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 Emmy Coffee June 17, 2011 at 4:24 am

Large Fry!  With a side of tartar sauce.


2 Emmy Coffee June 17, 2011 at 4:25 am

I like you on Facebook (@emmy coffee)


3 April B June 17, 2011 at 4:30 am

Fries and nuggetts would be good with a drink


4 Kiara June 17, 2011 at 4:44 am

I like the Asian salad.


5 Amied027 June 17, 2011 at 4:45 am

I would choose the honey mustard grilled chicken wrap with a side salad and low fat Italian dressing and apple dippers for dessert!  My fave meal!


6 Amied027 June 17, 2011 at 4:45 am

Follow @modernmami on twitter @amied027.


7 Amied027 June 17, 2011 at 4:47 am
8 Amied027 June 17, 2011 at 4:48 am

Like ModernMami™.com on Facebook under Rene Denning.


9 Lentil June 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm

A hamburger with a Snack Size Fruit & Walnut Salad is only 460 calories!


10 Nadine Larsen June 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I would go with the McChicken, small fry and a water


11 Nadine Larsen June 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I follow on Twitter (@eyzofblu63)


12 Nadine Larsen June 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm
13 Nadine Larsen June 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I subscribe by email (


14 Nadine Larsen June 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I like you on Facebook (Nadine E Larsen)


15 Amy DeLong June 17, 2011 at 5:06 pm

would like the Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap


16 Amy DeLong June 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm

follow on twitter


17 Amy DeLong June 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm

fb fan


18 Kim Townsend46 June 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I love the fruit and walnut salad. It is refreshing as well as good fiber and low calorie!


19 Jnmacdonald June 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I like the 6 piece chicken nuggets with honey mustard sauce and a small wild berry smoothie.


20 Anonymous June 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm

i would get the asian salad it looks great
susansmoaks at gmail dot com


21 nicole greene June 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I would get the

Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken and a small fry for a total of 490 calories!


22 nicole greene June 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I follow you on twitter @pittsy82:twitter


23 nicole greene June 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm
24 nicole greene June 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I “LIKE” you on fB (Nicole PittS)


25 nicole greene June 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm

i subscribe via email


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