Toys with Veggies

--- instead of Removing

Toys from MacDonald meals

(2010 Jul post)

! Preliminary ! Some additional information may be added later.
And this page may be reworded or reorganized for clarification of points and issues.

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The issue :

I recently (2010 July) saw a newpaper article that said some health advocates want toys removed from MacDonald meals. ( Google search on 'ban toys happy meals')

Needless to say, that is a controversial move. Some would say that this is a kind of censorship and that parents who do not want their children to have such meals can simply not buy them.

To me, the requiring of toys being removed from MacDonald's meals DOES seem like a move that could be construed as being an interference with some sort of Constitutional rights --- especially since the toys, in themselves, are not really harmful to childrens' health.

To avoid this confrontation involving innocent (on the surface) marketing rights versus (some) parents' concerns, I would propose an alternative approach.

PROPOSAL:      Toys with veggies.

Organizations such as vegetable growers or broccoli growers (or other such organizations, including individual companies) could package toys with their vegetables --- and fruits.

Of course, I am saying this partly in jest --- because it is questionable whether children can be encouraged to like vegetables --- like peas, corn, green beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflour, et cetera --- by packaging them with toys.

Actually, the more effective approach would be for parents to make fruits and vegetables more readily available as snacks for children --- in place of cokes, candy, sweet rolls, and other sugary and starchy (and non-fiber-providing) snacks. Example: water and fruit instead of sugary soft-drinks.

In fact, I saw a recent newspaper article on this approach, written by a mother who practiced strategies such as

  • making fruit and veggie snacks readily available in the kitchen
  • having children help pick out fruits and vegetables in the grocery store
  • and various other (more specific) techniques that I do not remember now (but plan to add here when I can find that article)

In summary, rather than forcing MacDonald's to remove toys from their manufactured 'Happy Meals', a better approach would be for parents to make fruit and vegetable snacks readily available to their children.

Unfortunately, many parents have such bad eating habits themselves (not many vegetables and fruits in their meals) that it is unlikely that they will make vegetables and fruits readily available to their children.

I am not sure what the solution is to that 'parent problem' other than continued educational articles in magazines and newspapers and on the Internet on better diets --- to convince parents to change their own eating habits as well as the eating habits of their children.

The growing 'epidemic' of type 2 (non-genetic) diabetes and obesity may help in this regard. Hopefully parents will get a clue when they, and their neighbors, start keeling over at 55 --- well before retirement.

In any case, removing toys from 'Happy Meals' is surely NOT going to significantly help the children of the 'problem parents'. Their children will simply be exposed to unhealthy foods, irrespective of whether there are toys in 'Happy Meals'.

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Posted 2010 Jul 12. Changed title 2011 Dec 23.
Changed page format slightly 2013 Apr 30.