Fast Food Redemption? McDonald's Execs Launch Health Food Chain

Megan is a sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, she likes writing about food almost as much as eating it.
health_food
Put down the Big Mac. Cukes are calling your name. (williamcho/Creative Commons)

They can't erase years of creating double chins with their famous double arches, but McDonald's CEO Mike Roberts and Chief of Operations Mike Donahue are finally doing national cuisine a favor: they're starting a healthy fast food restaurant chain.

To make it work, the execs are pairing up with entrepreneur Stephen Sidwell and former personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and two-time James Beard Foundation Award winner Art Smith.

The new restaurant—planned to be one of 250 within the next five years—will open in Palo Alto with the name LYFE Kitchen, an acronym for Love Your Food Everyday.

It's no small irony that the men who brought high-fat, high-calorie food to the world in disposable containers through a drive-thru window are now planning to source their ingredients responsibly and locally, when possible, all in eco-friendly packaging. Given McDonald's track record of unabashed world domination, LYFE could very well succeed in making reality out of an idea health advocates have been tossing around since the days of the Big Mac's inception.

According to the Chicago Tribune, "butter, cream and high-fructose corn syrup are banned, and none of the food is fried. Sweet potato fries, for instance, are oven-baked. All of Lyfe's menu items contain less than 600 calories....The desserts are expected to be dairy-free."

LYFE's Facebook page reveals a sneak peek of the menu:

Sweet Corn Chowder: With cashew cream, vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh chives  

Wild Mushroom Flatbread: Goat cheese, aged balsamic and choice of Italian turkey sausage or Gardein Italian sausage

Art’s Unfried Chicken: With all-natural BBQ sauce, roasted kaboucha squash, Brussels sprouts, or substitute Gardein chicken

Tals Ancient Grains Teriyaki Beef Bowl: A blend of steamed brown rice, ancient grains farro and quinoa, topped with teriyaki beef tips and stir-fried vegetables with your choice of beef or Gardein beef

Mmmm...sure beats the Big 'N Tasty. It's about time, too. As Los Angeles Times writer Emily Bronson York puts it, "Americans have never been fatter, nor have the trumpets of moderation ever been sounded so loudly."

Photo: williamcho/Creative Commons via Flickr


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