McDonald’s doesn’t even pretend that its McCafé Frappés are anything but milkshakes.
Good thing, since they’re largely sugar, cream, whole milk, coffee extract, whipped cream, and chocolate and/or caramel drizzle. A medium (16 oz.) is loaded with calories (about 570), saturated fat (15 grams), and added sugar (15 teaspoons). A large (22 oz.) Chocolate Chip McCafé Frappé has 750 calories (along with 20 grams of saturated fat and 20 teaspoons of sugar). That’s more calories than almost any single item on the menu (except the other shakes).
With two-thirds of adults and a third of children either overweight or obese, how smart is it to sell 750-calorie milkshakes laced with caffeine, which keeps people coming back for more?
And don’t bother with the chain’s healthier-sounding Smoothies. They’re overrated drinks that are mostly fruit purée and nutrient-poor apple, grape, and “clarified” pineapple juices, with so little yogurt that a 260-calorie medium has just 3 grams of protein.
McCafé Latte. A plain, unsweetened latte with nonfat milk delivers 12 grams of protein and 40 percent of a day’s calcium for just 130 calories in a medium. But get a Caramel, French Vanilla, or Hazelnut latte with whole milk, and you’re looking at around 330 calories, 6 grams of saturated fat, and 7 teaspoons of added sugar. Yikes.
Ignore most of the menu. Instead, try:
Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. It comes with brown sugar (30 calories—about 3 teaspoons), a splash of light cream (20 calories), apples (10 calories), and a mix of raisins and sweetened dried cranberries (70 calories) already mixed in. You’re looking at 290 calories’ worth of whole grain and fruit and 5 grams of fiber. Pair it with a medium nonfat latte to boost its protein from 5 grams to 17.
Egg White Delight McMuffin. Say hello to the chain’s best breakfast sandwich. Egg whites, extra-lean Canadian bacon, and cheddar on a part-whole-grain English muffin add up to 250 calories, 3 grams of saturated fat, and 18 grams of protein. Downsides: 770 milligrams (half a day’s worth) of sodium and nitrite in the bacon.
Parfait. Berries (20 calories) plus sweetened yogurt (100 cal¬ories) and sweetened granola (30 calories) contribute some 3 teaspoons of added sugar. For 150 calories, you get 4 grams of protein, 10 percent of a day’s calcium, and 15 percent of a day’s vitamin C. You could do a lot worse.
Other relevant links:
• The healthiest beverage options at Starbucks. See: What to Eat: What to Drink at Starbucks
• The best breakfast and drink options at Panera. See: What to Eat and Drink at Panera
• Try one of these breakfasts at Starbucks. See: What to Eat at Starbucks