Pre kids, I spent years avoiding McDonald's, only eating there when I absolutely had to because I couldn’t stand the food and the poor choice for vegetarians. So as a vegetarian, my heart always fills with dread whenever I hear a certain phrase uttered by my daughter from the back of the car …Mummy….. please can we go to Old McDonald's?
Wherever we are, in whatever town/city/country, my eldest has this amazing ability to notice the golden arches shining out like a beacon enticing her in. She has even developed the ability to sense when we are within a half a mile proximity to McDonalds……hmm… Mummy, we’re near Sainsburys and the big hill…..that means we’re near McDonald's …..“Mummy, please can we go to Old McDonald's? Why she calls it “Old McDonalds” is beyond me. I associate it with Old McDonald had a farm, farms breed cows and pigs, McDonald's cook cows and pigs!
I find it so astounding that the branding of the iconic golden arches is so strong that a four year old who rarely goes to McDonald's can recognise them.
Now I will readily admit that the profile of McDonald's has dramatically increased over the last few years in this country. They have worked hard to make their food more environmentally friendly and sustainable and have also worked on their image. Gone is the yellow and red plastic - the inside of our local MacDonald's now resembles a coffee house with wooden interiors, comfy sofas and seats. The free Internet access is enticing and it’s also a great place to take the kids for a treat. However, McDonald’s vegetarian meal choices still leave a substantial amount to be desired
In most McDonald’s restaurants, the only vegetarian burger choice is the Spicy Veggie wrap which to me tastes like eating a curry burger – not my cup of tea. The spicy veggie deluxe does not taste much better. Side salads are never available when I order them and so I typically end up with fries and a drink or fries, onion rings and a drink – not too healthy.
I would love for McDonald's to explore some healthier vegetarian options – a cheese salad, a Soya based burger or bean burger, perhaps a Quorn chicken based wrap or even a simple Cheese Quesadilla - the possibilities are endless. If McDonald's can provide so many options for meat eaters, why are there no decent vegetarian options? I will admit they do have quite a few sides to choice from – onion rings, mozzarella dippers etc, but they always taste very fatty and I am never clear about what kind of fats these are cooked in and whether they are actually vegetarian – some clearer labelling would be much appreciated McDonald's!
To their credit, McDonald's have improved their kids choices - using quality meat and fish, introducing fruit bags and carrot sticks, offering bottled water in a happy meal. Luckily for the kids, they are always excited by a trip to McDonald's and their happy meal so I have to grin and bear whatever I am eating to keep them happy.
McDonald's is always great when we are in a hurry and I need to get the kids fed, I just wish that one day I could get a decent, tasty meal to enjoy too. If their vegetarian options were improved, I probably wouldn’t feel under duress to eat there and my heart wouldn’t sink every time my daughter pleads for a trip to Old McDonald's!