Fast Food Nation
Happy Birthday to McDonald's! Whether you love Fast Food or hate it, there is no denying McDonald's influence on our American culture. I love the convenience of a quick meal, but like many health conscious Americans feel somewhat terrified of the threat of obesity and what these fried and processed foods mean for the future of our children.
As a kid I grew up eating at McDonald's on special occasions as a treat but I've avoided it like the plague since my college years when I began avoiding ultra processed meat and became wary of Mad Cow disease and the issues surrounding beef in our culture. Next came the movie, "Super Size Me." If you haven't seen it, and think Fast Food frequently is totally no big deal, then you MUST watch this quick and fascinating movie. It's a documentary that details exactly what happens to a healthy man who goes on a 30-day McDonald's Diet for all 3 meals per day. What happens to his body is scary!
Being a health conscious parent, I've pretty much vowed to not give my kids McDonald's unless it's the only option at the airport or while on a road trip fast food stop. Ironically, on the handful of occasions we did give the kids McDonald's both refuse to eat the chicken nuggets and comment that, "They are not real!" I couldn't agree more as their nuggets really are basically blended and pureed animal matter that tastes nothing like chicken! However, at age 5, my daughter had her 1st Happy Meal and was beyond impressed with the toy Strawberry Shortcake in her meal. Honestly, it was a stellar toy and I can see how kids would get sucked into this gift with meal ploy.
I'm not sure if I've banned McDonald's just because they get such a bad rap or because they really deserve my parental ban compared to other fast food restaurants. Do you let your kids eat McDonald's?
Does the happy meal and prize in the kids meal impact your decision to eat or not eat McDonald's?
Admittedly, I let my kids eat Chick-Fil-A on a somewhat regular basis- at least one time per month if not more frequently depending on our schedule. Somehow, Chick-Fil-A seems healthier to me and we substitute the fries for a gorgeous fruit cup and the nuggets are truly bits of chicken meat versus a processed blended creation like at McDonald's.
And as far as Kids Meal prizes go, Chick-Fil-A tends to always opt for more educational prizes like games or board books compared to the seductive commercial toys in McDonald's Kids Meals.
Do you think companies should be allowed to serve up toys with their meals marketed to children if the food is not healthy? A bill is up in New York City to forbid this very thing - and a similar bill already passed in San Francisco. Sounds like a good idea to me.
This bill would, "restrict toys to meals that contain fewer than 500 calories and 600 milligrams of sodium, and in which less than 35 percent of the calories come from fat (making exceptions for nuts, seeds, peanut butter or other nut-based butters). In addition, the meal would have to contain a half a cup of fruit or vegetables or one serving of whole-grain products." You can read more about here.
What do you think about toys and fast food?