst: Orange Ka-BAM
BAM, indeed: Even in the smallest size (20 oz), this smoothie has 469 calories and 108 grams of sugar. That's as much sweetness as you'll get from almost three cans of Coca Cola. In fact, the chain actually adds pure sugar into this smoothie: "Turbinado," one of sugar's sneaky names, appears right on the ingredients list.
Best: Original High Protein Banana
A 20-oz cup of this smoothie has just 23 grams of sugar and 314 calories. We also like the simple ingredients list: banana, whey protein powder, and almonds.
Worst: Greens 'n Ginger Smoothie
Don't be fooled by word "greens:" The first ingredient in this smoothie is lemonade. That's probably why a 16-oz cup has a whopping 66 grams of sugar and 330 calories.
Best: Orange Carrot Karma Smoothie
This blend still has a high sugar count at 48 grams, but it's much lower in calories (just 180) and it's made without added sweeteners. The only ingredients: carrot juice, mangos, banana, and ice.
MORE:Top 10 Cholesterol-Fighting Foods
Worst: Evolution Fresh Mango Carrot Smoothie
Here's another example of the veggies-aren't-always-better principle: Each 16-oz cup of this smoothie has 42 grams of sugar and 230 calories.
Best: Chocolate Smoothie
This flavor is still high in sugar (34 grams per 16 oz), but it does have one advantage over the others: It's rich in protein and fiber, both of which slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, helping prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes. The extra boost comes from a whey protein/fiber powder, but that's about as much information as we can get, since Starbucks doesn't share detailed ingredients lists on its website.
Worst: Captain Kid
This "smoothie" is better classified as a dessert: The two ingredients are strawberries and orange sherbet. It's no surprise that a 22-oz cup packs 350 calories and 75 grams of sugar&mdashthat's more sugar than seven Krispy Kreme original donuts.
Best: PlanetPro Lite Banana & PB
With a total of 27 grams of sugar, this is one of the least sweet smoothies we've found. It does have a high calorie count of 540, but Planet Smoothie wisely markets this variety as a meal replacement. Order it for that purpose and you'll be in the clear.
Worst: McCafé Mango Pineapple Smoothie
McDonald's has yet to create a healthy smoothie. All three of the chain's smoothie flavors are basically identical in their nutrition stats, but Mango Pineapple edges out the rest with 56 grams of sugar and 260 calories in a 16-oz medium cup.
Best: McCafé iced coffee with light cream and French vanilla syrup
We can't in good conscience recommend a smoothie here. Your best liquid bet if you need a subtly sweet hit on the go is an iced coffee. It packs 19 grams of sugar and 120 calories for the same 16-oz portion, or you can forgo the liquid sweetener and stir in one sugar packet for just 4 grams of added sugar.
FAST FOOD NEWS: McDonald’s Asian Salad with Kale
Impulsive Buy reader Brad sent us this photo of a poster for a new Asian Salad that’s being tested in Chicago. For those of you who have an encyclopedia of McDonald’s products in your head, you’re probably flipping through it because you could’ve sworn McDonald’s had an Asian salad before. Well, let me save you the trouble and tell you there was one.
Update: We’ve gotten reports that the Asian Salad has also been spotted in Baltimore and Southern California.
Much like the one from the mid-2000s, this updated version features edamame, mandarin oranges, snow peas, red bell peppers, almonds, and is available with either grilled or crispy chicken. We do not know if the salad comes with the same Newman’s Own All-Natural Low-Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing that was passed out with the original Asian Salad, but since McDonald’s still uses Newman’s Own dressings it’s probably safe to say that it does.
Well, this one has got a greens upgrade. The previous version had a spring mix and iceberg lettuce, but this one has a “romaine, spinach and kale salad blend.”
If you’ve tried it, let us know what you think of it in the comments.
McDonald’s new kale salad has more calories than a Big Mac
In its quest to bring the people what they want &mdash namely, a kale salad that doesn’t taste like yard clippings &mdash McDonald’s has gone above and beyond.
Above and beyond the calorie count of its Big Mac, that is. The Keep Calm, Caesar On salad has 520 calories before you even use salad dressing, which is nearly the same calorie count as the Big Mac (563). Plus it has 31 grams of fat and 1,140 milligrams of sodium.
Once you add salad dressing (and let’s be honest &mdash who eats salad without dressing?), it’s even more caloric. The Pure Kraft Asiago Caesar Dressing has 210 calories and 22 grams of fat, and the “Calorie-Wise” version still has 150 calories, 14 grams of fat and actually contains 120 milligrams more of sodium than the original dressing has.
What on Earth goes into this salad?
A look at the ingredient list tells us all we need to know. There’s not a lot of that nutrient-rich kale in its mix of greens: It includes bacon and Parmesan, both of which are high in fat, calories and sodium it includes crispy chicken (itself made of 18 ingredients) and there are croutons on top of everything else.
McDonald’s isn’t the only company that calories up its supposedly healthy menu items like this. But it serves as a good reminder to always look beyond the health halo of foods like salad and examine the nutritional information before you make a choice.
And you should know, it’s actually really easy to make a lighter, more nutrient-dense kale salad that tastes indulgent too. The key is cutting the kale into small pieces so that it’s easy to eat and massaging it with extra-virgin olive oil to help make it more tender.
Super-simplified Tuscan kale salad
- 1 bunch Lacinato kale
- Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
- Slice the kale into very thin ribbons.
- Drizzle with EVOO, and massage gently through the greens &mdash yes, with your bare hands. That’s the fun part!
- Toss with as much grated Parm as you want.
Feeling fancy or in the mood for something a bit sweeter? You can go one step further and make this kale and orange salad or this major alternative, kale Caesar salad with roasted chickpeas.
Either way, there’s really no reason you should have to rely on fast food for your daily vegetable intake.
McDonald’s McVeggie Burger
A Veggie Burger like the one you would get at the McDonald&rsquos in India. Anyone who has tasted the McDonald&rsquos McVeggie Burger in India would agree with me that its one of the best veggie burger you will ever eat.
When I used to live in India the McVeggie Burger was my go to burger every time we went to McDonald&rsquos. Everything about it enticed me, right from the crunchy and tasty patty to the crisp lettuce, the oozing mayonnaise and those soft buns with sesame seeds on top. The whole package was complete in itself and I never even thought of adding any ketchup or other condiments to enhance it.
Jump to Recipe
After moving abroad this was one thing I missed whenever I visited any fast food joint including McDonald&rsquos. This McVeggie burger is very specific to the McDonalds in India. I tried various Veggie burgers at other fast food joints but they are all made from beans or mushrooms.
The craving to eat this scrumptious burger lead to multiple experiments. After a lot of trial and error and switching of ingredients to balance the flavors I finally nailed it. The satisfaction of having a perfect McDonald&rsquos McVeggie burger was absolutely Devine.
Jump to Recipe
Unlike the popular belief that fast food is something cooked in shortest period of time this recipe does have multiple steps and does take time. However, believe me when I say that this recipe is a keeper.
There are certain tips and tricks as well as some key ingredients that make your regular veggie patty like the crispy and delicious McDonald&rsquos McVeggie Burger.
Jump to Recipe
A Big Change Is Coming to Your Favorite Breakfast Sandwich
Anyone who follows food news knows that McDonald's has been all about change as of late: The chain has supersized their Quarter Pounder, added kale to their ever-shrinking menu and just last week, the chain announced they would be serving all day breakfast starting in October.
So it should come as no surprise that there's yet another tweak up Ronald McDonald's sleeve. The fast food chain recently announced that they plan to change the way they cook their biscuits, bagels and English muffins, which play a leading role in their popular McMuffin line. Instead of topping the carb pillows with liquid margarine, they will soon be slathering on real butter. Inside select stores, signs already advertise the nationwide change, and remaining locations will make the switch once they've used up their supply of margarine, according to CNBC.
Although this isn't such good news for those with lactose intolerance, it's great news for your waistline and total health. Though margarine has less saturated fat than butter, it packs a ton of additives, including health-harming trans fats which have been shown to increase the risk of depression. It gets worse: Research shows that the spread may also abet weight gain, increase heart disease risk and dangerous cholesterol levels — definitely not what you want on your go-to breakfast sandwich.
While we're amped about the menu-wide change, we can't deny that some of McDonald's breakfast dishes are far better than others. To ensure you stay on track with your weight loss goal, be sure to check out our guide to the Best and Worst McDonald's Breakfasts.
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Three Easy Steps to Order Take-Out in the McDonald’s App
Order On Your Time
Use our App to pick out your favorite McDonald’s items a la carte or make a meal. Or choose from exclusive deals using the “Add Deal to Mobile Order” button.
Make your contactless payment using any major credit card. Your card will not be charged until you check in. You can add or remove a payment card using the Checkout and My Account screens.
Pick Up On Your Terms
Check in at any participating McDonald’s restaurant to pick up your meal—get your food brought to you curbside, or grab it in the Drive Thru.
Mobile Order & Pay at participating McDonald's. McD App download and registration required.
McDonald’s secrets revealed
If you’re not loving it every time you go to McDonald’s, maybe you just need to employ a few hacks to make sure you’re getting the freshest and best Mickey D’s has to offer.
From ordering a “round” egg to acting like a secret customer to combining dollar menu favorites, these fast-food hacks will get you the happiest happy meal.
Just don’t ask for fries without salt.
1. Ask for a receipt
A former London McDonald’s employee wrote in a Quora thread that during certain hours, there are customers who’ve been paid to go and rate their experience. They always ask for a receipt so they can get the meal reimbursed.
The user said these periods, referred to as “Gapbuster Times,” are typically 12-2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Employees are urged to be on the lookout for these mystery customers.
It never hurts to have an employee think you’re there to secretly give them a score. So if you’re picking up a quick lunch or dinner, ask for a receipt to ensure the best service and freshest quality.
2. Get the cheap Big Mac
Don’t have $3.99 to splurge on the McDonald’s signature dish? This life hack, hailed as the poor man’s Big Mac, gets you the same taste for half the price.
Order the McDouble ($1.39) without ketchup and mustard, but add Mac Sauce and lettuce. It’s the same thing, minus the middle bun.
“Shoot you can order three and still be under-budget from a solitary Big Mac,” wrote a former employee on Quora. He added you might be charged for the lettuce.
3. Order four-piece Chicken McNuggets
One four-piece box of McNuggets is only $1.19, whereas a 10-piece box is $4.29. So three four-piece boxes will get you 12 McNuggets and save you 72 cents. But for the best bargain, order the 20-piece box, with 20 nuggets for $4.99.
Who ever only ate four McNuggets anyway?
4. Hold the pickles
Your burger is more likely to get grilled on the spot if you ask for it without pickles, sauce or onions — just pick one. The deviation from the standard “works” setup will force the restaurant to make a new burger for you.
One person who claimed to be a former employee wrote on Quora that, for example, if you order a Quarter Pounder without pickles, the cook will grill up a new patty.
“The difference between a burger that’s sitting for who knows how long and one right off the grill is phenomenal,” the user wrote.
Another user wrote that you can also just ask for a burger “fresh,” and they’ll grill a new one. The same user added that workers usually don’t mind this request because it lets them slow down for a second.
Either way, you might have to wait an extra five minutes (or 10-15 during busy times) if you prefer your Big Mac fresh.
5. Double the dessert
Combine these McD classics for a sweeter finish.
- Order the Hotcakes and a Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait, then fold the Parfait into the Hotcakes for a “McCrepe.”
- Order the apple pie and a McFlurry and ask the server to blend in a piece of the pie.
- Order a chocolate, vanilla and strawberry milkshake blend for a Neapolitan Shake.
- Finally, order the Hot Caramel Sundae and ask your server to top it off with apple slices.
6. Ask for fresh fries
Ordering fries without salt will get you a fresh batch, but this is an order that’ll make you that customer.
“This is true but also a pain in the ass,” one former employee wrote of the advice floating around to get unsalted fries. “The fry person will need to wipe down the station, the fry scoop, and clear the area for the new batch to keep salt from contaminating the new batch.”
Just like the burger, the user wrote that all you have to do is ask for “fresh fries.” Again, you’ll be waiting a few extra minutes, but you’ll get the latest batch.
A different user wrote that the “fresh” trick also works for ordering Filet-O-Fish, without cheese.
7. Order the “round” eggs
For the best breakfast, order a “round egg” on your non-McMuffin breakfast sandwich.
A Quora user, and former McDonald’s employee, wrote that the “round egg” is “definitely the best egg we have (and definitely real!)”
This magical egg is poached, and it’s cracked and cooked in a ring on the spot. McD’s other egg “forms” are a folded scrambled egg patty which is made from a powdered mix, and scrambled eggs that are used in the breakfast burrito. But you can ask for the round egg to be used in any sandwich.
The user, a self-proclaimed “poor high school girl working at McDonald’s on the side,” recommended asking for it on the bacon, egg and cheese biscuit/bagel.
8. Ask for a steamed bun
According to web intel, the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich is served with a different bun than the rest of their menu.
It’s lighter, it’s fluffier, it’s … steamed.
The airy bun makes the fried fish and tartar sauce taste like … not fast food. And you can substitute the regular old toasted sesame bun for a steamed bun on any sandwich.
9. Skip the grilled chicken
In 2015, one Reddit user who claimed to be a McDonald’s manager held an AMA. In addition to confirming that “grill orders” will get you a fresh patty, he cautioned against ordering one menu item in particular.
“DON’T order… the grilled chicken,” he wrote. “It’s horrible frozen chicken that we defrost and steam and it’s a bit gelatinous.”