McDonald's Executive Chef Defends the Healthiness of his Menu

Sheryl Nadler
Team Mom

The man who some have dubbed the most powerful chef in America is trying to get us to eat better and to be more adventurous when choosing healthy foods. Should we be surprised he works at McDonald's?

In an interview with Nations' Restaurant News, McDonald's executive chef Dan Coudreaut, who is responsible for recent game-changing additions to the McDonald's menu including oatmeal, smoothies and snack wraps, says despite public perception, his focus is real, unprocessed food. But trying to convince customers to experiment with new flavours is not always the easiest task.

"Trying to convince folks who've never seen fresh apples on an oatmeal [to eat it was not easy]," he tells NRN. "When it first launched, it was outselling the Egg McMuffin. Now, it's a mainstay on the menu."

Also see: Sleep-deprived brains crave junk food the most: study

But perhaps Coudreaut's views on health should be taken with a grain of salt. In another recent article he tells the Akron Beacon Journal, when asked about the current McDonald's menu, "I don't see anything on the menu that's unhealthy." Really? Not even the Big Mac?

Yet still, Coudreaut cites McDonald's oatmeal as one of his proudest achievements at the restaurant. They tried many variations and flavour combinations, he says, but finally hit the nail on the head with two different types of raisins and visually-appealing skin-on apple.

Plus, the humble apple is nothing to sneeze at. The Chicago Tribune reports that when McDonald's began selling a fruit and walnut salad in 2005, "McDonald's immediately became the No. 1 restaurant seller of fresh apples, using nearly 55 million pounds of apples that year, according to the U.S. Apple Association."

Also see: Fruit and veggies linked to quitting smoking: study

Coudreaut now has his sights set on working spinach and artichoke flavours into the menu. And pulled meat barbecue sandwiches are not off the table, either.

"We've worked on a lot with pulled meats," he tells NRN. "How to add produce, add a nice coleslaw. But when I put [coleslaw] on a sandwich for McDonald's guests, they look at me cross-eyed. I'm not going to give up."

Watch the video below where a former Coca Cola executive admits to targeting kids.