Should You Buy Your Child That Happy Meal?

McDonalds Happy Meal has been a large part of many of our childhoods. Most times when parents are too busy to make dinner, they'd go for easier options like a pizza delivery or a trip to a drive thru. Though it may be the easy way of making sure your family is fed and happy, are you really providing your kids the nutrition they would need to keep healthy by giving them a Happy Meal from McDonalds that any kid would recognize from a mile away?

The short answer is there is no way to ever know. Diets should consist of everything in moderation so maybe it’s okay for an occasional cheat meal for the family. But here is everything you should know about a McDonalds Happy Meal so you can make an informed decision on what your families will be having for dinner soon. 

Happy Meal Nutritional Information

Here are a couple of the most well-known alternatives for a Happy Meal, as well as insights as to where these decisions fit into a reasonable eating regimen. Your goal should always be to provide your kids with protein-rich food, carbohydrate-rich food, fat-rich food, and fruits and/or veggies with each meal.

  • McDonald's Hamburger- This classic provides an iron-rich protein source (the patty), carbohydrate (the bun), some fat, and a few veggies (if it's ordered with lettuce and tomato).
  • 4- and 6-Piece Chicken McNuggets- This entree provides a pretty even mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
  • McDonald's French Fries (Kids' Size)- This side provides mostly carbohydrate and fat.

Most Kids Won’t Finish Their Meal Because They only Want The Toys

McDonald’s is the largest distributor of toys in the world. Each year, McDonald’s distributes 1.5 billion toys worldwide. A consumer trend report done showed a total of 37% of kids chose McDonald’s as their favorite fast-food restaurant. Other surveys hint that McDonald’s toy-toting Happy Meal is the reason for this trend. 87% of six and seven-year-olds and 80% of eight and nine-year-olds said they “enjoyed getting a toy with their kids’ meals.”

The Happy Meal has been banned in San Francisco

In December 2011, San Francisco made the bold move to ban the sale of Happy Meals as an effort to reduce junk food consumption among kids. McDonalds could still have “Happy Meal,” on their menu but in order for the meal to include a toy, it had to comply with San Francisco's nutritional standards which, at the time, Happy Meals did not meet the standards. 

The standards required that such Happy Meals contain “less than 640 milligrams of sodium” and “less than 600 calories” and include “0.5 cups or more of fruits and 0.75 cups or more of vegetables.” 

There are healthier options now for your Happy Meal

Kids can now choose to replace their side of fries with a side of sweet corn in a cup. The beverage for the set will also not be limited to a soft drink but kids can choose to have either Milo or bottled water. If a cheap plastic toy that comes in the set does sit well with you when you think of a healthy meal, McDonalds has got you covered too. You can now opt for getting a book with your Happy Meal instead of the toy for no added charges.

Over time we have seen the many changes that this mega fast food chain has gone through to keep up with our wants. Personally, I think if you want a burger, don’t deprive yourself of a yummy pleasure. As we said earlier, everything in moderation!

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