Sad Ending for Happy Meals?

The end of McDonald's Happy Meals may be closer than you think
McDonald's Happy Meals may undergo a drastic change

By Jeff Hoyt


I admit to bribing my two-year-old daughter with television to get her to eat her dinner. Is it worse to use toys to get her to eat? Some legislators think so, when the meal in question is as bad for her as Sniper is to Dora.



County officials in Silicon Valley, California, have banned the inclusion of toys in any restaurant meal that has more than 485 calories, more than 600 mg of salt, or high amounts of sugar or fat. This seems to put the ubiquitous McDonald’s Happy Meal squarely in their sights. But my precious Jemma can’t ride her Elmo tricycle by herself through the Golden Arches drive-through. Is this the government getting too involved in parental decisions, or an effective method to combat childhood obesity in kid-friendly restaurants? We want to hear from you. Weigh in on our community forum on this and other hot topics.



The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors passed the ban 3 votes to 2, but have put off implementing it for 90 days to give the fast-food industry time to develop a voluntary program for improving the nutritional value of children’s meals. In the meantime, check out our review and recipe from Bean Appétit, a cookbook for parents looking for ways to making eating fun for kids, featured in our latest The Food Paper newsletter.


You can click on each photo to enlarge.





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