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May, 2011

The McDonald's Amy Salad - I Mean, ASIAN Salad Is Back!
This is my actual salad! I ate it all too!

Almost every restaurant that serves salads, both quick serve and sit-down, has some sort of Asian or “Oriental” salad. To tell you the truth, I always feel a little silly ordering them – it feels like it’s the only salad I’m allowed to order since I’m Asian. Ha! Some are good and some are bad. Most have the adorable little Mandarin oranges in them. Little oranges just scream “Asian” don’t they? But they’re out there and since I travel for a living, I’ve eaten a lot of them.

In 2003, McDonald’s added a line of Premium Salads to their menu and in 2006 it debuted the Asian Salad. It was my favorite fast food salad and a great healthier alternative to the greasy menu items for when I’m on the road and don’t have time for anything else.

Much to the dismay of its loyal fans, the Asian Salad was was taken off the McDonald’s menu. I just thought it was the crazy ginger side of Ronald McDonald, teasing me. But today I learned it was because of the weather changes in Asia. The main supply of soybeans was compromised and it wasn’t cost effective for them to keep selling the salad. A few years later, the US has amped up it’s soybean production and we have a reliable large-scale supply of soybeans again. The Asian Salad is back for a limited time (wahhh) and McDonald’s is now the largest buyer of soybeans in the world. Nuts, huh? Well, beans actually, but interesting.

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

Today, I was able to sit down with a group of friends and Renee Taylor from Hot 92.3 (cool… we talked potty training!) and experience the re-introduced Asian Salad as well as the new McCafe Frozen Strawberry Lemonade. Both were hits and here are some of the details:

– The greens of the Asian Salad are a mix of up to 16 different varieties of lettuce and the chicken is white meat chicken breast. Other Asian Salad ingredients are pea pods, red bell pepper, edamame, carrots, almonds and Mandarin oranges.
– You can modify the Asian Salad in a variety of ways to suit your taste and dietary desires: choose grilled or crispy chicken, almonds slivers come in a separate packet, Newman’s Own Low-Fat Sesame Ginger dressing is also on the side. Overall, you’re looking at approximately 270-300 calories for the grilled chicken version and just over 400 calories for the crispy chicken.
– The McCafe Frozen Strawberry Lemonade contains NO corn syrup! It is made from real fruit (strawberries and lemons) and ice with added sugar. It really was good and perfect for summer!

The downside of this salad, in my opinion, is the high sodium content but that is the price one pays for fast food consumption. This is a healthier option and nothing in any fast food restaurant is meant to be eaten every day. But you’re smart readers, you get it. 

With HOT 92’s Renee Taylor and McDonald’s Nutritionist, Monica

If you’re on the go or you need a quick, family friendly place to grab something, drop into McDonald’s – there are healthier choices out there! I’m not a huge advocate of fast food consumption and my own daughter has had very few fast food meals in her own life, but fast food is a big part of our culture and it’s not going away. It’s our responsibility to teach healthy habits to our kids and in today’s fast-paced society, I say moderation is often the key. Choose wisely young grasshoppers!

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