Wednesday, January 12, 2011
McDonald's Fruit & Maple Oatmeal
I can't remember the last time I ate at McDonald's before this morning. Even when I'm in the throes of a road trip, stricken by hunger pains, stomach growling like a beast, I always manage to find an alternative. I think my aversion to McDonald's comes from the stigma attached to its food. My vision may not be entirely accurate, but the scene I picture goes a little something like this- a highway rest stop crowded with overweight, sweatpants clad families stuffing Big Macs and containers of supersized fries in their mouths.
Earlier this month, just in time for those seeking a healthier New Year's breakfast repertoire, McDonald's unveiled a new menu item- "Fruit & Maple Oatmeal", available all day for $2.19 (already upped from its debut price of $1.99). An oatmeal lover, my McDonald's ban was temporarily lifted as a result of crafty advertising for this new product- tantalizing commercials showcasing creamy oatmeal and plump, glistening fruit with catchy jingles echoing in the background ("ba da ba ba ba, I'm lovin' it"- yes, maybe I can love it too...), and a promise that each "tasty bowl has two servings of whole grains, about a half cup of fruit, and is rich in Vitamin C."
With a cup of McDonald's Fruit & Maple Oatmeal before me (not surprisingly, very different than the oatmeal I remember from the commercial), I was brought back from the dreamy world of television advertising by two issues- (1)the oatmeal isn't really that healthy (made with cream and boasting 32 grams of sugar), (2)nor is it particularly tasty (I wouldn't say it's not tasty, but it's no better than a package of store bought instant oatmeal). When compared to McDonald's other menu items, sure, it is hands down gold star material (whole grains, apples, and dried fruit with only 290 calories, plus the option to leave out brown sugar further reducing caloric intake), but standing alone, it has its flaws; a gummy texture (each cup is made to order- so it's a crapshoot as to whether you'll get too much, just enough, or too little water), an overly sweet flavor with an odd aftertaste, lukewarm temperature (the cup cautions- do not microwave), and clumps of artificial maple flavoring stuck to the bottom of the cup. While it may not be my oatmeal of choice, I commend McDonald's efforts and hope that fast food loving rest stop folk will swap their Big Macs in favor of Fruit & Maple Oatmeal.
McDonald's Fruit & Maple Oatmeal- $2.19
Oatmeal topped with diced apples (red and green), raisins (golden and brown), and cranberries