Fast food restaurants are working hard to keep up with the growing number of fast-casual options out there, so they introduce new menu items to attract customers. McDonald's menu has added new cold brew coffee drinks and limited edition donut sticks, as well as making their Quarter Pounder burgers now with fresh beef instead of frozen patties.
How do you know when something on a fast food menu is worth ordering? (How many people actually order the yogurt parfait or ranch snack wrap?) Check to see if the crew that makes the food also eats it (you ever see a Mcdonald's employee on their break eating a sausage McMuffin with egg?). While the discount McDonald's employees get on their meals might encourage them to eat at the restaurant, they don't have to eat everything on the McDonald's menu. There are some items on the McDonald's menu that employees say they never eat and you shouldn't either, and we've got the reasons why.
1. No Fish
According to Business Insider, who spoke to some McDonald's Drive thru employees, the Filet-O-Fish sandwich is definitely a least favorite menu item, especially set beside the Big Mac. Part of it is a matter of taste, but other current and former employees have a problem with the freshness. Several Reddit commenters who said they were either current or former McDonald's employees noted that the fish sandwiches at their restaurants were so rarely ordered that they tend to sit around in a heated cabinet for a long time after being cooked. If you must order one, their advice was to order it "cooked to order."
2. "Healthy" Items on the McDonald's Menu
Some of the so-called healthy options aren't necessarily all that healthy, according to employees. Several employees mentioned the high-calorie count to Business Insider and a quick check of the chain's website backs that up.
Salads might seem like a healthier choice, but as an example, the Bacon Ranch Salad with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken has 490 calories. If that doesn't seem like a lot to you (especially when you're considering it an entire meal), then look at the rest of the nutritional information. It has 28 grams of fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1120 milligrams of sodium (that's almost half the salt you should have in one day). Sorry Crispy Chicken Salad, it almost seems like a quarter pounder with cheese or even ice cream would be a better option.
If you do want a salad with your Big Mac instead of french fries, get a plain side salad.
Other employees on a Reddit thread also noted that some food items like chicken salads aren't ordered much and so they also tend to sit around compared to hot menu items like a double cheeseburger or a baconMcDouble.
McDonald's restaurants also offer grilled chicken sandwiches, but their Artisan Grilled Chicken still isn't really what you might consider "healthy." One employee noted that they used to be grilled in margarine; the chain has since started using clarified butter to grill the chicken. If you want a slightly healthier chicken sandwich, skip the grilled one and go for the McChicken. The crispy chicken sandwich has fewer calories (400 vs 430) and less salt ( 560 vs 1040 mg).
And hopefully it goes without saying that apple slices are far and away the healthier option over the apple pie on the McDonald's menu, even though we'd never tell you to skip the apple pie, because it's great.
3. Sweet Drinks
You know the issues with drinking too much soda (just like you know that Coke tastes better at McDonald's), but sweet tea isn't really any better. A McDonald's medium sweet tea has 29 grams of sugar in it; the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men.
Even worse than the sweet tea is the caramel frappe, where the smallest size still has 420 calories, 18 grams of fat and 55 grams of sugar. A small hot chocolate has 430 calories, 17 grams of fat and 52 grams of sugar; a small mocha has fewer calories (300) and less fat (10 grams), but still 42 grams of sugar. And while the fruit smoothies do come in at a much lower calorie count, they still have 39 grams of sugar. At least when you order a McFlurry or sundae, you're expecting a sugar-filled dessert. If you're going for a coffee drink, get a latte instead.
Other Reddit users say that they never order McCafé coffee drinks because the machines are often not cleaned well. Of course, it varies from location to location, but one employee's point was that the machines are difficult to clean and so they don't receive a lot of attention in many of the fast-food chain's locations.
4. Everyone Else's Favorite Sandwich
We know the McRib is a fan favorite, partly because it's only around for a limited time. Anytime it shows up on the McDonald's menu, people can't wait to dig in. But don't expect your local McDonald's employees to be as excited -- some of them can't stand the appearance of the bbq sandwich, saying: "The way it looks before we put the sauce on it is absolutely revolting. It doesn't look like meat at all, it looks like a scab."
5. Chicken Nuggets
These little nuggets are a staple on the McDonald's menu and especially the happy meal menu. The chicken McNuggets have been all-white-meat since 2003, however, people are still convinced that there's more to these chicken nuggets than what meets the eye. Or should I say meats the eye?
During an AskReddit session user, Dfunkatron shared that when he worked at McDonald's and accidentally left a bag of frozen nuggets on the counter all day. When he checked back later the entire thing was a puddle of liquid. It didn't age gracefully like McDonald's collectibles.
6. McDonald's Breakfast Menu
Okay, we're not saying don't ever order breakfast off the McDonald's menu, because the all day breakfast menu is a good thing. However, if you're keeping an eye out for more nutritious options, avoid these breakfast items. The Big Breakfast with Hotcakes might work if it was your only meal of the day. Clocking in at 1340 calories, this deluxe combo has hotcakes, scrambled eggs, a biscuit, hash browns, a sausage patty and, no joke, lists three kinds of butter as part of the dish. That's 64 grams of fat, 2090 milligrams of sodium and 505 milligrams of cholesterol.
The egg McMuffin isn't that bad, all things considered; it has the same amount of calories and less fat and sodium than the sausage burrito, and few calories along with everything else than the bacon, egg and cheese biscuit (or any of the biscuit or McGriddles sandwiches, for that matter).
This post was originally published on May 30, 2019.