Will The New McDonalds Happy Meal Keep The Kids Happy?

I have a confession – I love fries. I’ve spent the better half of this year trying to teach myself to eat healthier foods, but I cannot harness myself to completely remove french fries from my food intake.

[image via baycitizen.org]

Although I’ve learned to manage my consumption of greasy french fries to once in a while, there are many of us who have a difficult time resisting our urges. McDonalds is trying to take an extra step and help make that decision for us (or really, for the kids.)

In the future Happy Meal, McDonalds will be reducing the amount of fries in half and provide a serving of apples in its Happy Meal. The hope is that by implementing this, it will help children learn healthier eating habits in efforts to reduce childhood obesity.

According to the IB Times article, “The change, to begin in early 2012, would result in a 20% reduction in calories, fat and sodium in the Happy Meal.”*

What is most interesting about this proposed change is that McDonalds already has an option to substitute the fries all together and replace them with fruit. So why would they need to mandate this new plan? Apparently , only 11% of customers are choosing this option.* They feel that it’s not enough to make an impact as parents/children are still given the choice to make unhealthy food decisions.

Thus, the main question continues to remain – who is responsible for the unhealthy eating behaviors of our children? While many continue to blame fast-food chains and other restaurants/companies who sell high calorie/high sodium foods, it still becomes the decision of consumers/parents to decide what they will feed their kids. Restaurants have made many efforts to provide some healthier food options (ie. McDonalds salads, yogurt parfait) as well as list out the calorie amounts for each menu item in many states. However, parents continue to buy food where they can afford, thus, giving them less healthier options to choose from.

Do you think this can be an effective way for fast food companies to promote better eating habits for children? What would you propose as other options?

*International Business Times

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