What You Need to Know About the Food Kids Love at McDonald’s

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Kids LOVE McDonald’s.

food kids love at mcdonalds

I recently talked to about 200 kids in my area, ranging in age from 5 to 13 about their favorite foods at McDonald’s.  Turns out that despite a lot of choice on the McDonald’s menu, kids have pretty similar tastes.  In fact, of all the kids I asked, the nuggets and the cheeseburger were the overwhelming favorites. They were nearly tied, but the McNuggets inched out the cheeseburger by just a few votes.


Most parents are trying to do their best to feed their children good, quality food.  So that begs the question: Are McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets and the McDonald’s Cheeseburger safe for kids to eat?

Let’s start with the Chicken McNuggets. These were the overwhelming favorite in my informal survey and are often the topic of some controversy.  The “pink slime” controversy.

pink slime
According to McDonald’s corporate website the image above is in connection with a MYTH about McDonald’s. This image did not come from any of their stores or factories. McDonald’s does NOT use “pink slime” in any of their food products?

So what IS in the McDonald’s Chicken McNugget?

The McNugget is made with all white meat cut from the tenderloin, breast and rib of the chicken. A small amount of chicken skin is also added in to add flavor and juiciness and help the Chicken McNugget hold its shape.  Once the nuggets are formed they are lightly coated in a tempura batter, partially fried and then flash frozen.  Just before being served to you in the restaurant they will be fully fried and served hot.

TRIVIA QUESTION:  The McDonald’s Chicken McNugget has four distinct shapes each with its own name.  Can you name the four shapes? (Keep reading for the answer.)

Still not sure how Chicken McNuggets are really made?  That’s understandable because there is a lot of false information floating around out there.  Did you know that the Tyson plant in Nashville, Arkansas has one client? McDonald’s! In fact, they produce most of the country’s Chicken McNuggets. Check out this video below.  Grant Imahara takes you inside Tyson Foods where you will see real McDonald’s Chicken McNuggests being made.

The 4 and 6-piece McNuggets are the most popular amongst kids.  Here are the nutrition facts for both.  Keep in mind that adding dipping sauce will add calories!

4-Piece McNuggets

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6-Piece McNuggets

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The cheeseburger was the second highest favorite menu item among the children I surveyed.  It wasn’t far behind the McNuggets!

Sadly, the “pink slime” myth continues with the cheeseburger, but it is just that. A myth!  McDonald’s patties are 100% pure beef.  No fillers, extenders or “pink slime” is used.  Familiar cuts of beef like chuck, round and sirloin are ground and then formed into the all-beef patties.  This video shows the production of McDonald’s beef patties.

All of the beef used in McDonald’s all-beef patties is USDA inspected and meets or exceeds all USDA standards.  McDonald’s goes through a lot of beef and their suppliers suppliers buy from ranchers located throughout the U.S. including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.  Recently, due to shortages of beef in the U.S. McDonald’s has imported some beef from New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.  McDonald’s is one of the largest purchasers of U.S. beef.

TRIVIA QUESTION: What seasonings does McDonalds use in their 100% beef patties? (Keep reading for the answer.)

What about nutrition? The McDonald’s Cheeseburger – including the cheese and all of the toppings is less than 300 calories!


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So, as it turns out, you can let your kids enjoy McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets and Cheeseburgers as an occasional treat and you don’t have to feel bad about it.

Just look at these smiling faces!

Thanks to my friends Courtney and Heather for letting me use their children as models!


So did you figure out the answers to our two trivia questions yet?

Question: The McDonald’s Chicken McNugget has four distinct shapes each with its own name.  Can you name the four shapes?
Answer: The name of the four Chicken McNugget shapes are the bell, boot, ball and bone! I never knew that! Did you?

Question: What seasonings does McDonalds use in their 100% beef patties?
Answer: This is sort of a trick question.  McDonald’s patties are 100% all beef with no added seasonings or fillers.  McDonald’s does season the patties with salt and pepper during the cooking process.  You can request that your all-beef patty be cooked without the seasoning sprinkled on.

Check back at the end of August when we look at the history of the Happy Meal!


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