Industry News | April 8, 2010

Healthy Dining Takes On McDonald's

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Healthy Dining recently expanded its program, welcoming McDonald’s to the largest restaurant nutrition initiative. Developed with partial funding from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Healthy Dining includes thousands of dietitian-approved meal choices through its free online resource HealthyDiningFinder.com, and features more than 70,000 U.S. restaurant locations spanning quick-service to upscale dining. Consumers can now find 15 McDonald’s menu items on HealthyDiningFinder.com.

New data from the market research firm, NPD, and others confirm that consumers have been making more healthful choices. Restaurant operators are meeting this growing demand by offering a selection of Healthy Dining options. And the online database HealthyDiningFinder.com makes it easy for consumers to find restaurants that offer these options.

“We are very pleased to have McDonald’s join the Healthy Dining program," says Anita Jones-Mueller, MPH, president of Healthy Dining. "It is exciting to feature so many restaurants of all of types and price ranges on HealthyDiningFinder.com.”

To qualify for the site, a restaurant’s menu item must meet recommended guidelines for calories, fat, and saturated fat. Additionally, the items must include a lean protein, fruit or vegetable, and/or whole grain component.

Consumers can find McDonald’s Healthy Dining menu options, including the Egg McMuffin sandwich paired with a fruit option, the Fruit n’ Yogurt Parfait, the Honey Mustard Snack Wrap, and the Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich, at any of the participating 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants nationwide. Customers can also further customize a meal to meet their nutritional and taste preferences with any of McDonald’s 15 featured menu items.

“We continually strive to meet our customers' needs by providing a variety of high-quality menu choices and easily accessible nutrition information,” says Cynthia Goody, Ph.D., MBA, R.D., and director of nutrition, McDonald’s USA. “We’re pleased to feature a selection of our menu options on HealthyDiningFinder.com, furthering our commitment to helping consumers make informed decisions when they visit McDonald's.”

Healthy Dining has also recently added other restaurant favorites to the program, including: Boston Market, Bahama Breeze, Au Bon Pain, Moe’s Southwest Grill, El Torito, Sandella’s, Friendly’s, and Go Roma, along with many smaller chains and independent restaurants across the nation.

To use HealthyDiningFinder.com:

•On the home page, enter a zip code or city/state (price range is an optional search criteria)

•The search will identify participating restaurants in the specified area – click on a restaurant logo to learn more about that particular restaurant.

•Scroll down for a list of the restaurant’s qualifying menu options and corresponding nutrient information.

Each restaurant’s page offers the ability to sort by calories, fat, sodium, or other nutrients, making it quick and easy for consumers to find the best choices for their nutritional goals.