Friday, June 18, 2004

Fast Food Style Bait and Switch

I like a #3 supersized with a Dr. Pepper as much as the next guy, but I don't much care for the extra fat that kind of eating has left around my midsection. In an effort to drop the spare tire, I've been trying to cut down on burgers, fries, pop, ice cream, etc. That has meant no more trips to McDonald's as nothing there could be mentioned in the same breath as the word "healthy".

To my pleasant surprise, the fast food giant brought out their Market Fresh Salads a few months ago which included a grilled chicken caesar salad, the only kind of salad I can stand to eat. Unlike the Atkins wrap craze at their competitors, McDonald's actually offered a healthy alternative (I don't consider high saturated fat healthy like some in the Atkins crowd). You can find the salad nutritional information here. Granted, the Paul Newman dressing makes it a bit higher in fat, but they have a low fat alternative and you could always toss theirs in favor of low fat Lighthouse dressing.

The real kick was that the salad tasted as good or better than any I've ever had. Adding carrots and grape tomatoes provided a nice alternative to the romaine, chicken, and dressing salads of more expensive restaurants.

Unfortunately, McDonald's hasn't kept up the quality of the salads. Instead of romaine lettuce, the last 3 salads I've eaten have been stuffed with iceberg lettuce. For most people, this is fine, but for a person who prefers romaine and pukes on a bite of iceberg, it's not fine.

It's the traditional bait and switch. I was lured by quality and switched to cheap alternatives. Every so often, I try another one thinking it was just a fluke, but it's not. McD's continues to sell me a majority of iceberg lettuce with every caesar I try. Very disappointing...I'll have to hope that one of the others takes McD's lead but sticks with quality ingredients. So far, I haven't seen a straightforward chicken caesar anywhere else.


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