This has been boiling up inside of me for a few months now- ever since the press release went out about the changes coming to the McDonald's Happy Meal.
It is well known in my family that Mommy Doesn't Choose McDonald's.
But sometimes... it is the easiest option. Sometimes... it's a special treat with Daddy. Sometimes my family eats McDonald's. Not regularly, but sometimes.
McDonald's, you said you want to make Happy Meals a healthier choice for kids. I am fully on board with that. I'm looking forward to grilled chicken bites or a grilled chicken sandwich. I'm looking forward to a side salad or a bigger serving of apples- maybe even with the skin still on them. I'm looking forward to small bottles of water being offered- or at least being able to order water as the drink with the Meal.
But no. That isn't the path you chose, McDonald's.
Still get the same crappy choice of hamburger or cheeseburger (nasty ground up meat containing ingredients that I can't pronounce) or fried and breaded nuggets of meat that is supposed to be chicken but is made up of a consistency that doesn't resemble any chicken I've ever seen.
Did we put the skin back on the apples? Did we make the apples the standard side in the Happy Meal? Nope. Now, you get BOTH apples and fries in your Happy Meal. The apples- about 4 little slices to the pack, still no skin on the apple. The fries- a tiny size but still there. Some stores will let you order double apples- or double fries. Some stores won't let you do the substitution.
Drink options are still all sugary junk options aside from plain white milk.
McDonald's, you say you made this change because the number of Happy Meals being sold where apples was requested as the side was really low. But the side isn't the only problem with the food you are offering to children!
I am big on personal responsibility. I don't think anyone should ever look to you as a source of health food. However, if you are going to present yourself as advocating for healthy choices and express concern over the need for healthier options for kids, I'd really like you to put some money where your mouth is.
Grilled chicken bites made from real chicken- not processed from chicken parts. Grilled chicken sandwich, grilled chicken wrap. All great options. Heck, even a hamburger or cheeseburger is fine when made from real beef and not a bunch of chemical fillers.
Apples with the skin on. Grapes would be an option. Natural applesauce (no added sugar). Baby carrots. Celery. Raisins. Kid sized salad. All great options.
Water. White milk. Better chocolate milk (like TrueMoo made without high fructose corn syrup).
No soda. No fries. No deep fried food. Make it more of a conscious effort for a parent to feed those things to their kids.
You can do better. But only if you choose to do better.
Until then, I guess my family and I will continue to keep McDonald's on the "only sometimes" list. In fact, as I rededicate myself to healthy eating, it's going on the "rarely" list.
P.S. I am forwarding this to Wendy's, Arby's, Taco Bell, and others- this is a fast food problem in general. I wish that I could spend my money at Chick Fil A because they have the healthy options and customer service thing down to a science (unfortunately, they also have the "be like all the straight, white, Christian men or we will fire you, refuse to serve you, or pay money to fight against your rights" thing down to a science, too). There is a REAL OPPORTUNITY for one of the big fast food names to step up and make a REAL CHANGE.