McDonald’s healthy eating? Here’s what nutrition pros buy there

McDonald’s menu, changing as it may be, is not exactly friendly to my post-angioplasty low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet. I’ve written about how I will order a salad there but bring my own oil and vinegar in packets I purchase via Amazon to avoid the high-salt Newman’s Own dressings.

McDonald's planned artisan chicken sandwich, with fewer harmful ingredients.
Want a chicken sandwich at McDonald’s? Hold the mayo and don’t eat the bun, one healthy eating expert recommends.

So I was interested in reading a recent article I saw headlined “What Diet Experts Eat at McDonald’s.” The piece speaks with nine people who call themselves nutrition and health eating experts to see what they buy at McDonald’s.

I was amused by one who gets a kid’s meal to get a taste of a hamburger in that tiny serving. I had been buying a double McDonald’s burger once a week to do the same thing before my 2012 surgery but have dropped that since. Now I buy 96% lean ground beef at a local supermarket and make my burgers at home.

Another gets a salad and leaves off the cheese and tortilla strips and uses less of the high-salt dressing to cut sodium. I too take off the tortilla strips but leave the little bit of cheese, opting to cut salt by using oil and vinegar instead of the prepared dressings. Continue reading “McDonald’s healthy eating? Here’s what nutrition pros buy there”

New Year’s Day: time for some (lean) beef

New Year’s Day 2015! Wow, who would have imagined I’d be here to see this day after having angioplasty back in 2012. I’m a bit beside myself with the wonder of it all. But that aside, let’s continue with our 12 days of Christmas low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar menu offerings with some beef today.

Yes beef, but the leanest beef you can find. That’s 96% lean ground beef in my case. I get it at the Jewel supermarket chain here in Chicago, see if you can find it in your market as well.

A lean burger, along with peppers and asparagus.
A lean burger, along with peppers and asparagus.

Patties made from this type of beef are extremely lean. Have them on some salt-free bread with some low-salt, low-sugar ketchup and you’re all ready for a day of football and friends!

Happy 2015 everyone, let’s hope the world find some peace this year for all the troubles of recent times.

Ever try an elk burger? Is elk lean?

My quest to find lean meat options brought me to the Twin Cities one recent weekend and a restaurant my daughter-in-law and son recommended that serves something called a Game Burger.

The Game Burger at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul is a mixture of bison and elk, two red meats known to be leaner than most beef cuts. I had eaten deer sausage at the Berghof in Chicago years ago and not liked the taste or smell. Elk and red deer are the same species and what restaurants sell as elk is often farm raised red deer, I later discovered. But I was willing to try a blend, hoping it would satisfy my taste for a juicy burger on a Saturday night.

MY Game Burger. Tasty and, hopefully, leaner than beef.
MY Game Burger. Tasty and, hopefully, leaner than beef.
Continue reading “Ever try an elk burger? Is elk lean?”

How Lean Can Lean Beef Be?

My trio of nutritionist don’t agree on eating beef on my restricted diet. The first told me straight out to eat vegetarian, which I do not want to do. The other two were more understanding and suggested limiting beef intake to six ounces a week and finding the leanest beef possible.

For me, six ounces is one serving, even though for nutritionists, it’s two. So I’ve bought some six-ounce fillets as a weekly treat.

But I also love hamburgers and wanted a way to continue eating those. Hamburgers you eat out can range from 75 percent to 80 percent lean, which means they’re 25 to 20 percent fat. That’s not doable for me, so I’ve cut out McDonald’s, Wendy’s and White Castle burgers.

A lean burger, along with peppers and asparagus.
A lean burger, along with peppers and asparagus.

At home, I had been buying 90 percent lean ground beef, thinking it was the leanest available. But as I’ve scouted my local stores with the new eyes of someone on a no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar diet, I discovered that one Chicago supermarket, Jewel, sells a leaner ground beef, 96% lean in fact.

It’s the most expensive of course, as healthy items invariably are, but I’m paying the price to keep hamburgers in my life.

I buy packages a bit over a pound to make four burgers and freeze them for future use. My first nutritionist, the nutrition nazi as I call her, said the only type of hamburger bun I can eat is something called an Ezekiel bread bun, available frozen only at Whole Foods in my area. Continue reading “How Lean Can Lean Beef Be?”

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