Happy Meals NEWS

McDonalds – Why I’m Still Not Happy With Happy Meals

  • Happy Meals

    McDonalds is in the news once again, this time for winning the approval of First Lady Michelle Obama with the company’s decision to include both fruit and French fries in children’s Happy Meals.

    Apparently the serving of fried potatoes will be reduced by nearly half, and depending on where you live and the time of the year, fruit such as apples, pineapple, raisins or even mandarin orange slices will now be included. This is all slated to take full effect by April of next year.

    The most successful food chain has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years for its marketing and inclusion of toys with kid’s meals. In fact San Francisco banned Happy Meals and made a huge statement by introducing a law that bars restaurants from offering free toys with meals. And others have taken notice; Santa Clara County in California passed a similar law also forbidding toy giveaways in unhealthy meals clearly geared towards children, and New York City is considering following suit. But the Golden Arches disagrees and says there’s no plan to remove the toys as they’re part of the company’s history.

    The question is – will McDonald’s action have an impact and reduce obesity, as Mrs. Obama believes?

    I don’t know many children that will eat the fruit and the French fries. I fear a lot of fruit will just be thrown away and I’ve seen similar scenarios first hand in my children’s schools. In my opinion – if you want to feed your kids healthy food, then stay out of McDonalds. After all, they are the original and undisputed king of junk food. I mean seriously, is cutting the portion of fries in half and adding a bit of fruit really that significant? What about the processed chicken nuggets? Some Happy Meals, whether burgers or nuggets, still clock in around 500 calories and have about 20 grams of fat. Certainly a few pieces of fruit can’t negate those stats.

    So much attention is focused on the French fries, that we forget about the processed white bread bun, low grade “meat”, fatty cheese, and does anyone know what’s actually inside a chicken nugget? To me this is just a marketing attempt by McDonalds to make it appear as though they’re making improvements. On the company website they even say, “You might be surprised at how seriously we take your child’s nutritional needs”. Seriously?

    Take a look at this article on the ABC website  which discusses how Happy Meals fall short of the nutritional needs of 12 year olds. Well guess what? In my opinion McDonalds meals fall short of everyone’s nutritional needs! Young, old, skinny or overweight – no one needs McDonalds. If you want a reminder, check out my Fast Food Fix on the chain for more of my thoughts…

    Sure adding fruit to a Happy Meal may sound like a great step forward, but I disagree. What would be great were if NO fries were included in the meals and only fruit or vegetables accompanied a real burger or some type of whole food. While fruit is healthy, the kids actually have to eat it in place of the fatty fries to see a marked changed in health. What would be truly remarkable is if a Happy Meal was created, without soda and high fat. Now those would be the meals I’d put a toy in! How’s that for an idea? Reward children that choose healthy food with a toy. Yeah, I know, I just don’t see that happening.

    What amazes me is that I feel the government is missing the point. We don’t need McDonalds to change our obesity epidemic – we need education! In the same way anti smoking ads show people dying of cancer, or biopsies of a smoker’s lung, let’s show our children what happens to the human body when garbage fuel is put into it.

    It’s ironic to me – in high school I was required to learn a second language in order to graduate. In elementary school I had to learn to sew, bake food, and participate in wood shop. Yet health education in our schools falls far short. What we need is a completely new education system for kids, which starts in kindergarten and continues through high school. I’m sorry, but I believe learning about the body and nutrition is far more important than speaking Spanish.

    But what do you think? Is this a genuine improvement by McDonalds, or a smart marketing ploy? Will it make any difference? Start weighing in everyone…

  • 8 comments on “McDonalds – Why I’m Still Not Happy With Happy Meals

    1. If we show people what happens when they eat unworthy food they take it personal instead of informational they don’t mind if we tell them ciggs are bad or recite paper have toxins but we tell them what a French fry does then we are calling them fat lol but its deeper then that I agree from depression to diabetes

    2. No, it won’t do anything in the long run…at best, it’s a band-aid over the real situation.

      Thing is, as much as I think McDonalds is complete garbage and I wouldn’t even feed my best friend’s kid with that food, I don’t vilify them like the media does. I believe they get attacked simply because they’re the biggest / most visible. Because even if they did completely revamp their menu, you still have a million of other fast food places like Burger King and Wendy’s still selling high caloric and unhealthy foods in children’s meals, maybe even worse than McD’s Happy Meals.

      And I can’t blame the kids either, it was like Jamie Oliver pointed out on his Food Revolution show, what kid ISN’T going to choose fries and pizza over healthier alternatives?

      In the end, I agree it’s education, but it needs to go further; not just the kids, but it’s up to parents to set the example. They need to put the foot down and refuse to stop at fast food places no matter how the kids may whine, and the earlier they start kids on healthier eating, the more easier it will be to deal with it as such children will be non/less dependent on such places and much less likely to throw a fuss.

      As for McDonalds and other fast food places, you can’t blame them for selling what their customers want. Only when customers decide that they deserve better for themselves and drive fast food profits down is when these places will truly be forced to change it’s menu with the times.

    3. This new venture by McDonalds is a pathetic attempt to show an interest in the health of the children. It’s nothing but a marketing ploy. I actually laughed when I read about this because it seems like a drop in the ocean. It’s not going to make a difference to the big picture. The food at McDonalds is garbage in my opinion. It’s processed, deep fried and unhealthy to anyone who eats it. In fact, I so despise the food at McDonalds that I actually bought this tshirt from the company Threadless. I proudly wear it and it gets noticed. http://www.threadless.com/product/2372/Not_So_Happy
      What do you think of it Angry Trainer?:):)

    4. I have to ask; does anybody REALLY THINK taking the toys out of Happy Meals is going to STOP kids from eating the food? Unless I’m mistake, it’s the PARENTS who make the call on what to eat. It doesn’t really address the issue.

      And while i think more, healthier options are great, it’s not going to work if the kids are not encouraged to eat it and if parents (yes, that word again) don’t set an example. Otherwise, such an addition is useless.

    5. The difference I see between McDonalds and Michelle Obama is that though both are fat and disgusting, I will occasionally allow McDonalds in my house. McDonalds offers me a choice (though it be a bad one); Michelle is trying to take away my choices and control my life. I don’t have to go to McDonalds, but McObama is making her whimsical fantasies into law.

      If McObama is serious about obesity, she need to crusade against television and video games, which would force kids to actively play and use their own imaginations — two things severely lacking in today’s young people. She won’t do this though, since mindless drones are easier to control.

      My own kids are only allowed to watch TV on Friday and Saturday and I refuse to have a game console in my house. And they don’t like McDonalds.

    6. It is up to the parents what their child eats. I remember when I was a kid, McDonald’s was a TREAT and I’d be lucky if I was allowed to eat there once every couple of weeks to a month. And that was ONLY after my swimming lessons, which was about an hour and a half to two hours of non-stop activity. I used to think my parents were a little crazy at the time, but it definitely helped me as I got older to make better choices.

    7. You call that a BURGER?? Ever notice how McDonalds burgers are all bun and practically not meat?? The entire Happy Meal is practically all processed sugar and carbs! No thank you…I’ll buy my kid an apple at the grocery store.

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