Thursday, May 31, 2007

McDonald's is safe again...

I've always had a great relationship with Ronald McDonald.

I first fell in love with him when he added a carousel to the McDonald's near my childhood home. Talk about a happy meal--french fries and a horsie to ride? When you're five, isn't that the definition of heaven?

Over the years, my relationship with Ronald only got more serious. Eventually a Happy Meal became just a taste. Happy Meals became double cheeseburgers, which became gigantic-o Big Macs. With fries.

By the time I got to college and discovered you could get cheeseburgers for 39 cents on Sunday, my relationship with Ronald was serious. And on my end, practically exclusive.

I couldn't help it. I was hooked. But I was also fat.

And since I no longer want to be, I broke up with Ronald.

It's been hard.

I still miss his french fries, his crazy red hair. I wonder if his Big Macs still taste the same and if he still wears funny white paint on his face. Every time I pass a McDonald's, even as I struggle to lose weight, I get an insane craving for the junk he peddles so easily.
But I've made passing up on the Golden Arches a sport...(My route to and from work does NOT pass a McDonald's. Pretty amazing considering there are 30,000 McDonald's on this planet)

You can imagine my reaction when I heard someone raving about McDonald's newest addition to its "healthy" menu--the Southwest Chicken Salad. I scoffed. It's got to be loaded with fat, calories, sugar, sodium...after all, everything else on the menu is!

But the salad did sound good. And I'm a sucker for any food with a Tex-Mex, Southwest flair. So I looked up the nutritional information.

Not too shabby. A little high on sodium but for 420 calories (INCLUDING dresssing, I might add!), it wasn't the nutritional landmine I thought it would be. So I bought one.

And guess who's hooked on McDonald's again?

The Southwest salad has some kick--the chicken (they offer both crispy and grilled--we both know what kind is better!) has a lime-glaze that really, makes the dressing almost unnecessary. The little tortilla chips give it some crunch without adding major fat and there's a good mix of lettuces to keep the whole thing interesting (with some fire-roasted veggies to boot.)

All in all, it's become one of my favorite lunches although like I said--it's a bit too high in sodium to enjoy every day. But for me, it's made McDonald's safe again.

On top of being a good lunch, the salad's taught me the art of self-control. To walk into a McDonald's and smell--but not order--the fries is a major victory.

I can't help but toast myself with my bottled water as I walk out feeling good about my choices and how I'm learning to pass up the bad stuff to get the good instead!


Livy said...

Luckily, I live about 300kms from the nearest Maccas (or any other fast food joint) otherwise I would also be addicted. I love Big Macs, and treat myself to one whenever we visit the Big Smoke, which is about twice a year. Good on you for being so strong to avoid the burgers and go for the salad, in my opinion, I can have a salad at home, however I must say, the lime dressing on the chicken sounds yum!

SarahAa said...

I still see Ronald on the side now and again. I really love the salads they offer (although they don't have the one you're talking about!) as an alternative to a deep fried little sack of heaven AKA french fries.

Once in a while I'll stll get a McDonalds cheeseburger and a fruit and yogurt cup. It satisfies my "I need crapy food" craving without totally killing me.

No food has to be the enemy in my book.

Lora said...

After reading about this new salad I had to have a go at it. It was awesome! When I've had to hit fast food joints, I've been ordering salads - but most just leave me with a whole lotta' lettuce and not much else including flavor. This South Western baby was incredible! Thanks for the tip!

aydin said...

That salad def makes it "safe" to see Ronald again ;)

I drove out of my way to get one of those the other night just to find out they had sold out for the day. Boo-hiss!