Kid's Meals Remove Soda as Choices

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2015-02-25 13:40:02 -0600
Started 2015-02-10 09:43:41 -0600

Here is the article on how the fast food chains are removing soda from the kid meal choices on their menus.

This is all well and good, I suppose. But the fact that they offer juice and chocolate milk doesn't really bode much better except that there might be a little more nutritional value in that. Those items are still loaded with sugar, though hopefully no HFCS. And then you couple it with a burger and fries…well, you get the picture.

I do get it. It does help, but until we really get people to understand the facts about what they are eating, it's all kind of a mute point, at least in my book. I am not faulting the fast food companies. We choose to eat there, we are not forced. However, ignorance is a great tool for them. If more people knew or understood what they are putting in their bodies, it might be a different story.

Growing up, McDonald's was a once in a while treat. Not an everyday or even weekly occurrence. No wonder we are so messed up. A Kid's meal has too much of everything for an adult, much less a child.

Here is a Happy Meal Nutritional Info:
Nutrition Facts
Calories in McDonalds Happy Meal (Chzburger,sm fries, milk)
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving

Calories 650.0
Total Fat 28.0 g
Saturated Fat 10.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 50.0 mg
Sodium 1,020.0 mg
Potassium 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 75.0 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Sugars 18.0 g
Protein 25.0 g

What do you think? Will it make a difference?

53 replies

Cat Weaver
Cat Weaver 2015-02-25 13:40:02 -0600 Report

Education Education Education… that is the only way we are going to ever make a bigger impact on how people feed their bodies. So many people have no idea how devestating the effects of loading up on all the fat, carbs, cholestorol, sodium are!! I know 3 weeks ago I had no clue how bad some of the things I was eatting were, still learning every day about the human body and what it should and shouldn't intake.

Also, SUPPORT, so many of the people that do know don't do what they need to because of the preassures of society, the food chains littering our streets and the quick easy Carb loaded sugar filled treats that adorn each row at the grocery stores. While I under stand the marketing point of the candy at cash registers I don't see whey out of the 50+ treats offerd on those shelves they can't have some healthier options mixed in there some where. It makes maintaing a diet hard and as a newly diagnosed diabetic it adds preasure as I try to completely change my diet, recovering carb-aholic here. While I manage well and love my "sugar-free" pudding I dread going to the store especially since I live in a small town with only brookshires and walmart to choose from for almost 40+ miles. If more people got together to help make little changes in things like that I believe the whole nation would benefit, as someone said in a reply down the page, her grandson loves greek yogurt and berries as a treat but how would they know if he had never been offered it?

Since my diagnosis I am becoming increassingly passionate about my friends and families health care and try to warn them off the tranding "fast food diet" that so many have in the fast paced on the go society we live in.I spend time educating them on things my dietician and I discussed and about healthy habits and carb counting to lose or maintain wait as well as other factors that need to be considered in these types of diatary plans with hope maybe the repetition will eventually get thru. All in all tho someone has to make the choice to be healthier or be motivated like many of us to keep our bodies healthy.

Cathleen1 2015-02-17 07:07:26 -0600 Report

It is nice they are doing that but kids can always get soda elsewhere. I work for a hospital and they removed all regular soda from the eating establishments in our hospital and the vending machines.

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-02-18 08:25:11 -0600 Report

That is wonderful…but my experience has been the exact opposite…I expect nasty vending machines at school…and I expect them in the general population hubs…but in hospitals and doctor's offices..I would think more healthy snacks would exist…They don't…my husband had out patient surgery a couple mos back…I was at the hospital for about 8 hours…thank God I brought atkins shakes and nuts with me..because the vending machines were a wasteland of trash…sad but true…

Kabby52 2015-02-22 02:46:44 -0600 Report

I've worked in public schools in one job or another for years. I've seen the change in the food that kids use to eat and what they eat now. The war is on fat and it's been like that for years now. With the school lunch programs, they take out the fat but feed the kids high-carbs and tons of sugary foods. After they eat their school lunch, most school have a snack bar where they sell candy, chips, ice cream bars, and just about any kind of junk food you can think of. But that's okay right!? Because the enemy isn't with sweets and junk food, it's with fat. When I had my heart attack a year ago and when I was in the hospital, the kitchen would send me fat-free, unsalted, bland food, but lots of carbs and sweet thing to eat. It seems that all emphases is on obesity and heart related problems but not on diabetes. And I believe that a lot of people believe that sugar is one of the basic food groups and that we need a large percent of this or we will die. I know that cardiologist only see fat as they enemy, but really!? Shouldn't a dietary department of a hospital know that you don't feed sweet sugary foods to a patient that has diabetes? Are we not creating diabetes in our country? We can't trust the food industries either. We are the ones that have to take control of our diets as well as our children's diets and quit depending on the various establishments to do it for us.

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-02-13 19:58:39 -0600 Report

Won't make a difference and I will tell you why..Parents that frequent places like McDonalds are NOT the type to cook healthy at home either..sorry but they aren't..these children will just get their soda or Kool-Aid or other sugar drinks somewhere else..When my kids were growing up McDonalds was a treat..They were allowed to pick what they wanted to eat on their birthday's…the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas eve(Because who wants to cook the day before you have to COOK a HUGE meal…)..More often than not they chose McDonalds or Pizza…Good parents feed their children well and NOT crap on a regular basis…my grandson's favorite dessert is plain greek yogurt loaded with fresh mixed berries…it wouldn't be he favorite dessert if it were never offered to him…really just that simple..

GabbyPA 2015-02-15 15:35:02 -0600 Report

I have to agree with you on this for sure. Though sometimes it's not so much because they want to, but that the food is so cheap, it's actually affordable and fills tummies more than what they can buy in the grocery store. Sadly, that happens way more than I would hope. But like my sister in beat cooking in her mind for a long time. YIKES!

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-02-15 20:36:02 -0600 Report

To a certain degree I agree with you on this..brown rice is more expensive than white…good whole grain breads more expensive than white bread…BUT..there are many healthy foods that can be purchased and prepared on the cheap and fed to children..It is just a certain group of parents don't bother…my children loved lentil soup and split pea soup growing up…hot, healthy and home made…They were fed eggs or yogurt and fruit in the morning..eggs are one of the least expensive most nutritious foods on earth…and when you buy in season fruit..that isn't that bad either…my children ate peanut butter ..loved hummus and babagounoush (spelling??)…and one of their favorite things in the world to eat was Jew's mellow soup…I am not pretending to be children ate crap..just NOT on a regular basis…My children love white bean stew…why do they love white bean stew…because they grew up eating it once a week…white beans (dried, soaked and cooked) in a tomato base with whatever leftover meat I had from the day before in the house..stretch the meat through two days..just by adding 50 cents worth of beans and 25 cents worth of tomato paste and some spices…YOU CAN feed your children healthy on the just have to care enough about them to do it..

GabbyPA 2015-02-16 08:32:48 -0600 Report

Oh, yes I agree 100%. What is lacking are the skills to do so. It takes time to cook, and many are just not taught to do that. My SIL was like that. My step daughter is like that. She can cook, but is too lazy to do it. Sad, because when she does cook, she's actually pretty good. It's just a shame really.

That is why the link Steve posted is so great. It talks about getting your kids to experience different foods and letting them know it doesn't have to come out of a can, box or freezer.

I think it was in the movie "Super Size Me" where the guy ate nothing but McDonalds for 30 days. He followed a family of 5 that ate the junk because they just had no concept of how to shop healthy. There are people who live in what they call "food deserts" where this is no place in their area to buy anything but junk food. Efforts are made to change those things, but it takes a lot to reach people who would rather eat a nugget than saute up some veggies with some chicken breast in it. It's a very sad state of affairs, specially in a country that has so much, but we don't even see it.

haoleboy 2015-02-11 11:47:03 -0600 Report

somewhat related:
a very interesting read if you have the time


GabbyPA 2015-02-11 12:24:54 -0600 Report

OMG this is my husband. LOL. Very interesting article and video. I grew up being taught that you have to try it at least once and my parents were not afraid to put different things on my plate. This was developed even more as I traveled and ate native fare along the way. I was always put off when they would offer me an "american" version of the food I wanted to try. I wanted the whole experience. We need to share that with out kids and open them up to choices. I will say that my husband has grown in his willingness to try new things and does much better. But if he had it his way, it would be battered, fried and served with fries or mashed potatoes.

Kids are sponges with minds and tastes that we can encourage with new things. That is a great article. And parents....get a backbone. If I didn't like something that was served, I went without. I can only remember a few things that just turned me off as a kid.

JoleneAL 2015-02-12 09:20:06 -0600 Report

My grandmother said as well, "You can't say you do not like something if you've never tried it." ;)

GabbyPA 2015-02-12 09:41:12 -0600 Report

Yep, and they are right. And a lot of the time, you find something that you never knew you liked.

haoleboy 2015-02-11 13:04:18 -0600 Report

My 5-year-old grandson and I regularly split cans of sardines, kippered herring and anchovies. he loves eating the bones. A staple breakfast for the boys (we have a 2-year-old as well) has long been avocado on toast.
"Teach your children well."

GeekonBoard 2015-02-10 21:18:14 -0600 Report

Have any of you read the nonfiction book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. Before I write anymore let me first say that I don't believe that poor nutrition & many of the problems hooked to kiddos eating fast food is entirely the fault of the "Food Giants". But, this book was so fascinating! Chapters about all the science that goes into finding the perfect science & food formulas to attract people to fast food chains. Grocery store food placements & SO much more. I sometimes wonder if the fast food chains feel like nutrition is all people talk about these days & if they make small changes like the options of "healthier options" - (I agree with Gabby - every little bit helps, but also agree with her that the options they are offering aren't that much better) - I can't help but feel like they feel like the "healthier options" make them seem like they are on the side of helping out w poor eating habits, nutrition, etc, but really it's more like a remix of the same things. And, if they get you in the door - odds are people will still get … well, fast food. I wish I was more like the people that can walk into McDonald's, order coffee, & be on their way. My - whatever you want to say - doesn't roll like that ;)
Gabby, did you say you have a book? Please share the details.
Ps That book is really fascinating - even though I take all things with a grain of salt - Please pardon my rambling for a second…(this is what I mean by geek: loving all things computer, tech, movies, music, & books) : quote from this book: "Philip Morris (the cigarette giant) became the largest food company by acquiring the two largest food manufacturers, General Foods & Kraft. A trove of confidential tobacco industry records-81 million pages & growing-opened to the public viewing by the states' legal settlement w/ the industry reveals that top officials at Philip Morris were guiding the food giants through their critical moments, from rescuing products when sales foundered to devising a strategy for dealing w/ the public's mounting health concerns. In fact, the same year that the CEO's met to consider obesity, Philip Morris was undergoing its own strategic shift in how it discussed & handled the health aspects of nicotine. Bludgeoned by media attacks & the public's growing concern about smoking, the company privately warned & prepared its food executives to deal with similar bloody battles over the heart of their operations: namely, the salt, sugar, & fat."
I know that fast food & the other food giants are big business & they have to make money. I also know that it's truly the family & person, like myself, that ultimately makes or doesn't make the right decision for my health. But, I must confess that I had NO idea that Philip Morris own Kraft & General foods. I didn't believe it until I googled it. That was a little jarring for me.
I had no idea that there are buildings that have workers doing nothing but testing for something called the "bliss point" in food giant's foods that are shelved in our supermarkets. A paragraph or two talking about the scientist testing foods & their parallel with something called a "tongue map". I was googling things in this book left & right cause some seemed so absurd to be true. But, most of it was even found on the actual company's websites - like Kraft.
I am a bit naive & this book was a good thing for me to sink my teeth into - pardon the pun. I imagined people sitting in a testing lab tasting several version of the newest flavor of Cheez-Its or testing the shelf life of apples pre cut & put in those little baggies for kiddos in the produce department. But my brain & eyes both expanded with this read. But, I still take it all in with a grain of salt & find it interesting. Thanks for letting me ramble!

RosalieM 2015-02-11 12:21:46 -0600 Report

I teach classes to help people get off processed foods. You do not need to eat any processed foods and you will be healthy. It is not difficult. A whole generation does not know what whole foods are or how to prepare them.
The huge rise in diabetes and obesity is because of processed foods. If you are diabetic, you must not eat processed food if you want to stay healthy. Not all diabetes is caused by processed food, some is genetic. I have the genetic kind. I stay healthy by not eating processed foods.

GabbyPA 2015-02-11 12:00:51 -0600 Report

I have not read that book, but I have read a lot on that type of subject. Sweet Misery is one that will have you hotter than tin roof as well.

I agree, that it all comes down to money. Who gets the lion share of the public's hard earned dollars is the one who get's you coming back for more and more. There is no innocence involved in what they feed us. But there is knowledge that we can take and break that cycle. It's hard and it's inconvenient and it down right hurts sometimes. But once you are free from that grab, it gives you greater control over all kinds of things.

Michael_1960 2015-02-10 19:46:42 -0600 Report

Oh yes the fruit juice is a big no no, it has more sugar and carbs than a soda. Go with water or seltzer water with some flavor.

Michael_1960 2015-02-10 19:40:47 -0600 Report

Well I can't really say about todays kids, they eat a happy meal then they go home and eat junk food and get on the video games. Back when I was growing up we got a small burger, small fry and a small soda, and went home and run, play, ride bikes, throw football or baseball. Other words we had a very active life style and our metabolism was wide open, if todays kids were like that, a happy meal shouldn't be a problem.

Kats49 2015-02-10 17:42:32 -0600 Report

New research on using flavored milks as a recovery drink after exercising. Compared with several market choices whole flavored milk came out on top of muscle milk…wish Ii could fine the article…looking
As to your original question I think the people who use these places as their source of dinner for their families it won't matter. Until schools focus and teach all children that eating fresh and cooking at home save money and calories. END of story…my children still don't eat as FAST food joints except for three places…Chick fi let , Good times and Chipolte. Then only for a treat or too tired no food in house to cook nites. which is 5 % of the time

Kats49 2015-02-11 20:39:12 -0600 Report

Found the article…Recovery drinks by the numbers Fit Food Denver Post Tuesday Feb 10, 2015
Aim for 4 grams of carbohydrates to 1 gram of protein says Joel Stager, an Indiana University professor who studies sports performance. Here are the carbs to protein ratios in four drinks:
4:1 8 oz.f 2% milk with a small banana
2:5 Muscle milk
3:2 2 percent milk plain
1:1 Silk soy milk plain

haoleboy 2015-02-10 18:16:16 -0600 Report

Why on earth is it up to the schools to teach our children nutrition? We seem all too eager to shift the responsibilities of raising our children from the parents to the schools.

GabbyPA 2015-02-11 11:48:32 -0600 Report

I agree. It's up to us, not the nanny state. Sadly, we make a lot of bad choices. But we can turn it around if we teach our kids the right things.

Kats49 2015-02-10 20:53:30 -0600 Report

I am a former educator and trust me it needs to be taught just like everything else that MANY parents actually weren't taught . I don't assume to know what generation you are from, but if all of the current generations were taught I as was, we wouldn't even be having this discussion!Jus sayin

haoleboy 2015-02-10 21:25:21 -0600 Report

I'm 60 years old.
My son (30) knows nutrition and we (his parents and grandparents) are teaching his children (5,2 and newborn) about nutrition.
If left up to the government (schools) I have no doubt they'd be teaching the dietary guidelines that the dept. of agriculture lays out … cholesterol and saturated fats are bad and 1/2 your daily caloric intake should come from carbs …that sort of stuff … you know, the information that has created our modern health issues.
Uh, No Thanks!


Nick1962 2015-02-11 12:06:05 -0600 Report

I don’t know Steve, I guess I’m of the opinion it would be nice to have some assist from the school system where parents seem to have left off. I’m close to your age, so I can remember we didn’t have foodservice in my elementary/grade school. Nor did we have vending or many convenience foods (talking late 60’s early 70’s here), we brought a lunchbox. We did however get a pint of milk each lunch period. If most of our parents knew about nutrition back then, they ignored it. No reason to put veggies or fruit in our lunch boxes – we wouldn’t eat them. At home we didn’t eat poorly (no fast/microwave food yet), but we ate a lot. By today’s standards, you and I shouldn’t have been able to become obese, but we did.

Once I hit high school, we were pretty much left to our own choices without restrictions, and even though we covered “nutrition” in home-economics class, we kind of looked at that as a “minimum” not as a balance. There were 4 of us in the family, if a recipe made 6 servings, it was still divided by 4 and we were pretty much required to finish it (don’t want to waste food after all).

I guess maybe now that I’ve talked through this, I’m thinking nutrition should be taught as any other “life skill” that’s taught, and yes it does need to be revised to today’s standards and availabilities. Trying to ENFORCE today’s joke of a nutritional standard by setting up available foodservice, I’ll agree would be ludicrous. I think educated kids are better prepared to make better decisions on their own.

haoleboy 2015-02-11 13:39:09 -0600 Report

I get that Nick … but … perhaps it is my mistrust of our government … I really do not want them teaching any "life skills". They barely have time in the school day to teach the fundamentals.

Nick1962 2015-02-11 18:45:52 -0600 Report

We'll agree there - I don't want government "governing" nutrition any more than health care. There are however some absolutes in education though (2+2 will always equal 4) and I think one of those fundamentals should include the absolutes of nutrition.
We have several "non-government" run charter and private schools here in NC that take a very active role in child nutrition - they have brought home ec back into the school - and parents are required to participate in student meal plans. Yes, affluence does have some role here, but I know it can be done, and really should to prevent the impending epidemic.

GabbyPA 2015-02-11 12:29:41 -0600 Report

In every way, educating our kids is the most important point. My step daughter, though an adult now, is learning from me and that is eye opening for her. She is enjoying the meat and veggie lifestyle we have now and has started looking more closely at what she home anyway. At least it's a start.

Nick1962 2015-02-11 18:49:56 -0600 Report

It was a wake up call for me when diagnosed - I guess you can really never know how stupid you are.
As teens we always saw the horrible picture of smokers lungs, the car wrecks from drinking and driving, even the effects of unprotected sex.
Tell you what - if you'd have shown a picture of me in a speedo at 286 pounds, lots of folks would have put down the chips.

GabbyPA 2015-02-12 09:56:30 -0600 Report

LOL...I have a similar picture that would have been equally as scary.

Thanks to you and your inspiration I have been eating so much better and though not quite as paleo as you, (I am including dairy) I have done very well in the turn around area. Lost 17 more pounds and still going. Thanks my friend, visual or not....LOL

Nick1962 2015-02-12 16:08:40 -0600 Report

No thanks necessary Gabby, I'm just passing on the help I got. After all, you did the work. Good to hear you found a way to adapt it to your liking and found a way to make it work. Keep it up!

GabbyPA 2015-02-12 17:45:29 -0600 Report

Even the family is okay with it now, and that was the huge issue when we started. I just warned them that we were going to start over and be prepared....and they are doing good as well.

Kats49 2015-02-11 11:12:23 -0600 Report

As I am teaching my families..5 generations, not the dietary guidelines but some is BETTER than NONE. I am not saying you need to be taught..I am just saying that there are many who do…I taught for 23 years and would have gone for more except health issues forced me to retire. Not all people are obese or diabetic, we are lucky to have forums like this one to be able to vent and give information back and forth. I am 61 so we are from the same generation. My youngest is 31 and the oldest is now between the different sets of parents and combined families there are 36 who know proper nutrition and I would venture to say 90% of them are growing their own food or purchasing it. My husband and I were growing our own ORGANIC produce before it became the "IN" thing to do!

haoleboy 2015-02-11 13:46:49 -0600 Report

no argument from me that we need better nutrition education (information). I just don't want to see the schools as the means.
I would really like to see more pressure put on fast food "restaurants" and processed food manufacturers to stop marketing to children.

stonehedge 2015-02-10 17:41:50 -0600 Report

Let's face it…food is a drug…some people just can,t say no. To there selfs or there kids..god forbid one of there 20year old kids might cry or whin.

GabbyPA 2015-02-11 11:55:38 -0600 Report

As a food addict, I understand that concept very well. It's a comfort for me and I have to be very mindful. It sucks that you can't "cold turkey" food, but you can cold turkey your trigger foods and that is what helps me a lot.

haoleboy 2015-02-10 16:36:19 -0600 Report

teaching your child sound nutrition is perhaps the greatest gift a parent can give
I was blessed with a son that "got it" and now blessed to be able to watch him and his wife raise my grandchildren with a good understanding of healthy eating.


Pegsy 2015-02-10 18:39:01 -0600 Report

Thankfully my daughter gets it. She has taken healthy eating even further that I have. Unfortunately my son didn't catch on and married a woman who is known on a first name basis by everyone who works at a drive-thru in her area. She is clueless when it comes to health and nutrition. And I know her parents. They didn't raise her that way. I feel sorry for my grandchildren.

Kats49 2015-02-11 11:16:49 -0600 Report

So when they are with you set the example I bet they won't like it at first but you might be pleasantly surprised. One of my grandsons married a gal like the one you are describing. Her daughter from a previous marriage…loves it when I am cutting up raw vegetables for soup or just a cold plate. She eats raw red cabbage, carrots,jicama,red bell peppers, loved out fermented veggies..we go for color for nutrition. She is 6 along with her aunt who is also 6 lol they are quite a team and besties

Pegsy 2015-02-11 13:50:49 -0600 Report

She will eat healthy if that is what is served. She just doesn't like to cook. Prefers the drive thru.

Type1Lou 2015-02-10 15:02:03 -0600 Report

I think McDonald's was one of the first fast-food places to provide the nutritional values for their food, so that was a good thing…even if much of the food may be considered "toxic". I loved the Mexican Pizza at Taco Bell but haven't indulged much in it since it has 45 grams of carb…but my friends know I like Taco Bell and gave me 2 gift cards to it at Christmas time…haven't used them yet and may get close to next Christmas before they are used up.

Kats49 2015-02-11 11:19:01 -0600 Report

I took the two Pizza hut gift cards that were given to me and gave them as donations to another group that was looking for gift card donations. Mind you I don't eat at fast food but the grandson that gave them to me does. lol

sweetslover 2015-02-10 14:07:04 -0600 Report

I have to wonder what is actually in the meat for these meals. How can they sell them so cheaply if there is any kind of quality ingredient in them?

RosalieM 2015-02-10 12:46:35 -0600 Report

Hi Gabby,
People are finally starting to think about they eat. I teach classes about whole foods, blood sugar and weight control, so I see the increasing interest.
My classes are free of charge so anyone can afford them. They can also read about a healthy diet on the internet. They really need help with understanding whole foods and what they do to the body. There are not enough teachers and classes are so expensive. What I teach in my free classes is equal to what a business in my town teaches for a commitment of $1,000 minimum. If I advertised more than writing an article for a local "Natures Pathways" magazine
I would be swamped.

GabbyPA 2015-02-11 11:53:40 -0600 Report

I commend you for offering your knowledge for free. That takes away excuses from many people. Have you considered sharing your classes on YouTube or something like that? It would get your message really out there.

RebDee 2015-02-10 12:04:14 -0600 Report

I am happy that soda has been taken out of the Happy Meals for Children. I prefer to get my grandkids the juice plus a glass of water and then put just a little of the juice in the water for them to drink. It flavors the water but doesn't count as a whole glass of juice. I have been told and passed it on to my children that we should eat fruit not drink fruit juice.

GabbyPA 2015-02-10 13:34:18 -0600 Report

Yes eating whole fruit gives us more for the tasting. Fiber, and other nutrients that often get lost in the process of making the juice. Unless it's cold pressed and not heated. But I would rather have an apple over 4 oz of apple juice any day.

Kats49 2015-02-11 11:21:07 -0600 Report

We all enjoy the whole fruits rather than juices as well…the only time anyone drinks juice is when they are sick and I need to push liquids then the little kids get a watered down version.

Pegsy 2015-02-10 18:43:00 -0600 Report

I don't drink fruit juice. Ever. I would much rather enjoy the whole fruit with all the natural fiber that comes with it.

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