Better Options with Fast Food: McDonald’s First Taste Lessons {Giveaway & Videos}

by Melanie Edwards on June 10, 2011 · 244 comments

in reviews

McDonald's New Menu Items

Last month I attended a McDonald’s First Taste event in New York City. The event was designed for media and bloggers to be able to sample some new menu items, meet with key McDonald’s representatives, and speak with McDonald’s nutrition manager and chef. We also had the opportunity to speak with a registered dietitian who focuses on nutrition in the Latino community.

While our family is not against fast food and do occasionally eat it, we realize that we need to be careful with our choices and monitor how much and how often we eat fast food. Attending the McDonald’s First Taste event allowed me to learn more about the various choices McDonald’s offers that will make a visit to the restaurant a more balanced visit, food-wise. I also learned about the Bag a McMeal section of the McDonald’s website, where you can choose menu items to create a more-balanced meal and monitor the nutritional information. This is good if you’re wanting to choose lower-calorie or lower-fat options from the McDonald’s menu before heading to your local McDonald’s. It definitely gives you a good perspective on what you may have been eating thus far and how you can choose better options.

I spoke with both Julia Braun, McDonald’s nutrition manager, and Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, an independent registered dietitian who focuses on nutrition in the Hispanic community. Both ladies provided insightful information regarding the McDonald’s menu. Check out the videos below to learn some tips from Sylvia on putting together a meal that meets your calorie needs, plus her take on what the Latino community can do to make healthier eating choices.

Sylvia Melendez-Klinger on Creating a Balanced Meal at McDonald’s

Sylvia Melendez-Klinger on How Latinos Can Eat Healthier

I also took the opportunity to ask Julia Braun about marketing to children at McDonald’s. Hear her response regarding McDonald’s stance on responsible marketing to children.

Julia Braun on Marketing to Children at McDonald’s

A couple of the new menu items we sampled included a mango pineapple smoothie, an Asian salad McDonald’s is bringing back for a limited time, and new sauces for the Chicken McNuggets, including a ranch sauce which will please my daughter who dips pretty much everything into ranch dressing. Of course, McDonald’s wants you to try out some of their new menu items, so they’re offering a giveaway to ModernMami™ readers with a gift card so you can do just that. Remember to also give the Bag a McMeal site a try and see what meal combinations you can come up with. Sylvia provided some tips on how you can even keep your meals around the 500 calorie mark. What 500-600 calorie meals can you create for a better fast food meal choice?


McDonald’s Gift Bag Giveaway

One Three* readers will win a McDonald’s gift bag, which contains the following items:
*Update 6/11/11: I’ve been told by the PR company that I can giveaway three bags instead of just one!

  • Tips and recipes from Chef Dan
  • Lavender scented eye mask
  • Pineapple scented candle
  • Mango scented candle
  • Notebook with pen
  • Bamboo pen
  • Balance bracelet
  • $25 McDonald’s Arch Card

How to Enter

Required entry: If you’d like to enter this contest, simply leave a comment below telling us which McDonald’s 600-calorie (or less) meal combination you prefer.

Extra entries (optional):

Each of the following will count as 1 extra entry. You’ll need to leave a separate comment for each entry.

  1. Follow @modernmami on twitter.
  2. Tweet the following: Enter to win a McDonald’s gift bag & gift card from @modernmami! #mcdonalds #giveaway #contest
  3. Receive post updates by subscribing to our RSS feed. You can do so either via email or through a RSS reader. Leave a comment saying you did so or are already a subscriber.
  4. Subscribe on friendfeed and leave a comment with your friendfeed ID.
  5. Like ModernMami™.com on Facebook.
  6. Write a blog post on your own blog sharing the details of this contest. Be sure to include a link back to this post. Leave a comment with your post link.

All entries must be in by Friday, June 17, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST. You must be 18 or older and have a valid U.S. address to enter. Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry. The winners will be chosen using and will be notified via email. (Please be sure to provide a valid email address with your entry.) Winners will have 48 hours to respond and claim prize, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: I attended the McDonald’s First Taste event courtesy of VPE PR and McDonald’s. All expenses paid. No compensation received.

Photo credits: McDonald’s

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{ 244 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ellie W June 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I love their grilled chicken caesar salad. Thanks for the giveaway!
eswright18 at gmail dot com


2 Ellie W June 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I follow you on Twitter @eswright18
eswright18 at gmail dot com


3 Ellie W June 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm
4 Ellie W June 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I subscribe via RSS feed
eswright18 at gmail dot com


5 Ellie W June 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I like you on FB (Ellie W)
eswright18 at gmail dot com


6 Annulla June 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm

The McDonald’s 600-calorie meal combination I prefer is the Snack Size Fruit & Walnut Salad and the Large Strawberry Banana Smoothie. Total calories = 540. 
annulla (at) gmail (dot) com


7 Annulla June 16, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I like ModernMami on Facebook. 

(I’m Annulla Sweeps on Facebook)

annulla (at) gmail (dot) com


8 Purehrt555 June 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I would get the southwest salad with Crispy chicken (530 calories) but I leave off the crispy lime tortilla strips, so it brings it down to 490 calories :0)  yummo


9 Mryward June 17, 2011 at 12:31 am

I always get the McChicken sandwich and a fruit and yogurt parfait. I love their parfaits!


10 Hotsnotty2 June 17, 2011 at 12:53 am

I’d pick the Premium Caesar Salad with Crispy Chicken and a small soft drink


11 Hotsnotty2 June 17, 2011 at 12:54 am

Following via Twitter (@Hotsnotty2), Thanks!


12 Hotsnotty2 June 17, 2011 at 12:55 am
13 Ashley June 17, 2011 at 12:57 am

I like the 6 piece nuggets and small fry with water or iced tea to drink.

(at) gmail (dot) com


14 Hotsnotty2 June 17, 2011 at 12:57 am

Liked you on FB (AngelaWinesburg)


15 Ashley June 17, 2011 at 12:57 am

I follow you on Twitter (AggieAshley).

(at) gmail (dot) com


16 Ashley June 17, 2011 at 1:00 am

I tweeted:!/AggieAshley/status/81526295825104896

(at) gmail (dot) com


17 Ashley June 17, 2011 at 1:00 am

I Like you on FB (Ash Aldridge).

(at) gmail (dot) com


18 Dinsmoreca June 17, 2011 at 1:00 am

yum i’m hungry and need stuff to furnish my new apartment :-)


19 Kathryn Gray June 17, 2011 at 1:32 am

Asian salad is great on a hot summer day–with unsweetened tea!


20 stephen h June 17, 2011 at 1:53 am

A McChicken and a Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone for a total of 500 calories.



21 stephen h June 17, 2011 at 1:54 am

I follow @modernmami on twitter. I’m @mystery250:disqus


22 Theresa June 17, 2011 at 3:28 am

Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken , Apple Dippers with Low Fat Caramel Dip , Diet Coke® (Small), and Newman’s Own® Low Fat Family Recipe Italian Dressing  , All for 420 Calories! Good Deal!


23 Theresa June 17, 2011 at 3:29 am

I follow you on twitter under @marison459:disqus 


24 Theresa June 17, 2011 at 3:30 am
25 Theresa June 17, 2011 at 3:31 am

I like on facebook (Theresa Haga Mahoney)


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