Monday, November 15, 2010

Healthy kids meals- who is responsible here?

There was a recent story on ABC news about fast food restaurants and how hard it is to get a healthy kids meal there. There was a study at Yale where people went into McDonalds, Burger King and Wendys and asked for a kids meal. The cashier didn't offer the parents the healthier choices. The study concluded that it is
very difficult to get a healthy kids meal at a fast food restaurant.

""It's possible to get a healthy meal at a fast food restaurant but it's very difficult. You have to go in, you have to know exactly what you're looking for and you have to take the initiative to ask for it," said Marlene Schwartz, deputy director at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. "

Give me a break...

I have 3 kids, ages 6,6, and 4. My kids eat at McDonalds about once per week.. I admit they have totally fallen victim to McDonalds marketing ploys. I also admit that I like the wifi and the peace when the kids are playing in the playplace and I appreciate the salads available at McDonalds. We occasionally go to Wendys but the kids like the McDonalds toys better.. We rarely eat at Burger King because there are less healthy choices available on their menu.

When my twins were 2 they went on a preschool field trip to McDonalds play place and they were the only ones who didn't know what McDonalds was and had never been there. People thought I was weird.. soon after that I realized the joy of indoor playplaces and started to take them there. I investigated the menu and told them that there were a lot of unhealthy food at McDonalds and if we were going to go there they were only going to eat chicken nuggets, apples and milk. I don't let them have the carmel dipper sauce because they don't need it. They rarely are allowed to choose fries (vacation and their birthday party) and my son and younger daughter will choose the apples over the fries because they like it better and they know the apples are healthier! I don't think they even know there are any choices to drink other than milk.

Occasionally I run into a cashier who assumes I want fries or will accidently give them to me. I just give them back. My twins had their 5th birthday party at McDonalds play place. They wanted apples and everyone else got fries.. I didn't even realize the lady taking their order had assumed everyone was getting fries and I decided to let them get fries because it was their birthday. My son still wanted the apples.

Why does McDonalds sell fries? Because people buy them!!! The choices for the kids meals are clearly displayed on the menu. There is nothing stopping anyone from ordering them.. to blame the restaurant because people choose the fries is utterly crazy. The teenage kid who takes your order at McDonalds is going to assume you want fries if you don't specify what you want because most people want the fries. You can't blame the kid if you don't tell them what you want. It's no secret that McDonalds sells apples and milk, if you look at any commercial for a happy meal you will see a kid eating McNuggets, apples and milk.

My kids aren't weird because they don't eat fries. I taught them about healthy food and set limits. People need to take personal responsibility for their choices. If you don't want your kids to eat unhealthy food at McDonalds then don't go in there and order an angus burger, large fries and a large coke and expect your kid to eat apples. Show a good example.

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