Making the Grade: McAlister’s Deli



«Your sugar is elevated and so are your triglycerides. Everything else is stable,” the nurse from Dr. Wood’s office told me over the phone.

I was shocked for two reasons. First, my triglycerides were in the high range. Also, my labs were done in a flash; I had my blood work done less than 24 hours before I received the results.

Again, my husband Mike and I LOVE living in Lee County for many reasons. A big one: the wonderful health care providers and amazing hospital we have here. Thank You, Lord!

My elevated triglycerides were a cause for alarm for this “Pooh-sized” diabetic. After all, diabetics are much more likely to have cancer, heart attacks, strokes, COVID-19 and probably every other known and unknown disease in the world. I certainly don’t need any help going down the path of poor health.

Since learning this disturbing news, I have been trying to make better lifestyle choices. In other words: eat less fatty foods, which I love and exercise more, which I don’t love.

I’m in my third week of getting up by 7:30 a.m. or earlier on Monday through Friday and walking a mile in my neighborhood. I truly hope I’m not losing my mind. If anyone had told me I’d be doing this as a retired teacher, I’d have said they were crazy.

However, three weeks ago, I woke up at 5:06 a.m. and COULD NOT go back to sleep. I finally gave up trying, put on walking attire and headed out the door to walk at 6:15 a.m.

Believe me, I’m even more shocked than you are. As I’ve previously stated, I am NOT a morning person.

When I stepped outside, I couldn’t believe it: There was NO humidity! Also the air was cool, with an early hint of fall, which is my favorite season by far. Fall is wonderful because it has Auburn football, cooler weather and beautifully colored leaves. What’s not to love?

Besides the blessedly cooler temperatures, it’s been fun speaking to my neighbors. Also, I am feeling better and have more energy throughout the day. Last, seeing two cheese wagons (“school buses” in teacher speak) pull out of our neighborhood makes me smile. Although I miss my kids, I don’t miss the grading or stress. Retirement is really starting to rock.

I’m also trying to eat healthier so that my triglycerides can return to normal. I am drinking diabetic smoothies at least twice a week at breakfast. Also, I am eating more grilled chicken and salads.

For example, I have really been enjoying a tasty new salad at McAlister’s Deli at 1651 E. University Drive in Auburn. In fact, I have devoured this salad three times in less than two weeks.

Recently, Mike and I went to McAlister’s for supper. We often frequent this restaurant. I ordered the new Chicken Avocado BLT salad with Avocado Ranch dressing. It was amazing. Also, the whole salad and dressing had ONLY 370 calories. I even drank WATER instead of a diet drink, as my doctors and dentist want me to do. I know; I’m as surprised as you are.

Mike ordered a half a Club Sandwich and a cup of Chicken Tortilla Soup, which had a delicious kick. Mike said, “I’d easily do it again.” And he has.

I’m afraid I did backslide a little, however. I reasoned that since my luscious salad was ONLY a mere 370 calories, it would be all right to order the new Cinnabon Mini Cookie Sandwich. Oh, my, two times; a definite do over, one day.

Besides my delicious salad, McAlister’s Deli also offers a variety of others, some of which include: the Savannah Chopped Salad, Grilled Chicken Salad, Harvest Chicken Salad and a Chef Salad.

In addition, McAlister’s has many mouthwatering sandwiches. Some include: McAlister’s Club, Ham & Cheese Melt, Grilled Chicken, French Dip, the Four Cheese Melt and Harvest Chicken Salad.

If you’re in the mood for a baked potato with tasty fillings, don’t miss McAlister’s Giant Spuds; they are fabulous. Choose from: Justaspud, Spud Max, Black Angus Roast Beef Spud, Chipotle Chicken & Bacon or the Veggie Spud. I promise, you won’t be hungry when you’re finished.

Also, McAlister’s offers savory soups such as: the previously mentioned Chicken Tortilla, Broccoli and Cheddar, Country Potato, Chili and Veggie Chili. If you have trouble deciding on just one item, try the Choose 2, as Mike did. Diners may choose two items from the following: half sandwich, half salad, half spud, cup of soup or a half shareable, which includes a nacho basket or Ultimate Nachos.

McAlister’s Deli is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Believe me, you will be glad you stopped by.

McAlister’s Deli makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!

Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in the Observer. Stacey may be reached at


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