Consider the Source: Could McDonald's Be Good For Your Kids?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

McDonald's has launched a new kind of ad campaign, this time targeting moms . The idea is to promote some of the more positive aspects of foods like French fries and Egg McMuffins. Skeptical? I know I was……

McDonald's has recruited mothers to go behind the scenes of the company's operations, meet senior executives and then communicate what they see via the Web, along with appearing in video of their travels. It's called the Quality Correspondents Program, with the idea that if the company can show that they serve quality food and offer healthy options, more moms will be likely to opt for these foods for their families.

The company is trying to be very open with their food practices. For example, they took some volunteers to a slaughterhouse to demonstrate that their chickens are treated humanely, and that their chicken nuggets are made from real chicken. If they can prove that food safety and quality are a top priority, the thinking is that McDonald's can overcome the image that it's generally unhealthy to eat their food. They are also trying to highlight some of the hidden nutritional benefits of their foods. For example, one discussion touts the benefits of French fries. Although they are cooked in grease, potatoes are a good source of fiber and potassium. Are you convinced?

McDonald's is featuring the moms with diaries and video on its Web site. The idea is that if these moms (who want the best for their families, just like you) are convinced that this is quality food, maybe you'll change your mind, too.

Some of their other demonstrations include showing that salads are prepared fresh with bagged lettuce, Egg McMuffins are made with real eggs (although their scrambled eggs are made with liquid eggs) and a tour of the bun bakery where food safety standards are a number one priority.

I think this program is an interesting idea and a good way to help McDonald's improve their image. I'm sure some people will be convinced to rethink their negative attitude towards McDonald's. Personally, it doesn't change much for me. When choosing healthy foods for my family, I'll still take a baked sweet potato over French fries and grilled chicken over chicken nuggets any day.

What do you think?

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  • 122
    I really have a problem with telling kids or ourselves that eating fast food is a treat. Food as a reward is already a bad message to send, let alone unhealthy food as a reward. I refuse to view food as the way to get through a bad day or as a reward for an accomplishment - that's how I got to 200+ lbs. If I'm eating out, I'm going to make the healthiest possible food choices... a calorie splurge is still something good for me, or as good as I can find. Rewarding myself no longer involves food, ever! - 12/2/2008   1:58:39 PM
  • 121
    I do not think one can maintain a healthy diet by eating at McDonald's every day. But personally, I worry more about the cleanliness of the workers and of their food handling and preparation than I do the lack of nutrition in the food! Some of the people they employ are just downright nasty looking around here (due to poor management) I am 52, and a visit to McDonald's was a real treat for me as a child, considering the nearest one was over 60 miles away from home and we visited only a few times a year. Now they're on every corner, trying to make their junk food out to be healthy. Most cheap food is not healthy, and our kids are growing up fatter as a result. - 12/2/2008   1:53:56 PM
    I think McDonald's image is worse than other fast food places b/c of the experiment that a man did a few years ago (I don't recall the name right now). But, none is too much better than another. As many have said, moderation is the key and trying to control portion sizes. Besides, the customer service in almost all of them (Chick-Fil-A being the only exception here) has gotten terrible.

    Are you aware that if you ordered a burger, fries, and drink in the 70s you would get what is a kids' meal now? When and why did we get so greedy? - 12/2/2008   11:19:21 AM
  • 119
    It is very hard to change people's minds about fast food-you either are for it or against the concept. Personally I find it expensive to feed my family this way, and not as healthy as any option I can make at home. Maybe it will change some minds, they have a bottom dollar they would like to make as with any business. - 12/2/2008   8:59:10 AM
  • 118
    I agree moderation is the key,like any food or drink - 12/2/2008   8:17:25 AM
  • 117
    It's freshly prepared foods all the way for me!! I remember when MacDonalds first came to the UK. I didn't find the meals satisfying without eating a huge amount then, and I still don't find them satisfying!! I will never be a fan! - 12/2/2008   8:16:02 AM
  • 116
    Nothing beats home cooked healthy meals. :D - 12/2/2008   3:24:54 AM
  • 115
    We moved to a town that doesn't even have a McDonalds but before they were on every corner. Every time I would buy a happy meal, I would throw 2/3 of it away. All my kids want are the fries and the toy... they could care less about the drink and the "main" item.
    On occasion, we will have a SMALL french fry or a yogurt cone but that's about it. I would still not consider a meal at McDonalds to be healthy or a good choice.... we are much better off when I prepare fresh meals at home. - 12/1/2008   4:58:28 PM
  • 114
    I grew up in the 80's so McDonalds was a big part of our lives hence my need to lose so much weight. As an adult with a child I have made the choice to not use McDonalds or any fast food joint to feed her. We go to McD's 2 or 3 times a year to eat, she knows it is a last resort not a treat. They have made some good menu changes but they still have a long way to go. Ad campaign or no ad campaign the food is still unhealthy. - 12/1/2008   3:14:46 PM
  • 113
    The quality of the ORIGINAL ingredients of McDonald's food was never the real issue! Of course potatoes and chicken and veggies are good for us! The issue was how the ingredients were put together and prepared. Deep fried, sugar and sodium filled, chemically laden PREPARED menu items that we actually eat and feed our children are the problem, something that McDonald's has yet to address and correct. McDonald's doesn't have our interests at heart. They have their bank account at heart and when you look at the nutrition facts from the food they serve this is obvious. If someone wants to eat McDonald's or feed it to their children that is their choice, but don't be fooled into thinking you are making a healthy decision. I personally haven't been to McDonald's in years that I can remember. This certainly does not convince me to start eating it again. - 12/1/2008   2:02:32 PM
    I worked for McDonalds for years. They have good ideas but they still cannot control what goes on in their restaurants. I was mortified and disgusted by
    what I witnessed in these stores and it didn't matter what state I worked in.
    I told all my friends to never, ever eat there. The CEO cannot always be there watching quality control. For example, the stores called each other to let each store know when the regional manager was coming; same with health dept.
    - 12/1/2008   1:39:28 PM
    Deep frying anything renders it unhealthy. Wendy's at least sells baked potatoes that can be healthy depending on how you dress them.

    The problem really isn't quality. I'm willing to believe that McDonald's sells high quality food. I don't have any reason to believe their beef, cheese, chicken, and fish are sub-par quality. The problem is serving size, most things being fried, white bread, lack of enough healthy choices etc.

    No mater how high the quality of ingredients deep fried food is full of fat and calories. - 12/1/2008   1:14:09 PM
  • 110
    I think it's a start. As much as some people will talk down about McDonald's, they are one of a few global giants at least trying. The hope is in the future McDonald's will change their menus all together.

    I think the real issue is for some of us lower income people when it comes to eating on the go, McDonalds and other places like them are what we can afford. We all know it is better to just eat at home, but what to do when you are out all day due to circumstances and you eat all your snacks. You still need to eat dinner. There isn't a subway in every neighborhood. Just like out here there isn't a 7/11 in all neighborhoods. There is a chicken spot and a McDonald's and that is the reality. So if all you got is a McDonald's and a Burger King, I would go to the one who is working at improving their menu.

    Just my 2 cents!! Enjoy the rest of your day. - 12/1/2008   12:46:42 PM
  • 109
    Trying to convince moms that fries are a good thing to eat probably won't fly. I don't think it's a good idea on McD's part, either, after being sued for "making people fat"!

    I do appreciate the effort McDonald's has made towards including some healthy options. I've often gone through the drive-thru and gotten a Happy Meal with Apple Dippers and milk for myself when I needed a quick meal. Another tactic my spouse and I use is to split the 10-piece McNuggets and have a Fruit and Walnut snack each.

    I like the fact that they are adding healthier foods for people who are actively avoiding the burgers and fries. I stopped eating their beef after getting a hive explosion from a Big Mac (my favorite - sob). I figure it was due to the antibiotics they give the animals. - 12/1/2008   9:52:54 AM
  • 108
    it's getting healthier, but still a treat for my son - not an every day type of place to visit. - 12/1/2008   8:51:19 AM
  • 107
    Yeah...Can you say "Supersize Me"? Perhaps this is their answer to all the negative press they have gotten from that documentary. Genetically engineering chickens to lay way more eggs than they would normally doesn't seem healthy or humane to me (oh, and I forget, are they free-range?) . Thank goodness my child doesn't like McDonald's. Although, I do agree that all things in moderation is a fine way to live. When I was young, going to a restaurant was a rare treat, not a way of life. - 12/1/2008   7:44:29 AM
  • 106
    I agree with you. McDonald's or any fast food still isn't a healthy choice. - 11/30/2008   10:33:24 PM
  • 105
    I second (or 105th) the motion...everything in moderation! :D I don't know, I classify fast food in one category...whether from McDonalds or Taco Time. Just a couple of years ago one of the Elders in my religion said that there are always good choices we have the opportunity to make. He then said that there are also better and best choices. This statement can be applied to anything in life. The opposite can also be applied. Bad, worse, worst. Lets just make some good decisions, whether you like McDonalds or not. Happy SparkPeopling! :D - 11/30/2008   9:10:48 PM
    My brother used to work at a slaughter house and the sickest, most pathetic cows were slated to go to ... McDonalds I may have the fish sandwich a few times a year, but my granddaughter will NEVER grow up thinking this place is a TREAT! She loves frozen peas as a treat and I'm thrilled! - 11/30/2008   8:30:56 PM
  • 103
    Several decades ago I worked at a McDonald's as a grill cook and trainer. At that time I recall being surprised that many of McDonald's menu items were healthier than I'd previously thought. For example, their soft-serve ice cream was made with 2% milk. I agree, though, that french fried potatoes are difficult to see as healthy food, as are the breaded fried chicken nuggets. I do occasionally get their grilled chicken snack wrap, though. And some of their salads aren't too bad. I think it's very important, if you do go to a fast-food place, to consider the entire menu and look for items that have less grease. And remember that you can order with extra tomato and no mayo, for example. - 11/30/2008   7:34:56 PM
  • 102
    McDonald's is getting healthier - 11/30/2008   7:27:16 PM
  • 101
    I realize that ALL fast-food, including McDonald's has a negative image...but we have to ask ourselves, "are there valid reasons for the negative image?" I would have to say, "Yes." I am in my 20s and my parents took me to McDonald's growing up, and as an adult i eat there a couple times a year. I don't think that it is really any worse/better than the other out-to-eat restaurants; however, there is one physical difference that i notice when i eat at McDonald's. I love their cheeseburgers. Simple, but true. I don't eat there for one specific reason. The past several times (over the course of a year+), I have noticed that the next two or so days after consuming one of their meat products, that I have severe abdominal cramping (like hot-wheels race cars in my colon). I have wondered why this particular restaurant makes me feel this way, and it scares me to think of the answers.

    One other thing...if those moms that go to the slaughterhouses and think that they perform like that day in and day out, then they are dumb to buy that. Wouldn't you think that McDonald's or any other business that tries this sort of tactic wouldn't try and "clean" things up a bit? Just some food for thought. - 11/30/2008   6:58:49 PM
  • 100
    BEWARE, all those parents who refuse to take their kids to fast food restaurants. Their kids may well grow up saying they were never allowed to eat there and they will become regular customers.
    I agree with those who say moderation in all things. An occasional trip to McD's won't kill anyone. - 11/30/2008   4:47:34 PM
  • 99
    McDonald's isn't going to change peoples minds with this advertisement. People who eat healthy will still limit their intake of all fast foods and those who don't care will still gorge themselves on Big Macs & fries. - 11/30/2008   3:26:54 PM
  • 98
    Kids love McDonalds and it doesn't need the marketing. They are already convinced. I am not a fast food fan but when I had my first child many years ago 33 to be exact. Her first word was McDonalds I believe she had all her birthday parties there and she ate there almost everyday. I was a single mother pretty young and all my friends with cars went there almost daily. When she was just under 2 she had her tonsils and adenoids out and she was not well when I left her in the wee hours of the morning we couldn't even get her to take popsicles. The hospital said she probably would have to stay in an extra day. When I got there in the morning she was fine. On the way home she wanted McDonalds the doctor said let her eat whatever she wants she will know if she can't eat it. So she had McDonalds. Now she still eats way more fast food than she should and she has been having weight problems her whole life even as a child. It was not McDonalds fault it was my fault for not making good choices but back in the 70's there was not the information there is now. I am a very healthy eater I very seldom eat at fast food and when I do it is Wendy's not that it is any better but I like the lettuce and tomato on the junior hamburger deluxe. I still take my grandchildren to McDonalds but it is a treat not a daily outing. Sometimes we just go for the ice cream and so they can play in playland on nasty days and they only get a burger no fries. If when they get a little older and want the fries it will be also a treat occasionally. Teri. - 11/30/2008   1:38:16 PM
  • 97
    I subscribe to Aristotle's "moderation in all things" doctrine, but I feel that some things are outright wrong -- at least for me. One of those things is anything edible from a fast food chain. It has less to do with diet and more to do with morals. I feel that fast food chains damage the earth and provide no useful function whatsoever. So, when I see advertisement campaigns like this from McDonald's, it only reinforces my belief that everything they say acts as a ploy to drain us of our money so they can continue with their business of slaughter and destruction. - 11/30/2008   11:53:35 AM
  • 96
    Just like any other fast food restaurant, McDonald's does have healthy choices for those people who care to make them. Their Egg McMuffin and yogurt parfait are great breakfast choices. I will OCCASIONALLY indulge in a cheeseburger. It is small enough that it constitutes portion control and moderation. If I eat fries (only very occasionally), it would be a SMALL order - again, portion control and moderation. I truly believe in the word moderation. I also agree that McDonald's is no different from other fast food places. We all have choices. - 11/30/2008   11:34:32 AM
  • 95
    I don't understand why we're bashing McDonald's when there are several other fast food chains that are just as bad or worse. It's fast food - it's not the best option for eating healthy - but, there are ways to make it healthier than straight off the menu and treating yourself (or your kids) once in a while isn't horrible either.

    The point is that they're trying to let us know that in the world of fast food, they're trying to make it the best they can and I appreciate that. It does give me a better impression that if my kids just don't want Subway if we're taking them out, that McDonald's isn't as bad as we all make them out to be.

    It's up to us to make the best choices for us from what's offered on the menu. I think they deserve some praise for trying to be better. - 11/30/2008   11:27:30 AM
  • 94
    I'm not convinced. Even if everything is made with "real" food, the way it is cooked spoils everything. And the salt issue makes it a no no for everyone. - 11/30/2008   10:49:52 AM
    It might be just another ad campaign but I appreciate knowing some of the stuff, especially about the chicken.

    It's awfully hard to avoid eating there when both you and your husband work and the 6 year old has soccer practice. By the time you get home, who wants to cook? - 11/30/2008   10:41:46 AM
  • 92
    Once in a while it's okay to have a treat at McDonald's just not every day, it's not good to be so militant that you will only eat organic "healthy" food. - 11/30/2008   9:34:10 AM
  • 91
    I'm glad to have McDonald's as an option on the road. I can surely pick a healthy choice from their menu and I DON"T WEAR BLINDERS. I am a registered dietitian and know how to make informed choices. There are a lot of people out there that come across as "holier than thou" when it comes to food and are so severely closed-minded, that they can't see something useful unless it comes with granola. My favorite item? The ice cream cones, made with low fat milk and containing 150 calories. A perfect snack. - 11/30/2008   9:07:43 AM
  • 90
    no ad campaign is going to change the nutritional content of the food they offer. Only people who are looking to blinders to put on will be affected by such a marketing technique. I won't say I don't like McDonalds. I didnt get to my top weight of almost 300 lb by eating me. But through learning to eat healthy I have discovered I prefer grilled turkey burgers over a regular burger any day! They taste better...depending on which recipe you use...and they are lighter not so heavy in your stomach. The one thing I will never get over though - is the McD's breakfast. About once every two weeks I adapt into my meal planning a McD's breakfast, they are my weak point. And seeing how this is a lifestyle change...I need to make room for the things I know I won't give up...and moderate how often and how much of them I eat.

    So yeah, all in all this kind of advertising is pretty low! - 11/30/2008   8:53:48 AM
  • 89
    I'm not convinced. I ate there today and I still feel weird almost 12 hours later. Combine that a 540 calorie milkshake and the guilt alone will have me not eating there again. - 11/30/2008   1:10:00 AM
  • 88
    It's just a big marketing scam! I can't eat anything there but maybe a salad...everything else makes me sick to my stomach. I have fibromyalgia so eating healthy for me actually helps the daily pain. Eating McDonalds makes me feel like I have the flu. All that fat and salt and grease get the picture. It's making my stomach hurt just thinking about it. - 11/30/2008   1:01:00 AM
    I think that they are full of it!!!!!! It is all a competition between them all---McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Arby's. Taco Bell, Mr. Hero, Dunkin Donuts. It is all crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You can give me a healthy salad anyday over any of this stuff that they are talking about any day.

    When I was a teenager, I used to work at McDonald's. The grease for the fries was just digusting. If my son wants to go there again, my husband better take him without me in the car because I will yell about it.

    This is not healthy eating at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 11/29/2008   11:09:09 PM
  • 86
    My kids (aged 5 and 21/2) have never eaten at McDonalds (or other fast food restaurants) and we have no plans on taking them. My problem isn't giving them the occasional hamburger or fries, though we haven't had occasion to require it so far. My problem with McDonalds is that they market/advertise to children - far more than any other fast food restaurant. I think this is a cheap tactic to hook kids on their food. We eat better quality food at home - sometimes I make my own baked french fries which my kids love. We pack snacks from home and so we don't have to stop for fast food. - 11/29/2008   9:46:12 PM
  • 85
    i worked for mcdonalds at one point. the eggs are made from real eggs, but oh man do they load it whith their liquid butter. since i have made the choice to change my eatting, i don't eat it, but sometimes i do let the kids have some "junk" food and that is usually what they choose - 11/29/2008   9:40:24 PM
  • 84
    It will be interesting to see how this campaign plays out for McDonald's. - 11/29/2008   8:00:27 PM
  • 83
    Just because the french fries are made from top quality potatoes does NOT make them health food! The key to a healthy lifestayle is moderation. My 11 year old son asked me if I was ever going to eat McDonald's again and my answer was yes. Just not every day or even every week. Once in a while is okay as long as it is truly once in a while! - 11/29/2008   7:49:50 PM
  • 82
    I think it's a load of crap. - 11/29/2008   7:04:41 PM
  • 81
    This makes me sick. Okay, every mother wants the best for their kids, so how did they find these women to "convince"? I fear they're preaching to the choir. Your title says it all - consider the source...then smile, say "no thank you!" and walk away. Momoko (#34) - you hit the nail on the head. I would love to see a fast food company change their entire menu, not just offer a few items to try and placate those who demand real food. Until then, sorry, we're not buying your trash. - 11/29/2008   6:45:10 PM
  • 80
    how stupid do they really think people are? i could go to my kitchen and take the same ingredients and make either a really healthy meal or one that is toxic to my body. it isn't the ingredients it is the cooking methods.

    - 11/29/2008   5:33:14 PM
  • LORI2008
    McDonald's is garbage food. Period. End of story. There's nothing they can do to convince me otherwise. ONE cup of their salad is over 300 calories and that doesn't include the dressing. I can make a THREE cup salad and include low fat cheese and a hard boiled egg for less calories than that and actually be full when I'm done. Oh, and did you noticed that their salads aren't a single cup? So that salad is really, what? 900 calories or more? Do you homework, people. Advertising is 100% bull crap that distorts the facts. - 11/29/2008   4:48:00 PM
    Amazing! Sorry but fast food is JUNK! Even the healthier options have too much sodium not enough fiber etc. and are processed. And I agree with the poster mentioning Subway. Subway is still junk food too! Some of it might be lower in fat or calories but it is still not nutricious. And I'm sorry but how much of a chicken nugget has "real" chicken in it? Have you eaten one lately? Rediculous ad campain and it is sad that it might work. And obviously the Mothers are being paid for this! They are actors, not "real people"!

    Mc Donald's gets dumped on the most because it is the biggest fast food chain out there with the most restaurants in the whole wide world. They spend more on PR and commercials, and Ad campains like this one than any other fast food restaurant. They started the happy meals, toys,cartoon characters and play areas to lure kids in.
    I also think that Mc Donald's doesn't even have the best tasting food compared to other restaurants. Having said all this, I do enjoy fast food occasionally. And I don't pick the "healthier" options either. But I go somewhere else as I don't think McDonalds' food is very good.
    - 11/29/2008   4:44:40 PM
  • 77
    Oh my! lol 1st off I am not one to say that McDonalds is healthy...which is what I believe they are trying to portray. I am on the side of everything in moderation. We don't head out to go to Mcd's (or any other fast food place for that matter). We usually go when we are out taking care of business and its either eat something in town or wait that hour to get home and then fix something. I could make it but it would be cruel to the kids. While it may not be 100% healthy the other options (grilled chicken sandwiches w/ no or limited toppings, salads, baked potatos) it sure beats the pants off the hamburgers and chicken nuggets. I sit here and say "eww no McDonalds is not healthy and I would never eat there" but I think that anyone that sits there and says their kitchen is 100% healthy 100% of the time is not very honest! - 11/29/2008   4:11:59 PM
    I cannot believe some of the posts I've read. I'm shocked. Can their truly be this much ignorance? Well yes, I suppose so, since people are still eating this garbage.
    Is a potato bad? No. But it is when it's cooked in grease.
    Is chicken bad? technically no, but when it's altered with chemicals and fried and preserved, etc. then yes.
    is a hamburger bad? again, technically no, but when it's, again, altered with chemicals and process and cooked in grease and then there's the condiments and the processed white bun and let's not forget the amount of sodium and more than not people will scarf it all down with a nice healthy chemical sugary drink and um, yeah, common sense folks.
    - 11/29/2008   3:35:04 PM
  • 75
    We don't eat out that often because it gets expensive. I know the food isn't that healthy either. Our oldest son wasn't allowed to eat fast food til he was almost 2. Now if we're out it is just easier to get him something. We usually share our fries with him because he doesn't eat many of them and get him a 5 piece tender off the dollar menu. He has tasted soda but we don't let him get it as a drink. Thankfully he doesn't seem to like it that much. Unfortunately our younger son will probably eat whatever he can get his hands on. I was "bad" the other day and gave him small bits of fries and chicken nuggets. I had forgotten to pack an extra snack in case he was still hungry. Guess it wouldn't have been too bad except he isn't quite one yet. We usually eat at Burger King but it is all just as bad. I tried their new chicken wraps a few weeks ago. When I went on-line to look up the nutrition to log it they didn't even list them! Does that mean they are really bad for you?? Haven't had one since mostly because they weren't all the great tasting. So yes we will continue to eat out, but I know it is all about moderation and I hope to teach that to my boys. - 11/29/2008   3:00:29 PM
  • 74
    I don't eat there barley once a month and I think If you use common sense there's no reason you should have to compltely cut anything from your diet, its called moderation, and choosing the healthier options, my son is underweight for his age, no matter what he eats he doesn't gain alot of weight, so every now and then I take him and his brother for a small fires(no salt) and a cheeseburger to split, treat myself to a 90 calorie sugar free no flavor added iced coffee, its all about making the healthier choices. - 11/29/2008   2:43:35 PM
  • 73
    I feel that you're going to eat at McDonald's regardless of what they do if you've been going there all along. It's nice to know that they're giving people an inside look, but I'm not sure if it'll make a difference in how many people will eat there. I go once in a while, but even after reading this, it won't make me go more or less. - 11/29/2008   2:23:45 PM

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