I love well-prepared food – even as a child I was never eager to eat at any fast food “dining” establishments. So it is with some surprise that my friends greet my frequent pleas to go to McDonalds. I can’t tell you the last time I ate a full meal at this American institution, but in the last month I have had dessert there more than once a week. Even before going gluten-free, McDonald’s Ice Cream held a special place in my heart.
I remember going to McDonald’s with my Mom and brother whenever the coin tray in the car was full enough to purchase three cones. I traveled throughout Spain with friends after graduating from college – rather than spend $4 on imitation gelato (I was a little bit of a snob about real Italian gelato) I would spend less than 50 cents on a refreshing vanilla treat. Now that I’m in NY, as friends and coworkers would stop at the ubiquitous Mr. Softee trucks, I would try to convince them of the error of their ways, as equally easy to find were the golden arches with a more tasty and less expensive cone and sundae offering.
Once I started living gluten-free, I was pleased to discover that I didn’t have to give up McDonald’s Ice Cream. While I’m not advocating basing one’s entire diet on McDonald’s food, the Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream is surprisingly low in calories – 150 per serving. I usually order a “plain sundae with peanuts” since I can no longer have the cone. I don’t usually want the double calories that come with the decadent hot fudge or caramel sauce, though they are occasionally worth the splurge.
Even when dining at restaurants with gluten-free dessert options, I frequently ask my friends to indulge me with a trip to McDonald’s. My cousin Lisa looked at me as though I were crazy when I first suggested MickeyD’s last summer. After much cajoling, she eventually agreed. I paid the $1.50 for her sundae since she was such a good sport (at some McDonald’s the sundae is on the $1 menu – so you can look out for those extra savings). She was not disappointed. Later that summer, she informed me I should ask for the sundae without the top – that way she usually got extra ice cream. I was proud as the teacher had become the student.
After reviewing Pinkberry and TastiD, McDonald’s frozen dessert comes out on top for taste and price. While the McDonald’s version does have 3.5g of fat, the overall calorie count is still low. And best of all, you can find this gluten-free goodie almost anywhere in the world.
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