Are You Happy about the New Happy Meal?

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/1/2011 10:00 AM   :  108 comments   :  15,332 Views

Last summer McDonald's was in the news regarding concerns over toys served with Happy Meals. Earlier this year McDonald's was back in the news with concerns over a new commercial campaign. McDonald's has also recently made renovations to their look and has added foods intended to be healthier such as oatmeal and fruit smoothies.
 
Last week McDonald's hit the news again when the President of McDonald's USA, Jan Fields, introduced plans on Good Morning America for a new Happy Meal. The traditional Happy Meal of a hamburger, fries, and a soda has been tempting or satisfying children (depending on how you look at it) for the past thirty years. Relatively unchanged, the standard meal provides about 570 calories and 20 grams of fat. The new Happy Meal will reduce that total by about 100 calories and 6 grams of fat. Some see the changes as a positive response to concerns over childhood obesity. Others see it as the typical business of marketing.  Perhaps it is a little of both but it certainly can't hurt especially in light of the new Kids Live Well campaign. So is the new meal worth all the hype? Your answer to that may depend on whether you are "glass half-full" or "glass half-empty" type of person.


Glass Half-Full View
  • Adding healthier food options and specialty coffees to their menus allows McDonald's to keep up with growing trends.

  • While the standard meal has been around for a long time so has low-fat milk. Apple slices were added to the list of options starting in 2004.

  • Since McDonald's research found that 88 percent of customers were aware of healthier options, only 11 percent of Happy Meal purchases took advantage of them. Because McDonald's support healthier meals, it makes total sense that they would want to make a change in their standard Happy Meal offering.  

Starting in September and spreading to more than 14,000 McDonald's locations nationwide by early 2012, the new improved Happy Meal will include:
  • A new smaller 1.1-ounce portion, down from the current 2.4 ounces of fries
  •  A bag of apple slices equal to a half serving of fruit. For those that do not wish to have fries at all, two bags of apple slices without fries is also an option and this would equal a complete fruit serving. To help reduce the sugar content of the meal, McDonald's will be phasing out the caramel dipping sauce as well.
  • Patrons can also choose between a hamburger, cheeseburger or Chicken McNuggets as well as fat-free chocolate milk, 1 percent low-fat white milk or soda.
  • In addition to the changes over the coming year, they outlined long-term goals as well. They aim to reduce sodium by 15 percent across all national menu food choices by 2015. By 2020, McDonald's hopes to reduce added sugars, saturated fat, and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations, and innovations.
 
Glass Half-Empty View
  • McDonald's has routinely offered healthier alternatives such as milk or juice instead of soda, sliced apples instead of fries and 100 percent white meat chicken nuggets instead of a hamburger so this change isn't offering anything new.

  • The new meal only saves 100 calories and a measly 6 grams of fat.

  • Dr. Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, feels this is only a tiny step in the right direction. According to her comments to CBS News, what she really wants to see is a default Happy Meal so parents don't have to worry about anything that is in it. Removing soda completely in favor of milk as a default would be a bigger step according to her. However, the Allergy & Asthma Foundation of America reports that milk is one of the most common food allergens in children. Because of this, allowing parents to choose milk for their child instead of assuming it is safe for all children is the safer approach even though it does require parents to be involved decision makers for their child instead of the fast food restaurant.

  • Other critics of the new Happy Meal changes share displeasure with such a small fruit serving size that is only half of a fruit serving. They believe the fries should be left out all together in favor of a complete fruit serving as the standard. That way children are getting what they need and fries would only be served to those parents that ask for them.

  • While McDonald's is reducing their calories by 20 percent, sodium by 15 percent and saturated fat by 20 percent on average, skeptics wonder why McDonald's refused to join 19 other fast food chains several weeks ago with the Kids Live Well campaign. Did they refrain from joining because their happy meal already was less than the recommended 600 calories or because they only wanted to serve half a fruit serving in their standard meal? Regardless of the reason, McDonald's has gone their own way and many feel they could do much more to make their children's meal as healthy as possible.
 
My Bottom Line
Recent concerns over child-focused commercials lose me. When I think back to the previous campaigns, they were intentionally child focused and no one apologized for or questioned it. Why would they target children? Because marketers know that selling a kids meal means you are also sure to sell an adult meal or two as well. McDonald's has surely written the book on fast food marketing, I mean, who my age can't sing the Big Mac song. Has McDonald's Happy Meal contributed to the childhood obesity epidemic over the last thirty years? They most likely have and many other chains have certainly followed right along causing all fast food chains to contribute to the problem.  The way I see it, the problem isn't because of the meal that is offered as much as it is about the frequency in which that meal is enjoyed.
 
Dietitians say that any food can be incorporated into a healthy diet as long as it is in moderation. Enjoying a standard Happy Meal once a month or once a day makes a big difference to the health of the child consuming it. However, the choice for the Happy Meal selection and frequency resides with the parent, grandparent or guardian and not the child. Offering the apples with the fries may get a few more children a fruit with their meal. However, we may also see a huge increase in food waste because kids won't eat away from home what they are not used to eating at home.
 
I agree that offering a standard meal that doesn't include any fried foods, a full serving of a fruit and a serving of milk would be the healthiest meal possible. For those families that routinely include fruit and milk with their meals at home and want to do it when they eat away from home, families can make those choices. However, many families don't regularly include milk with their meals anymore. We have been hearing that many families don't regularly have fresh fruits and vegetables with their meals so it make sense that McDonald's has decided to take it slower approach in transitioning their children's meal. I see the small steps McDonald's is taking as positive. They may help families take small steps to new lifestyle choices when eating at home as well.
 
I hope next year at this time McDonald's is announcing a new improved Happy Meal that takes another step towards the "perfect" meal many believe is necessary. With any luck along the way, families will also begin including milk with their meals again at home and making fruits and vegetables a part of every meal. These positive lifestyle changes will be necessary day in and day out, if we are to beat the childhood obesity problem faced today.
 
How do you see the new changes to the Happy Meal? Do you have a glass half-full or glass-half empty perspective of the new meal? What else is missing?


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   Are You in a Codependent Relationship?

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 58
    Atleast McDonald's is making changes. - 8/1/2011   3:54:18 PM
  • TIGGER679
    57
    The apples option has existed for all of my son's lifetime (he's 6 1/2 now) and for awhile, he had no idea that fries or pop were an option. His default meal for infrequent McD's stops was nuggets, apple dippers (and BTW, those apples are a little weird, without the skin, and the caramel makes them more palatable - I hate to see it disappear) and chocolate milk (he gets white milk at home - chocolate is part of the "treat" of going out).

    Now that he's old enough, he makes his own choices sometimes and will still choose milk and apples a lot of times. He also often chooses applesauce instead of fries at Steak 'n Shake or other places. This all has to do with PARENTING. McD's and other restaurants offer the choices - we have to be aware enough to make the correct ones and teach our children to make them as well. Most times when I was ordering for him, the cashier automatically would put in the "usual" happy meal, with fries and pop. My impression was that most people were unaware of the options or were too lazy to make clear choices.

    There's nothing wrong with occasional fries, but with guidance, kids can learn that the better-for-you foods taste good too. I wish more fast food places would take Wendy's lead and allow adults to make substitutions in their combos. I have type 1 diabetes and sometimes want to have the fries, but sometimes would rather save the carbs and have chili or something instead. - 8/1/2011   3:39:18 PM
  • GREENPEEPS1
    56
    If your not happy with the choices that McDonalds has then don't go there. My kids get a happy meal ever once in a while, not everyday, because I am a responsible educated parent. Blame who you want, but we all know the truth... - 8/1/2011   3:35:30 PM
  • 55
    i still do not like mcdonalds we have one a mile from us and we never go my kids hate there food think that it is nasty and i am just as glad .. the subway is about 5 if we get a something out it is not going to be McDonald's - 8/1/2011   3:20:22 PM
  • AKAFIT
    54
    The bottom line is that parent's have to start parenting. We, as a society, typically want to point the finger to external factors. However, no one at McD's is putting a gun to our head and making us eat there. If your kids want McD's and you say "NO!" guess what, they don't get McD's. My kids do eat there ocassionally, but I will also veto McD's for Subway or OH NO, a home cooked meal.

    We can't blame McD's for doing what they have always done. At least they are trying to make positive changes. However, just to be clear. If I am eating there chances are I AM NOT thinking about healthy eating. Just saying is all! - 8/1/2011   3:19:44 PM
  • CHRISTIGROTTS
    53
    I can see how this may encourage kids to eat better. But how much it helps is also dependent on the parents. The parents will have to order the healthier option for their kids and make sure they don't use eating out as the only source of good nutrition. If we go to a fast food restaurant, I let my daughter get the chicken nuggets, but she has to eat them before the fries. We don't have fries at home very often, so they're a small treat when we go to a fast food restaurant.
    In the end, tho, it's parents who need to teach kids how to make healthier choices, not fast food restaurants. If we allow them to dictate what our kids learn about nutrition, we'll be setting them up to be malnourished and unhealthy. After all, chicken and greasy burgers aren't the only source of protein just as apples aren't the only fruit you can eat.
    It's all about balance, and we can't let them teach our kids about making choices or we'll be letting ourselves and our children down. - 8/1/2011   3:09:22 PM
  • 52
    It is a tiny step in the correct direction. They have been offering the apple slices as an alternative to the fries, however they don't really advertise it in the restaurants. The menu at the restaurants only shows the junk food clearly. You have to search for the healthier items and in some locations the healthier items aren't even on the menu even though they do have it. It is really up to the parents to just say no and determine what the child should eat. I have had the argument with my child in the restaurant and I don't care if people stare at me, my child will not be obese, and needs to understand that McDonald's it a treat. - 8/1/2011   3:03:25 PM
  • JUDYPOPPINS
    51
    Way to go, McD's. At least it's healthier. It's up to the parents to decide IF they and their children go to McD's at all. Of course it's about the bottom line...McDs is a company. If you are upset with McDs...don't patronize the establishment. Personally I like the old Happy Meal...I want those fries...but if I'm given half and the apples...so be it (I like apples, too) ...it's a step in the right direction.
    Now if parents would only follow through... I see so many obese (and I'm not talking chubby) children (under 12). Usually they aren't eating the Happy Meal but a regular meal combo. Problem is childhood obesity often continues through life. But better options are a small token in the right direction. - 8/1/2011   2:45:45 PM
  • PDILLARD5
    50
    oh yeah get our kids outside and playing away from the tv and the game systems we do not h ave to have the best...we need to talk to our kids and play with them as well.....to get them out of the house...sorry im just so mad at this....this is blaming someone else for what we should be doing....is this our guilt talking...I know im gulity - 8/1/2011   2:41:48 PM
  • PDILLARD5
    49
    now this makes me angry......Mcdonalds is not the reason for our children being fat....they didnt make us drive up and order....instead of going to the grocery store for healthier foods.....we did that on our own and untill we take responsiblity for stuffing our kids in a fast convient way then we are the ones who need to figure this out..not Mcdonalds....we drive in there we pay for this we order....they just make it as convient as possible because its easier to drive thru than to get out at the grocery store with our kids in tow .......face it im right...we did this not Mcdonalds....we are the adults we need to take the stand to give our kids better food be it at Mcdonalds or at the grocery store or at the fruit and veggie stand..stop blaming everyone for things that are your responsibility ....if you are going after mcdonalds then include yourself....I have .... - 8/1/2011   2:39:28 PM
  • JWAKJA
    48
    It's still America so far! Let McDonald's and others sell what they want and let Americans make their choices! Self responsibility should be preached not governed. Tell our "government" and their spokespersons to do what they were elected to do and stay out of our private business! - 8/1/2011   2:33:37 PM
  • 47
    Mixed feelings on this really. At the end of the day, if you choose to eat at McD's, you are not going for something healthy are you? As an occasional "treat" I say who cares. Everything in moderation. However I know far too many parents who have practically RAISED their kids on fast food junk! For all the information on health and good eating out there, it still baffles me what some parents feed their kids.

    As for me and my kids, McDonalds is a treat, once in a while kinda thing. I am responsible for their care and nutrition. The move to a "heathier happy meal" smells to me like McD's are just trying to be people pleasers, politically correct if you will. Who knows? Maybe they are feeling the crunch financially as more people wise up about healthy eating, though I dont think so! - 8/1/2011   2:32:19 PM
  • 46
    I think it is a great move and give McDonald's two thumbs up! No, the Happy Meal should not have been a frequent choice for children, nor should the improvements make it a frequent choice. But realistically, fast food is here to stay. The more we can do to make it a more well-rounded choice, the better. Part of the problem with a McDonalds meal to begin with is it focuses around beef (not the #1 choice of LEAN protein) and carbs (buns, batters, fries, and frozen desserts, pies and cookies) and fats in the form of fried/deep fried burgers, fries, pies, etc. That's all there is, Protein, Carb and Fat. But there are good and not so good choices in each category. I think any step toward incorporating more food groups into every meal is a good step. It is not reasonable to believe that we will eventually never eat "junk food" so learning moderation, portion control and eating a variety of foods (burger, fries, fruit, milk/juice) is a step in the right direction. I would like to see WATER offered to every one with every meal at every source (school, restaurant, home, family reunion, you name it!) every time. Drinking more water and less anything else would be a huge improvement, and you can even super-size it! Just my thoughts. - 8/1/2011   2:30:19 PM
  • 45
    I'll be honest that we eat McDonalds way more than what I would like, my excuse is lack of time because honestly I am currently a single parent (husband deployed), and with all of the extra curricular activities, me going to school, running my own home based business, homeschooling and playdates...I have very little time to sit down, let alone plan some quick meals. I think I have taught my girls well though, in the past we've been a sit down at home and eat family. So when I get McDonalds, they get chicken nuggets, white milk and apples...that's it. The first thing they ask for is the apples, they've never eaten the dipping sauce (for apples or nuggets). They might eat one or 2 of the nuggets, but typically not the full serving, and then they ask for more apples, so I usually grab some extras to go. Because this is OUR norm, I'm glad to hear that they will be incorporating extra apples to make up a full serving. Other than this, the news has little effect on us. PS: I can't wait until my husband gets home so my chaos can be a little bit less! - 8/1/2011   2:23:03 PM
  • DIABETICLADY
    44
    IT'S ABOUT TIME. Maybe some of the other FAST FOOD restaurants will follow suit. I give KUDOS that McDonalds is FINALLY MAKING SOME POSITIVE CHANGES. - 8/1/2011   2:21:12 PM
  • 43
    It really bugs me. As far as I know...the children are still my responsibility. If I want them to have an occasional junk food meal, that should be my choice. It isn't up to the restaurants to police the eating habits of my children. - 8/1/2011   2:18:18 PM
  • 42
    Go healthier meal! - 8/1/2011   2:15:02 PM
  • 41
    I suppose the "healthier" options at McD's is okay every once in a rare while. Like everything, moderation is the key. - 8/1/2011   2:13:25 PM
  • SHUNSHINESUZY
    40
    While I appreciate the effort and definitely appreciate healthier alternatives (especially as someone who loves road trips and can't always find better locations for a quick meal!) I think the bigger issue here is teaching people, adults and children alike, to make the right choices without being forced to. Junk food will never go away. Children need to learn early on to make smart choices and adults need to take on the responsibility to lead by example! I don't think a happy meal from time to time (even once a month - that's only 12 times in one year!) is going to hurt an otherwise healthy, active kid. Though using food as a reward opens a whole other can of worms! - 8/1/2011   2:13:07 PM
  • 39
    I am sorry to see them getting rid of the caramel dip. I know it is just empty calories, but as an adult, I enjoy it on rare occasion as does my child who is as skinny as a rail and very active. I just balance out the rest of our meals for the day when we go there.
    - 8/1/2011   2:11:28 PM
  • JAY75REY
    38
    A healthier "happy" meal?

    "Aye, Ronald McDonald, we hardly knew ye..."

    - 8/1/2011   2:08:26 PM
  • 37
    this is a hot topic for me. I work in a public school. I see the c_ _ _, that is fed to the children. Massive amounts of carbs, sugars, and microscopic amounts of vegies! and so much waisted to!
    ok, to the McDonalds thing...
    yes, it is a marketing thing. plain and simple. But.. if they are marketing it means that they are listening and doing something. I dont eat at McD"s, nor would I feed any children in my life fast food if at all possible. I am glad that they are trying whatever the reason for it. I would like to see the schools feed the children better, portion size and nutritionally. the pre-kindergarten children get the same size portion food as the 6th graders and adults do. gee I wonder why we even have obese 4year olds! I am going to stop now, getting upset. - 8/1/2011   1:55:07 PM
  • 36
    I see it as a move in the right direction. But they also take into account what the consumer wants, and unfortunately too many consumers want junk. - 8/1/2011   1:46:08 PM
  • 35
    Personally, I guess I see it as a small step in a decent direction. As far as I'm concerned, one: people still have the choice to make whether or not to eat there or how often to; and two: the only honest-to-god bad thing they could do is get worse, or promise better and not give it.
    I also believe it should be drilled into their training to ask if the default is not that healthy, because the employees don't always give options.
    Also, I think if milk is an allergen concern, why don't we make a low sugar juice a default instead of pop? Same healthy concept as milk but without the allergy concern! - 8/1/2011   1:29:46 PM
  • 34
    Although they're making a change in a positive direction, I think that a two-pronged approach of both offering the healthier options AND educating parents about the nutrition (or lack thereof) in the food will yield the most positive results. After all, when kids are that young, it is the parents who need to take the proactive role in determining what their kids eat and helping form good habits early on. - 8/1/2011   1:18:01 PM
  • 33
    Sigh.... The problem isn't McD's or BK or any of the fast food chains... look, we all KNOW fast food = cr*p food but yet we go IN the parking lot, be it drive thru or walk-in, we KNOW the food being served does NOT do our bodies justice. When fast food places start serving salads, grilled chicken (not fried) & baked potatoes instead of french fries & the choice is taken from us, then THEY are off the hook. Why are we making them responsible for OUR actions? WE choose their food! If you think it's not good for you or your kids, then don't eat it. THERE is the simple solution.
    I think it's great that McD's is trying to accomodate the rest of the world but people need to take responsibility for their own actions. You do not HAVE to dip your apple slices in the caramel, you do not HAVE to have a milkshake & you do not HAVE to have a Big Mac w/ fries super sized! In the time it took for you to order that garbage, get it to a table & eat it, you could have been home & made a grilled chicken sandwich.
    I get the convience of it but if you are trading time for your health, then I think you need to step back & look at what the real problem is. It could be that you are not making enough time in your day for YOU or your kids & what's more important? Good health for your family or a PTA meeting? I'm sorry but i think most of us know, walking in the door that fast food is not healthy. - 8/1/2011   1:11:23 PM
  • AUTUMN_WILLOW_7
    32
    It's the parents job to order the meals for kids, which is why I always get apple slices and milk. Occasionally I get small fries that they share as a treat when they are done with the rest of the meal. It's not McDonalds making people fat; it's the people ordering it though it's nice they have the healthier options and don't charge extra for it. - 8/1/2011   1:11:19 PM
  • 31
    I think it is great they are offering better choices, but lets be honest..... Happy Meals are not why kids are fat. Sometimes it is just genetics and a lot of the time it is because kids don't do anything other than play Xbox, Wii or Playstation.

    I was a fat kid, and I only got a Happy Meal.... maybe once or twice a year! - 8/1/2011   12:48:12 PM
  • 30
    Seriously, it's not the children that order the meals, adults order them for their children so THEY are the ones not making the right choices as to the food their kids are eating. I don't see why everyone is so negative about kids meals standard options when there are healthy choices to swap in for some time now.

    Learn how to cook at home and have quick foods on the go and you won't have to visit a drive thru at all. That's a healthier outlook. - 8/1/2011   12:45:23 PM
  • 29
    I also agree that it is a step in the right direction but also feel that parents are the ones responsible for their children's nutrition. When my boys were growing up McDonald's was a treat maybe once a month. I do understand that most Moms are working now and use fast food as a go to dinner but I also know that healthy food can be made quickly enough. You can grill chicken breasts in no time and add a salad to have a fast dinner. I would also like to see a grilled chicken option to the Happy Meal, maybe grilled chicken nuggets. I know I would eat them!
    I agree with Jduford that I get to choose what to feed my family not the CE or the government. I should make the decision if I want fries or soda. - 8/1/2011   12:30:54 PM
  • 28
    I like it, because even though my "baby" is 29, I order Happy Meals on the rare occasions I just want McDonalds. Then I save the toys for my "grandkid grab bag" for when my grandchildren visit. Oh, I also think it'll be good for the kids, of course. - 8/1/2011   12:29:59 PM
  • 27
    McDs is around to make money, end of story. They give 'us' high fat, high salt, etc because that is what their 'target' market wants. Until it starts to affect their bottom line significantly why would they change? Smaller portion sizes, what a joke. Smaller sizes means less meat for the same price, equals more money for them, while cutting calories and looking like they give a shoot. Wouldn't it be an interesting experiment if, before you got your food bill at these restaurants, you were handed a nutritional-value bill? Your meal has 1200 calories, 60g fat... ick. I really like how Subway has their calorie counts right there in the open, on the counter. Sadly, only people like us would care though, the rest of North America is unaware, doesn't care or is addicted to this garbage. McDs is also getting its claws into school-kids earlier. Where I live, schools can get a 'grants' through McDs for gym equipment, how hypocritical is that. Equipment for althetes paid for by a restaurant where no athelete should eat. We're vegetarian, so we only hit McDs for the ocassional breakfast happy meal which aren't too bad, grilled cheese sandwiches or my personal favourite 'cheeseburger with no meat please'. The fries aren't vegetarian, they contain beef flavouring inside as well as host of other chemicals I can't pronounce. In the end I think it's up to parents to educate themselves, and to set the example. If enough people started boycotting McDs and letting them know why, that might make McUniversity rethink their 2015 and 2020 targets. - 8/1/2011   12:27:28 PM
  • 26
    I am 41 years old, and I remember when the Happy Meal was Introduced. I also remember asking to have one when I earned a "Special Treat". Growing up, any fast food was a, maybe, once a week treat. It comes down to two things; what parents do to teach their children and how they reinforce that against peer pressure in the early years, and parents not feeding their children fast food on a regular basis. As a toddler, my son would choose a piece of fruit over a cookie, when offered. When he started school, he started to lean more toward "junk" food, because that is what he saw his peers eating. By not keeping that type of food around the house, I was still able to control and reinforce fruits and veggies over Twinkies and chips. - 8/1/2011   12:14:45 PM
  • 25
    I think having more options is good for the consumer and the corporation. In the end it is the parents and not TV or happy meals commercials or government that make the decisions about childrens health. Parents need to start taking responsibilty instead of blaming others. - 8/1/2011   12:10:41 PM
  • 24
    There are tons of other unhealthy foods and toys targeting our children. I think it is sad that this is what our country has come to. If parents are not feeding their kids a happy meal every night then there is nothing wrong with having them occasionally. Chips, candy, video games, little debbies, and tv all contribute to the problems our youth are facing so the fact that everyone is angry about fast food is like blaming one drop of water for a flood. There are tons of solutions and possibilities, I for one would like healthier food to be cheaper and ymca memberships and gym memberships to be easi er for families to afford. We have made sacrfices in this house to have healthier food and join the y so that my 9 year old is encouraged more to be active. I have limited tv time and continue to encourage my girls to be active. The goverment needs to quit trying to tell us how to parent. - 8/1/2011   12:05:38 PM
  • 23
    Corporations are legally obligated to act in the best interest of their shareholders, not their customers. Therefore, the only way that you're really going to see a change in what fast food restaurants offer is to vote with your wallet. If a large percentage of parents opt to order their kids two servings of apples instead of one serving + one serving of fries, then you can be sure that they will start phasing out the fries. After all, they're not going to spend money making fries that don't get sold. I'd bet that if 10% of the adults who regularly order a Big Mac with fries started ordering just a Big Mac or just fries, you'd start to see a real change in McDonald's offerings and marketing.

    Basically you have to make it worth their while to make a change, because they can't and won't do it otherwise. Your options are go to McDonald's and order the healthy options, don't go there at all, or order what you want and don't complain about the offerings. - 8/1/2011   12:02:42 PM
  • 22
    We cant blame McDonalds, schools, and others for our childrens obesity. It starts at home. We are responsible for what they eat and how active they are. Turn off the TV's, video games, and limit how many times you drive through the drive-thru. ☺ - 8/1/2011   11:57:45 AM
  • ANNIEW-C
    21
    I think that any improvement is still improvement. No one is making us stuff unhealthy food into our collective mouths!! - 8/1/2011   11:39:07 AM
  • 20
    I have mixed emotions about this. Yes I think offering healthier options is a good thing. However, I feel it is the parent's responsibility to make sure thier kids are getting the right things at home. My children do not get Mickey D's very often at all. Maybe once a month and we now live in a town with one right down the road.
    While making the options available at any fast food chain is a good thing I do not believe the government, company big wigs, or anyone else should be able to tell me what I can or can not feed my children. - 8/1/2011   11:37:01 AM
  • DONKEYBUTT1
    19
    We are responsible for everything are children see, eat and do. In no way is childhood obesity the fault of McDonald's or any other fast food chain. If someone else is feeding your child something you don't want them to have, it is your responsibility as a parent to say no and change the situation. - 8/1/2011   11:31:31 AM
  • 18
    I agree that McDonald's offering more heathly meal choices but at the end of the day we as consumers must decide what will go in our bodies. I don't agree in having a default kids meal, we need to be parents and decide what goes into our children's mouths/bodies. As an adult, I am aware of the healthy choices but eventhough McDonald's offer grilled chicken and healthy salads I rarely choose them. That's not their fault, I made the choice to have something fried and fatty. Folks at the end of the day, we need to be responsible and stop blaming stores/restaurants for our poor decisions. What a concept, we can choose to prepare foods at home, like fries in the oven, make our own burgers, nuggets....Just my thoughts, that's all - 8/1/2011   11:18:04 AM
  • 17
    I think that McDonald's is starting to move in the right direction with the healthier offerings. It will take time for people to start accepting the healthier options as the norm, because we all grew up with the unhealthy menu that has changed over the years. When I was young, we would go to McDonald's as a treat once every couple of months. We each got a hamburger, and two people would share a small order of fries. This way, it was easier on the budget and a bit less unhealthy than having a whole meal to ourselves. It was also always bought through the drive thru, and eaten at home, where we could drink our own milk. My 5 year old son has several food allergies/intolerances, including lactose intolerance. He regularly eats fresh fruits and vegetables, so this is an easy decision for him. I do ask him if he wants apple slices or french fries, and 9 times out of 10, he chooses the apples. He also chooses an apple juice box (100%) juice because he can't have the milk. This also is about 90% of the time (he does occasionally have soda). Hopefully by empowering him to make these healthier decisions now, he won't end up having my weight problem when he gets older.

    I also think they could offer more grilled chicken type options instead of the burgers or fried chicken nuggets. - 8/1/2011   11:10:38 AM
  • NAUTICALAKES232
    16
    McDonald's is on the one to be blamed, as parents we have to make wiser choices for our children. I do not even take my children there. They are fine with it.. I use to in the past as a treat but now I do not even bother.... - 8/1/2011   11:05:26 AM
  • 15
    I like the fries as they are. Not everyone is trying to lose weight; to expect McDonalds to restructure their company to accomidate those that have special needs is self-center thinking. Parents need to be responsible for raising their children, not government or businesses. - 8/1/2011   11:04:14 AM
  • 14
    This is all marketing. McDonalds doesn't care about children. McDonalds cares about McDonalds. It annoys me that they have received so much publicity for making this teeny tiny step. If they truly cared about their customers as people, they would find a way to decrease their sodium much sooner than 2015, and they would fix the rest of their menu long before 2020. They are disgusting. I'm sure they will use the new apple wrappers for even more co-branding with children's toys and movies.
    I bet after the media blitz winds down, they will simply allow parents to order happy meals with no apples and 2 little bags of fries. - 8/1/2011   11:02:07 AM
  • 13
    The problem is that it's easier to blame McDonald's for childhood obesity when the person(s) to blame are the parents. Parents take their children their and no one is forced to eat their food. Yes options are always good but I am positive that even if every restaurant and fast food chain only served the healthiest of options, there would still be obesity because its about what you eat at home that's the problem. - 8/1/2011   10:54:23 AM
  • 12
    I think it’s a good start. But we need more healthy options not just for children but also for adults as well. Children often follow the example led by the significant adults in their lives. McDonald’s does not have any turkey burger or veggie burger and they have no veggie wrap. They provide little in the way of healthy choices. They constantly push the supersized meals and everything seemingly is fried, either on a griddle or deep fried in greasy oil. I have not eaten there for years for this very reason. While I think it’s great that they are now offering some positive changes to the Happy Meal, I sure would love to see them do much more. - 8/1/2011   10:53:58 AM
  • 11
    Any business has to cater to the wants of the people or they won't stay in business. Most people want hamburger and fries. I think McDonalds has to take small steps to try to get adults to see the importance of healthy choices especially for their kids. Adults need to make better choices also because you can't make kids eat healthy when you don't. Fries are pretty tempting to us all but we know they are the best choice. Plus we all have different ideas of what is healthy. I'm not going to eat a tofu burger. Sorry. Every step forward is welcome. - 8/1/2011   10:51:31 AM
  • MOSCINSK
    10
    I agree with JOANIEBUG46, my husband and I had the same conversation on this and Bottom line it is a parents choice to purchase these types of food for their children. Moderation is key for adults and the same goes for children. Fast food should not be a child's main source of caloric intake ever. It should be the exception to home meals on rare occasions and on those occasions parents need to make choice to purchase healthy meals for themselves and their children. - 8/1/2011   10:49:32 AM
  • 9
    Bottom line is that kids aren't buying these meals for themselves!! It's time for us (parents) to step up to the plate and be pro-active for our own children's health. aka we need to feed them at home or pack healthy meals. - 8/1/2011   10:35:11 AM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by December 1! Get a FREE Personalized Plan