On May 11, McDonald's will debut the newest offering of its line of health-conscious menu options: The Go Active Adult Happy Meal. Along with bottled water and your choice of a "premium salad," this happy meal also offers fun toys for grown-ups: a Stepometer -- clip it to your belt and track the steps you take each day -- and a fitness booklet titled "Step With It."
This is just the most recent entry into the growing field of fast-food "health food," spurred by popular taste and fads like the low-carb Atkins and South Beach diets. But it also follows lots of bad press, including lawsuits from customers claiming that fast food causes obesity to the health woes of Morgan Spurlock, the director of the upcoming documentary "Super Size Me," whose on-camera McDonald's consumption led to disastrous results and may or may not have caused McDonald's to discontinue its super-size portions. McDonald's, though, isn't alone in taking this healthier road: Last October, KFC announced it would allow customers to order fried chicken without skin or breading, and in February, Burger King started serving Whoppers without the bun, for carb-conscious customers.
Salon has assembled a survey of some of these healthy meals, along with a comparison to some of our very own lunchtime faves (Mmmm, fluffernutter...). They're displayed on the next page in order of total calories -- from least to most -- and we've included carbohydrate, fat and protein information. The order may indeed surprise you. But a caveat: We are not suggesting that candy is in any way a healthful alternative to mass-produced salads covered in high-calorie dressings. Happy eating!
McDonald's Go Active Happy Meal: Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad* (with Newman's Own ranch dressing) and bottled water
420 calories, 25 grams total fat (7 g saturated fat), 9 grams carbohydrates, 31 grams protein. *does not include croutons
KFC: Three pieces Original Recipe Chicken Breast (without skin or breading)
420 calories, 9 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 0 carbohydrates, 87 g protein.
Carl's Jr. Low Carb Six Dollar Burger
490 calories, 37 g total fat (16 g saturated fat), 6 g carbohydrates, 33 g protein.
Two Snickers Bars
560 calories, 28 g total fat (10 g saturated fat), 70 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein.
Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich
560 calories, 28 g total fat (6 g saturated fat), 52 g carbohydrates, 25 g protein.
Three Twinkies and a Chocolate Yoo-hoo
580 calories, 16 total fat (6.5 g saturated fat), 104 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein.
Big Mac and Diet Coke
600 calories, 33 g total fat (11 g saturated fat), 50 g carbohydrates, 25 g protein.
Subway Grilled Chicken & Baby Spinach Salad (with Atkins "Sweet As Honey" mustard dressing)
620 calories, 48 g total fat (13 g saturated fat), 11 g carbohydrates, 39 g protein.
One Fluffernutter (made with Wonder Bread and Jif creamy peanut butter)
623 calories, 35.6 g total fat (6.6 g saturated fat), 57.9 g carbohydrate, 23.2 g protein.
Wendy's Chicken BLT Salad (with croutons and honey-mustard dressing)
700 calories, 47 g total fat (14 g saturated fat), 30 g carbohydrates, 36 g protein.