The Not So Happy Meal

You may have heard about the recent ban in San Fransisco on restaurants offering children’s toys along with meals containing too much fat and sugar. If not, you can read more about that here.  The main offender in this is McDonald’s with their famous Happy Meal. The ruling says that a restaurant may offer a toy as long as the meal contains fewer than 600 calories.

I’m sure many of you enjoyed these toys as a child, as I did. Although we didn’t go often, it was a treat once in a while, and let’s face it: the toys are FUN. The problem is that our society as a whole, especially children, is becoming more and more obese and developing conditions which kill (like type 2 diabetes).

For many who are counting our pennies more carefully these days, McDonald’s provides a cheaper way to fill the belly at a place that kids love.  The problem is that THE FOOD THERE WILL KILL YOU IF YOU MAKE IT A REGULAR PART OF YOUR DIET.

Was that a little strong? Oh. Good.

Have you ever seen the movie documentary Super Size Me? It’s very interesting. It’s all about McDonald’s and follows a man who commits to eat there every day for a period of time, documenting his health changes as they occur. Here’s the beginning of it:

This ban is a good thing. Your children being enticed to eat at McDonald’s by the toys they receive there only helps them to become addicts at an early age. After that, the warm fuzzy feelings will be overtaken by the actual, physical addiction that occurs when high amounts of hydrogenated fats, processed sugars, flavor enhancers (MSG and other excitotoxins) are consumed.

Did you realize that these foods are addictive? Not from just this but any fast food restaurant, as well as packaged “junk” foods you buy at the grocery store and then serve at home? Your body was not designed to eat these chemicals and so will crave them again instead of what would be a naturally healthful choice.

I’m glad this law was passed. Unfortunately, though, it really is up to parents to change how they feed their kids for it to do any real good.

I understand the temptation to save money and time by going to the golden arches. I really do. I’d like to leave you with some thoughts on these two points.

  1. You aren’t really saving money. What I mean is, the “food” you get there is not really food. It does not satisfy your body’s need for nutrients. Your brain will tell your body it needs to eat again soon (that is, as soon as the chemicals from the food wear off), and the sicknesses you will encounter will cost far more than a more expensive real food meal would.  An apple and a handful of raw nuts would be far more nutritious (think: cost-efficient) than a happy meal and probably cost even less.
  2. You can prepare a home cooked meal without too much time involved with a little bit of planning ahead.  If you work full time and arrive home with no time to prepare, you can prep ahead and leave your crock pot doing the work for you before you leave in the morning. There are many resources to help you plan meals; you can read FamilyNatural’s post about menu planning here. An apple and a handful of raw nuts would be even faster to prepare than taking a trip through the drive through.

Are you seeing a trend here?

Remember, it’s up to you to train your children’s taste buds. However you teach them to eat, they will likely continue to do as they grow. My children are very happy having smoothies for breakfast, salads and whole grains, beans, etc. They are also very happy when they get a hamburger. If I gave them a choice of fast food, they would take it. But they are perfectly happy and MUCH healthier without that option.

Other related posts:

Here’s my post on How Chicken Nuggets are Made

and a chart showing Everything You Need to Know About Fast Food

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