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Are Happy Meals really a problem? Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver doesn’t think so...

By Michelle Edelbaum, August 10, 2010 - 4:42pm

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Michelle asks: Do you think Happy Meals are a problem? Share your opinion in the comments section below.


My children love happy meals. They are simply not allowed them regularly. We probably average McDonalds 7-8 times a year, so less than once a month. I'm happy that when it's time for a treat, they can enjoy a treat with a toy. It's about sensible parenting, not being the food-police.


10/03/2010 - 8:05pm

as the parent of a 2 1/2 year old and being overweight my entire life, I am constantly worried about what my child puts in his mouth. I don't want him to grow up fat. I want him to be healthy and learn how to eat good food. I also can't keep him from eating things that are bad for him but I can work on something called moderation. I let him have jelly beans at Easter but it is October and we still have them in the cupboard because we only have a few at a time. I let him eat cookies, occassionally. I let him eat Happy Meals but once every few months as a special "date" with mommy. His dinner always consists of a protein, carb, veggie and fruit. And after all this, his favorite treat turns out to be broccoli. That's what happens when you practice moderation. I have a healthy little man who loves veggies...who knew? Happy Meals aren't the problem. The problem is that junk food is cheap food and once fresh fruits and veggies are cheaper and people know how to cook them, then things may start to change.


10/02/2010 - 11:54am

Most states say you have to be 15 or 16 to drive a car. So the kids aren't driving themselves to McDonalds buying happy meals with their own money. Parents have to be cautious of what they feed their kids. If your kid wants a happy meal because it has a toy tell your kid that restaurants are for eating and toy stores are where you buy toys. McDonald's is selling a product and it up to us whether we buy it or not. Lazy parents are the problem.


10/01/2010 - 1:20pm

Portions...Happy Meals are the appropriate size for adults.


08/25/2010 - 11:05am

No, I agree Happy Meals are a great treat for kids. Especially if they are encouraged to choose apple slices over fries, or milk instead of pop. The options are there for a healthier treat, its up to us to help them decide whats best and why.


08/23/2010 - 11:10am

WOW WHAT A DEBATE. TO HAPPY OR NOT TO HAPPY MEAL THAT IS THE QUESTION. I happen to agree with most of you and with Chef Oliver as I am a Chef also teaching Culinary Arts. This is an afterschool program.
I watch the kids at the school where I teach Culinary Arts to Jr. High and High School Students eat "junk food". I see the parents of students bring sacks and sacks of "fast food" to thier child because they got up late, or were texting, gaming or whatever.
I watch students buy the hot lunches that the school provides them and the Child Nutrition people say that this is good for them. Well we all know what Chef Oliver thinks of that. As do I. Those lunch ladies were shocked to see what they were putting on the plates of these kids all approve by the USDA.
I am teaching healthy eating habits as well as burn the fat they accure during the academic day. Most of my students are excited to learn about this and to try something new. The administration is behind this 100% +++ I have also asked a P.E. teacher to join us for simple exercising routines that we can do before the class begins. A local ZUMBA Instructor is also volunteering thier time twice a week to help combat the fat plauge as we have dubbed it. I have Latino and Pacific Islanders kids in my class and they eat all the wrong stuff. I am not going to change thier eating habits but I am going to introduce them to eating it more healthy.
We will see what happens this school year. My ideas are to get to think about what they eat, how they eat and what alternatives can I do to make this more healthy more me and my family.

Chef Gregor


08/21/2010 - 1:24pm

I do not think they are a problem. The parents are the problem for providing fast food options too often. Our government shouldn't be the parent.


08/20/2010 - 3:36pm

I love all the opinions here and to hear from parents who are living this every day! This blog was also posted on Yahoo! Shine and one of the commenters there said "You know what? We've had parental responsibility for years. And all we've got to show for it is a nation of fat kids. Ban the happy meals. Take away the toys. Terminate the twinkies. Drastic times call for drastic measures." Certainly a different perspective. What do you all think about that?

Michelle Edelbaum- Eating Well Associate Editor Interactive

08/18/2010 - 2:43pm

I think what parents feed their kids are the problem. Kids don't eat a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinners. Food out of cans or boxes, and or supermarkets already made foods which are highly processed are worse than Happy Meals. I think if parents educate themselves in health and nutrition and what is real food, and make an example to feed themselves and their children more fruits and vegetables that are real food, then the problem with Fast Food Chains of all kinds will gradually will go away. I use to work at a school and would see what parents had sent to school in their childrens lunch boxes. Majority of them were high in sugar and fat. No fruits or vegetables were in any of the lunches. So I think the first step starts with parents at home.


08/18/2010 - 2:43pm

I agree with Jamie Oliver, they should be a treat once in awhile. Too many parents use them as a go to meal and that is where the problem lies.


08/17/2010 - 6:29pm

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