Has anyone been to McDonald’s today?
The company recently announced that this week they will begin listing nutritional information in stores and at drive-through windows across the United States.
“At McDonald’s, we recognize customers want to know more about the nutrition content of the food and beverages they order,” said Jan Fields, president of McDonald’s USA.
I wonder if that’s really true? Do McDonald’s customers want to know that they Big Mac meal deal they super-sized for $1 extra has 800,000 calories and 275 grams of fat? I think we all pretty much know by now that McDonald’s doesn’t specialize in healthy food? I know, I know, they’ve got salad and yogurt parfait now, but for the most part, it’s about burgers, french fries, and the occasional Shamrock Shake (not that I know anything about those green frosty cups of yumminess).
So I wonder, will including the calorie counts of Big Macs and french fries and those fancy new coffee drinks on the menu board really influence the choices of McDonalds’ more than 25 million daily customers? Or will folks just put on calorie blinders and order what they crave? Imagine the visual equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and singing “La la laaaaa, I can’t heeeaarrr yoooooo.”
Personally, I really appreciate when restaurants include nutrition information for their food. While I don’t go to McDonald’s
often ever, I do like to know of a few restaurants where I can grab a quick bite when I’m in a hurry; places with options that won’t put me in calorie debt for three days. Starbucks, Which Which, and Rubio’s all have a few fairly decent choices when it comes to fast food. But the truth is, I’m not usually going to those places for an indulgent, special meal; I’m simply short on fuel and didn’t bring a snack from home to tide me over. I might be less grateful to see that my favorite pasta dish at the local Italian place (it’s got little “pasta purses” filled with cheese, covered with a pear butter garlic sauce), has 1,000 calories per serving. When I have that meal, it’s a treat. I know it’s not great for me, but I don’t really care, because I might have it three times in a year. And really, once you know how bad something is for you–once it’s in black and white right before your eyes–it’s really hard to enjoy it anymore. At least it is for me.
For example, I used to work at P.F. Chang’s. I was a waitress. It was a great job. Fun people, good money, and free or discounted food. My favorite was the Dan Dan Noodles. Ever had it? So awesome. At least it was until I saw it had something like 1,100 calories per serving. YIKES! Never could eat it after that. I hope I didn’t just ruin it for you too? Although if you eat at P.F. Chang’s you probably already know they include the nutritional information on their menu. Did you notice?
So, what do you think? Will you pay attention to the calorie counts of your favorite fast food lunch? Will it affect your choices? Or will you simply avert your eyes? I’ll bet the majority of McDonald’s patrons don’t really need to look at the menu anyway.