McDonald’s Oatmeal – Off The Health Track Or Tapping Into Women’s Whole Truths?

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercial. McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal. Doesn’t that just sound like you should be eating it?

Every time I see it I think, mmm, I should stop at McDonald’s on the way to work, that “scrumptious” bowl of warm oats and fresh (ok, mostly dried) fruits hits an emotional feel good nerve.

McDonald’s has tried hard over the last few years to win the hearts of women by offering healthier options (remember the Weight Watchers partnership?) and salads served in clear plastic bags to connote healthy freshness. This was intended to make women feel better about walking into a MickeyD’s with the kids…we know that it is also a good cover for women to still get the bag of french fries to go with that salad.

Mark Bittman, in his New York Times piece, How to Make Oatmeal . . . Wrong, sheds light on just how “healthy” this oatmeal offering really is. He asks why McDonald’s would turn a venerable ingredient like oatmeal into an expensive junk food…the reason, women have good intentions and like the idea of being healthier but the WHOLE TRUTH is that they aren’t willing to sacrifice taste in the process. And as Mark points out, you may go in with oatmeal on the brain but often will walk out with the sausage biscuit…and knowing that the oatmeal has more sugar than a Snickers, may help women feel less guilty about the biscuit!

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Starting Weight Watchers? Head to McDonald’s…

McDonald’s branches in New Zealand (and soon America and Britain, as well) have partnered with weight loss chain Weight Watchers to offer three meals on their menu that equal 6 1/2 Weight Watchers’ points.

The Filet-O-Fish, Chicken McNuggets and a Sweet Chilli Seared Chicken Wrap are the same fan faves as before, but a combination of switching to a healthier canola oil and reducing the amount of sauce used cuts the calories (not to mention saturated fat) to diet-friendly proportions.

Definitely smart marketing on behalf of both companies—like ‘em or not, Mickey D’s is one of the largest meal providers around with something like 27 million people eating there everyday.  It’s nice to see them offering up healthier options for those that are trying to stick to their diet, but don’t want to give up their favorite indulgences.

But I have to wonder… isn’t the whole point of starting a weight loss program to try and learn new, healthy, sustainable eating habits…not just eat less of the same bad stuff?  Will this encourage more people to choose McNuggets because it’s easy and, technically, allowed when they might otherwise have selected a more nutritious item?   Is it (kinda) cheating?

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April 13, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

A look at an early production of WORK


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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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