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McDonald’s Happy Meals to Get Healthier

Recently McDonald’s announced that its Happy Meals were getting a healthy makeover. The new “trimmed” version would feature fewer fries, include apple slices and have the option for fat-free milk rather than soda and fruit juice.

I want to feel as if this is a move in the right direction (every little bit helps) but the skeptic in me thinks this is a marketing ploy fueled by consumers and the recent anti-obesity campaigns by Michelle Obama and other organizations. I’m intrigued to watch as this plays out in real-life.

Will this change the way children eat and make food choices? Will parents be duped by this marketing campaign? Will McDonald’s be the only one profiting from this campaign?

Sadly, I’m pretty sure I can answer all of the above.

One thing I know for certain, I will choose to continue to abstain from bringing my child to McDonald’s. And I do have a valid reason when I get down from my soapbox.

Before I get to that,  I feel I should qualify that I grew up as a McDonald’s kid. I had birthday parties at McDonald’s. My working single mom would treat us to McDonald’s for dinner on busy nights. In high school I would pass by McDonald’s on my walk home and get a Big Mac and fries as a “snack.” My brother worked there. Even as recently as 5 years ago, my husband and I would grab a burger and fries on long rides home from skiing.

Then, I bought a Happy Meal as part of a nutrition workshop experiment. I kept the cheeseburger and fries in my car. For days. For months. Now, for years. It has been in my car in the heat of the summer, cold of the winter and all times in between. And, you know what, not one little bit of mold ever grew on it. Burger – none. Bun – none. Cheese – still intact. Pickle – a little shriveled but no mold.

This November will be its 4th birthday and this is why I don’t eat McDonald’s anymore:

Happy Meal Burger Experiment

Happy Meal Experiment


  1. Green Mom August 10, 2011 at 9:23 am

    There are no words for this. I secretly crave and indulge in McD’s now and then. Never. Again.

  2. News Mom August 10, 2011 at 11:37 am

    First -YUCK! What is that experiment all about? But second, I actually do give McDonald’s kudos this time around. My daughter thinks McDonald’s is the place where we go through the drive-thru to get a bottle of water. She’s never eaten there once. But I don’t think this campaign on McDonald’s part is to get people who don’t patronize them to do so. I think it’s to make things healthier for those who do visit McDonald’s, and I think it’s mostly to get regulators, lawyers, and advocates who blame one restaurant chain for a national epidemic of obesity off their backs. And hey — isn’t that what they’re trying to accomplish?

  3. Green Mom August 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    My mom just reminded me that my 103 year old great grandmother eats at McDonalds almost every day. Perhaps in some alternate universe McD’s is the Fountain of Youth!

  4. Cooking Mom August 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Oh – I still crave it. Like last night when we were out at a restaurant that happened to be next to a McDonald’s and I could smell those fries.

  5. Jen August 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    oh my gosh eww!!!! The movie super size me did a similar experiment. If you watch the movie you can find it in the special features. But, one of the things that they did was with the fries from Mcdonalds and let them sit for months and months and the same thing. They were hard has rocks but no mold! UGH just the thought of that sitting in my body! Nasty!!

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