McDonalds is a popular fast-food restaurant that may seem like an unlikely place for vegan food, but it surprisingly offers some options for people who have decided to cut meat out of their diet. Whether you’re looking for something quick or you just happen to be at the Golden Arches when your stomach starts rumbling, there are a few vegan choices here. Let’s take a look at what they offer.
Before we start, I want to make it clear that if you don’t go to McDonald’s, I’m not suggesting you start. There are plenty of issues to consider when choosing to eat there, such as animal welfare and fair treatment of workers, among others. Last year, the Humane Society released a Food Industry Scorecard, which examined work toward reducing animal suffering in supply chains. McDonald’s earned a failing grade. A quick search online also gives an idea of some of the problems with treatment of workers, such as lack of supplies and protection during the pandemic.
What is a vegan diet and how does it work
A vegan lifestyle is becoming more popular. This may be due to the rise in documentaries about the meat and dairy industry, or it could simply be that people are realizing how easy it can be to go vegan and still enjoy an amazing variety of foods.
The vegan diet does not contain any animal products–this includes meat, eggs and dairy. Foods that don’t come to mind as easily such as honey may also be excluded from the vegan diet. Since vegans do not have the animal-based protein serving on the plate, they need to replace these foods with plant-based options such as soy, other beans, or nuts.
The vegan diet can certainly be complete nutritionally. A few things to keep in mind would be sufficient iron and vitamin B12 in the diet, as well as enough protein and calories. Contrary to what some might think, being vegan doesn’t mean just eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. If this is the case, the diet will definitely not be balanced and complete with all nutrients the body needs.
Why would someone want to go vegan
It’s an ethical and environmental choice to live a vegan lifestyle, and there are several reasons someone might go vegan.
First, being vegan can be beneficial to health. Some people choose this way of life because they want to improve their health or lose weight more easily. A vegan diet can be healthy for people with certain health conditions, and may help to lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure, for example. The vegan diet is rich in fiber, which is important for digestive and heart health, among many other functions. A vegan diet may help manage diabetes because it may help lower blood sugar levels and regulate insulin production.
Others go vegan due to concerns for animal welfare and the desire not to cause harm.
Being vegan may also benefit the planet, as we know that emphasizing plant-based foods in the diet is important in combating climate change.
The benefits of going vegan
Vegan food can not only be healthy but also delicious. There are many ways to enjoy food without using animals or their byproducts, such as cooking with vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains and nuts. I recently visited a vegan restaurant and had some super delicious plant-based meatballs, in addition to a dish made with a cashew-based sauce.
Of course, one can still maintain good health without being vegan! I support people with all types of diets and include non-vegan foods in my own diet. I advocate for the principles of variety, moderation, balance, and adequacy in the diet no matter how your diet is characterized.
How to start your transition into a vegan lifestyle
One important thing to do in starting your transition is to know what options are out there when you are out and about, and this post will help you with that. You might be surprised to know just how many vegan options you can find at different establishments.
You may want to consider working with a registered dietitian as well on your journey–these professionals can help you plan your diet to make sure you’re getting everything you need. It’s not as hard as it may seem! If you currently eat and enjoy animal-based foods but have decided to go vegan, there are a few things to consider. One thing that you need to think about is what animal-source foods you enjoy the most. You can then find alternatives for those foods so when you are craving them they can still be within reach. You should also take a look at what aspects of your diet would need extra attention, such as calcium or iron. Then, just try one change each week – this way if something doesn’t work out for you, it won’t set back progress too much!
List of McDonald’s vegan options
McDonald’s has a variety of vegetarian options that are vegan. There are vegetarian burgers, fries, and apple slices as well! Read on to learn what McDonald’s vegan options include.
Vegetable Deluxe Burger
You can order this menu item if you don’t want any meat in your burger. Note, however, that the sauce is not vegan, as it contains egg, so you will need to make sure to skip that if you are eating completely vegan. The patty is vegetable based. The burger is not too bad on calories, at 380 (which includes the sauce that should be omitted for vegans), and it also has some fiber, protein, and unsaturated fat.
These are vegan and certified by the Vegetarian Society. Ingredients appear to be the same as the patty on the vegetable deluxe.
The Spicy Veggie One
This is made up of the veggie dippers above plus a tortilla and some vegetables. It’s pretty similar nutrition-wise to the vegetable deluxe burger.
As these don’t contain any animal products, they are considered vegan. This allows us to touch on an important point–just because a food is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy! Fries can be part of the diet, but it’s not something I would recommend eating daily. You’ll get about 330 calories from these, as well as some protein, fat and carbohydrates.
However, be aware that in some cases, the fries may not be vegan. The fries on this menu are made with natural beef flavor, which contains milk. So, you’ll need to be sure to check the ingredients list carefully.
Melon Fruit Bag
This is 100% melon, and thus is pretty low in calories and contains fiber, vitamins and minerals.
The only ingredient here is carrots, so, like the melon, these are pretty low in calories and a source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
This is all veggies and makes a great addition to a meal. Like the other veggies, this is low in calories and provides fiber, vitamins and minerals. Adding balsamic vinaigrette to the salad would be a great way to spice it up.
You might find some other vegan options outside the US. Some plant-based burgers have been sold for years now at McDonald’s in Europe. And finally, you might also find other options on the menu like apple slices for dessert in some locations. Some sauces contain animal products, so make sure to ask before you order your food if you’re unsure.
Vegan options at McDonald’s vary by location, but there should always be something for everyone to enjoy. There are more options on their website, or you can always call customer service at 800-244-6227 to talk to an agent about your dietary needs.
Vegan sandwich and other options at other fast food restaurants
Whatever your reason for considering a plant-based diet, you might find yourself looking for options beyond McDonald’s when you’re out with friends or family. McDonald’s may be the go-to place for a quick, cheap meal, but if you are looking beyond this fast food chain, then here are just a few places where vegans (and vegetarians) can get something delicious without compromising their diet! I hope this helps those who are looking for some new ideas! If you’re looking beyond McDonald’s for vegan options, here are a few.
Del Taco Beyond Guacamole Taco
This is made with Beyond Meat® crumbles, as well as some veggies. Looking at the nutrition facts, it does contain 5g saturated fat and quite a bit of sodium. You’ll get some protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals out of this taco, though.
Subway Veggie Delite
This sandwich appears to only be made up of bread and vegetables. Upon closer examination of the ingredients in the hearty multigrain bread, it appears that this is indeed suitable for vegans.
You can put together your burrito with vegan ingredients: flour tortilla, sofritas, beans, rice, and vegetables. This is a pretty complete meal, with protein, fiber, heart-healthy fat, and vitamins and minerals.
Other vegan restaurant options
As another restaurant option to consider, The Veggie Grill was founded some years ago and has grown to many locations across the US. Their mission is simply “delicious food, without compromise.” They offer salads, burgers, sandwiches and more all made with fresh ingredients. This restaurant also offers plant-based milks like almond milk or soy milk for their coffee drinks at no extra cost!
Native Foods Café is another popular vegan option with many locations across the country. They offer an array of dishes from a buddha bowl to burgers and fries as well.
Have questions? Comments? I would love to hear what you think below!
Happy eating 🙂
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