McDonalds has been a part of American culture since 1940, and to this day, it has over 40,000 outlets worldwide, which are visited every day by food lovers looking for affordable yet tasty snacks and combo meals. For vegans, however, McDonalds has not been accessible until recent years, when more vegan options have emerged to keep up with competitors. However, choosing vegan items at Mc Donalds is not as simple as you might think, and there are a few things that may surprise you.
When leading a vegan lifestyle, it is essential to understand where your food comes from. If you are a strict vegan, you may need to dig a little deeper to discover the hidden truth behind some items, especially McDonald's vegan options, which may seem too good to be true. With that being said, we have some good news for you regarding choosing meals at Mc Donalds that align with your core beliefs, so keep reading as we unveil the good, bad and ugly of vegan Mc Donalds choices.
The Story of Mc Donalds, then and now
Mc Donalds is an American fast-food chain that needs no introduction since its iconic golden arches can be instantly recognized worldwide; however, a lot has changed over the years since it first popped up in San Bernardino, California, 82 years ago. What started as a modern-style fast food restaurant quickly became a franchise and is the world's largest restaurant chain by revenue. However, given that they were predominantly known for their hamburgers, fries, cheeseburgers and milkshakes, it has not always been a vegan-friendly place to dine. Hence, as we mentioned earlier – a lot has changed over the years.
Yes, Mc Donalds may be known to have the quickest yet unhealthiest fast food on the market. Still, today it is not uncommon to find more healthy options on the menu, such as fresh fruit, salads, wraps and, of course, a variety of vegan options, which we will discuss further. It is evident that Mc Donalds is doing its utmost to stay current. With veganism on the rise, it was inevitable that they would quickly add a range of McDonald's vegan options to their already expansive menu. However, it is not all that simple, so if you are vegan and are curious about the truth behind McDonald's vegan food items, you NEED to read this.
Let's take a look at the good news when it comes to McDonald's vegan options.
Mc Donalds Vegan Options – The Good News
In the past, leading a vegan lifestyle proved to be expensive at times and sometimes inflexible, but ever since the early 20th Century, when the vegan diet became more and more popular, it was no surprise to see several vegan cafes, eateries, food stands and even fast-food chains opening up – which you could say was a real game changer. This considerable change meant that being vegan was accessible for everyone, and you did not need to shop at specialized stores or skip out on dinner with friends; this change resulted in inclusivity, which changed many people's social situations.
With many chains such as Burger King, Taco Bell, Chipotle and Dunkin Donuts offering vegan menu items, Mc Donalds, too, includes a variety of vegan-friendly snacks on their menu. With that in mind, here is a list of McDonald's vegan options, however, there is more to know about eating vegan at Mc Donalds, especially in the United States, and that is what we will get to in just a moment.
Firstly, let's start positively by introducing some of the best vegan options at Mc Donalds USA.
Mc Donalds Vegan Options in the USA
- Fruit & Maple Oatmeal
- Side Salad
- Classic Apple Pie
- Mc Donalds Brewed Coffee
- Brewed Tea & Unsweetened Iced Tea
If you are vegan and are planning to eat at Mc Donalds in the USA, these are some of the best options you can order. While it may not be an extensive list, the good news is that other branches of Mc Donalds, especially in the UK and various European countries include a variety of certified vegan options, which we are hopeful will appear on US menus in the near future. So, to give you an idea of what Mc Donalds have unveiled for vegans worldwide, look at these delicious delights.
Mc Donalds Vegan Options Around the world
- Mc Plant Burger – This vegan-certified burger is available in the UK and contains all vegan ingredients.
- Mc Vegan – This scrumptious Mc Donalds vegan option is available in Sweden and contains all vegan ingredients and sauces.
- Veggie Dippers – These delicious dippers contain a variety of vegetables and make for a healthy on-the-go snack. They are fully vegan certified by the Vegetarian Society in the UK.
- French Fries – Unlike the fries served in Mc Donalds in the USA, these fries contain no milk and are vegan-friendly in the UK.
- Mc Donalds Germany Vegan Options – The Mc Donalds vegan options in Germany are endless. They include vegan Mc Flurrys, Vegan Burgers, Curly Fries, Salads, Smoothies, French Fries, Hot Apple Pie and more. All of which you can see here.
- Mc Donalds Vegan Options in Ireland – Here, you will find a host of vegan options such as the veggie wrap, the Mc Plant, vegan fries, veggie dippers and healthy snacks.
- Mc Donalds Vegan Options in Finland – The Mc Donalds vegan options available in Finland include a Rye McVegan Burger, the Classic McWrap and a classic Vegan Burger.
The Bad & The Ugly – The truth unveiled
There are many options on the menu at Mc Donalds USA, which may appear vegan, and perhaps some of these items you have ordered in the past, in the hopes that they contained nothing fishy, yet looks can be very deceiving. Unless you look deeper at the allergens and nutritional information, you may assume that ordering some fries or a hashbrown is safe for vegans. Yet, some ugly truths exist behind these popular items, which appear to be animal products. Have you ever noticed why Mc Donalds in the US never claims that any of their food is vegan or even vegetarian, for that matter?
Well, let us delve into the hidden truth.
You may think that all Mc Donalds offer the same food options, but these can vary worldwide, as you can see, and you will undoubtedly find more vegan options on other Mc Donalds menus compared to the USA. Mc Donalds has stated that they do not promote any of their US food items as vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free, which is a statement that doesn't give hope to vegans living in the USA. However, it is not just the USA; you will also notice that many other branches lack vegan-friendly options on their menus, especially in Canada, Australia and even Singapore, to name a few. It seems as though a limited number of branches offer such a wide range of certified vegan food items, with the best being in the UK, Germany, Finland and Sweden.
If you are wondering about foods that appear to be vegan friendly but aren't, then look at these non-vegan friendly options at Mc Donalds.
- French Fries – While Burger King and other chain restaurants offer vegan fries, it is worth noting that the fries in Mc Donalds are not vegan; in fact, they state here on their website that they contain wheat and milk derivatives.
- Hash Browns – These popular breakfast options may seem like a good choice for vegans, but not only are they fried in animal fat and contain milk, which it states right here.
- Hot Beverages – You might think that many of the Mc Donalds drinks are vegan-friendly when they all contain milk or cream. However, as mentioned earlier, you can be sure that their freshly brewed coffee is entirely vegan.
- Hot cakes – These pancakes are made with eggs and milk and are not vegan-friendly.
- Blueberry Muffin – Contains egg, wheat and milk.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie – Contains egg and milk.
- Smoothies – Yes, this is one of the few vegan-friendly options in Mc Donalds, which tends to confuse people, but the smoothies contain milk.
As we reach the end, it is time to reflect on what we have learned about McDonald's vegan items or lack thereof. While certain branches worldwide offer a great variety of vegan foods, Mc Donalds USA is a few steps behind. Is this because the traditional American cuisine is based around hearty hamburgers, greasy fries and thick shakes, or is it because Mc Donalds America has not yet caught up with its European counterparts?
Perhaps, this is something that will change over time, or maybe next time you feel like indulging in a vegan-certified Mc Donalds option, you need to ask yourself, 'Would I like a flight with that?' since the only option would be to travel across the globe for this indulgence. Regardless, we are hopeful that the Mc Donalds vegan menu in the USA and other areas of the world will evolve in a sustainable, healthy and vegan-friendly way.