Dr. Cindy Goody, Director of Nutrition for McDonald's USA

Dr. Cindy Goody, Director of Nutrition for McDonald's USA

Meet Dr. Cindy Goody, Director of Nutrition for McDonald’s USA. As a registered and licensed dietitian, Cindy works with her team of nutritional science experts to collect and analyze information on nutrition, ingredients and allergens, and then shares that information with customers.
Anita Jones-Mueller: How long have you been with McDonald’s? What drew you to this industry and to McDonald’s?

Dr. Goody: I’ve been with McDonald’s since 2008. Nutrition is the science of how our bodies use food to contribute to health, and as a registered dietitian, I have an opportunity to translate that science so consumers can use it to improve their health and well-being.

As McDonald’s Director of Nutrition I have the opportunity to share this knowledge with the more than 26 million customers that visit our 14,000 U.S. restaurants every day.

Anita Jones-Mueller: What is McDonald’s nutrition philosophy? 

Dr. Goody: As a registered dietitian, I advise people that food is fuel for our bodies. At McDonald’s, we share in the belief that all foods can be enjoyed in moderation:
  • Balance: eat from every food group
  • Variety: choose different foods within each food group; no single food can give us all the nutrition that our bodies need
  • Moderation: there are no “good” or “bad” foods – moderate the variety of foods you consume and eat proper portion sizes
All foods can fit into a well-balanced lifestyle and McDonald’s menu variety and ingredient information help our customers make informed food and beverage decisions.

Anita Jones-Mueller: Some restaurants use the word “healthy;” others have chosen to go a different route. What works for you?

Dr. Goody:
It’s not about classifying foods as “healthy” or “unhealthy.” It’s about understanding balance and moderation. It’s true: McDonald’s is best known for our burgers and fries. However, we are also proud of the variety our menu provides and balanced, wholesome choices we offer our guests.

It’s all about integrating balance and moderation into your diet. For example, at McDonald’s, customers can pair the Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait with your morning Egg McMuffin® or the Apple Dippers to go along with your Hamburger. Customers can also customize their orders with McDonald’s Made for You®cooking system to meet their nutritional needs and taste preferences. Our flexible menu and wide variety of portion sizes make it easy for our guests to create a range of meal combinations that fall within recommended guidelines for calories, fat and other nutrients. We make all of our nutrition facts, including allergen information, easily available. In fact, we offer simple steps on how to cut calories or trim fat on our Web site. Customers can also log onto
HealthyDiningFinder.com and find dietitian-approved menu items suggestions there!

Anita Jones-Mueller: How does McDonald’s support and promote nutrition to its customers?

Dr. Goody: McDonald’s has provided nutrition about our quality food for more than 35 years. Today, there are eight ways customers can easily access McDonald's nutrition information: on McDonalds.com, via our toll-free telephone number (1-800-244-6227), on select product packaging, on the backs of trayliners, in-restaurant nutrition brochures, via voice-activated information through our toll-free number, via mobile devices and now on HealthyDiningFinder.com.

In addition, McDonald’s is proud of our long heritage of transparent communication with our customers. McDonald’s is a charter member of the Council of Better Business Bureau’s Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, and we continue to play a leadership role in the development of standards that govern our advertising. It is something that we take very seriously.

Anita Jones-Mueller: How has McDonald’s approach to nutrition changed over the years?

Dr. Goody: Our customers have always been at the core of our business, and have proudly evolved our menu based upon our customers’ evolving nutritional and taste preferences.  We take it as our responsibility as a leader in the food industry to ensure we’re providing our guests balanced menu offerings and facts about our menu.

In 2004, McDonald’s USA unveiled an unprecedented, comprehensive balanced, active lifestyles platform to help improve the nation’s overall physical well-being. By the end of 2004, McDonald’s had surpassed the fast food Industry as the largest seller of salads, selling more than 300 million Premium Salads in the United States.

In that same year we also introduced Happy Meal® Choices, offering then new choices like Apple Dippers, 1% low-fat white and chocolate Milk Jugs, and no-sugar-added apple juice. Since the introduction, McDonald’s sells more than 72 million Apple Dippers annually and more than 180 million Milk Jugs per year.

McDonald’s is a culture driven by the spirit of continuous improvement and innovation – and listening to our customers. Our approach to nutrition is no exception.

Anita Jones-Mueller: Do you think the public views McDonald’s as an option for health-conscious guests? 

Dr. Goody:
One thing our customers share with us over and over is that their expectations of McDonald’s are higher than ever as their lifestyles are changing. Our goal is to provide our customers with even more selection, greater value, greater taste and greater convenience.

They’re telling us more and more that they’re looking for quality menu items to eat on-the-go. Customers now want the opportunity to order fresh, higher quality proteins, fruits and vegetables during meals eaten away from home. And we’re proud to deliver!

Our Premium Salads have proven to be popular with our customers. With about three servings of vegetables in each entrĂ©e-sized salad, our Premium Salads provide many important vitamins and nutrients.   It’s an easy and convenient way to increase fresh veggie consumption. Our Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait is also a delicious option that combines creamy low-fat yogurt along with blueberries and strawberries – it is a good source of calcium and vitamin C. These items are just a sampling of the variety of items on our menu.

Anita Jones-Mueller: What advice would you give to other restaurants seeking to offer more balanced options to diners?

Dr. Goody: Each restaurant is different and has its own unique abilities. At McDonald’s, we’ve found that we can satisfy our customers by offering a wide variety of menu items, allowing for customization of their meals and making nutrition information easily accessible to help with their meal planning.

It’s also important to stay connected to our customers and identify ways to evolve. We continue to revisit our menu for opportunities to improve as well as develop new menu innovations – including Smoothies, extensions on our Snack Wrap line and our newest breakfast offering, Oatmeal, coming early next year.