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Happy Meals – A Parents Choice

Happy Meals - A Parents Choice

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI’s) says the toys in the Happy Meals at McDonalds is making kids fat! CSPI is a Washington based consumer advocacy group that is going after McDonalds because they are “unfairly and deceptively” marketing toys to children.

Happy Meals - A Parents Choice

McDonalds has stated that they only advertise two types of Happy Meals to children under the age of 12. Both are less than 600 calories, with no more than 35 percent of calories from fat, 10 percent of calories from saturated fat or 35 percent of total sugar by weight. Yet the CSPI still maintains that most of the time kids are not ordering the healthier meal versions. They are going for the meals that are higher in calories and saturated fat.

Happy Meals - A Parents Choice

Michael Jacobson, who is the executive director of CSPI equates the free toy given with the meals as a door to door salesman coming to your house daily asking to secretly speak with your children!

Happy Meals - A Parents Choice

I believe CSPI probably has good intentions. However, do you really think a restaurant no matter how large or small should be sued because they offer children a toy with their meal? Besides it is the responsibility of a parent to decide what your children eat or don’t eat.

Happy Meals - A Parents Choice

Jacobson goes on to say “They don’t always want to be saying no to their children. We feel like an awful lot of parents would be relieved if this one pressure was removed from them.” It is true, parents do get tired of saying no to their children, but it’s their job, after all they are the parent. It almost sounds like they are implying that parents don’t know how to teach their kids the meaning of the word no. And why would that be McDonalds fault?

Happy Meals - A Parents Choice

I wonder what the real issue is with CSPI, is it the toys or is it the Happy Meals. On their website they have an action letter that says McDonalds is undermining parents and deceiving children with cheap toys that accompany unhealthy meals. It sounds to me that they are using the toys as the basis for their litigation. They even compare the restaurant chain to a stranger in the playground who is handing out candy to children. It’s not the toy that makes kids fat if that is what they are truly concerned about.

Happy Meals - A Parents Choice

It’s nice that someone wants to save all of us parents from ourselves. But I think it is a waste of time and taxpayers money to be spent on frivolous lawsuits. Filing a lawsuit because they market toys to children is wrong to say the least, because all a parent has to do is say No. Maybe they see an easy way to get some extra dollars so they can file another lawsuit to protect us from ourselves.

Happy Meals - A Parents Choice

Let’s see, who could be next? Burger King, Arby’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, or maybe your local ice cream man? What about the family restaurants that provide colors and pictures for the kids, and have coloring contests? Are they just as bad? They could sue the grocery stores for having candy isles, and selling fatty foods and snacks. The list could go on.

Do they think parents are too stupid to know what is best for their kids? This is a parenting issue. Maybe instead of suing McDonalds, they could use that money to educate people about the cons of eating at certain establishments. One of the benefits of a free markets society is the economic principal of supply and demand. If people didn’t want it, there would be no supply. I don’t suppose CSPI would change their mind if McDonalds added veggie burgers and baked asparagus fries to their menu. But then they might go out of business.

Whether parents want to take their kids to McDonalds, that is their choice to make. I don’t think CSPI should be singling out just one restaurant chain that happens to provide a toy with their meal, if their real concern is the health of our children. As parents it is our responsibility, not theirs, to make sure our kids are getting the right food and exercise to make them healthy.

A good parent sets boundaries and teaches their kids what healthy eating is and McDonalds is not responsible for choices parents make in their restaurant.

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