I came across an article today describing McDonald’s new initiative of trying to make their Happy Meals healthier. My first thought was “Good for them.” Then, I actually read the article. Eh, in my opinion it’s a weak effort and here’s why.
You see, the healthy part of it is a serving of apple slices, or carrots, or any other fruit or vegetable that’s “in season.” They are also lowering the serving of fries to 1.1 ounce, down from 2.4 ounces. Ok, so it’s a step in the right direction, but I think they can do better.
Define Healthy Food
Dictionary.com defines Healthy as follows:
adjective, health·i·er, health·i·est.
1. possessing or enjoying good health or a sound and vigorous mentality: a healthy body; a healthy mind.
2. pertaining to or characteristic of good health, or a sound and vigorous mind: a healthy appearance; healthy attitudes.
3. conducive to good health; healthful: healthy recreations.
4. prosperous or sound: a healthy business.
5. Informal . fairly large: I bought a healthy number of books.
Eating healthy is objective. You want to do something good for your body and want it to be for the betterment of yourself. For some the choice is a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet. For others it’s a low carbohydrate, higher fat diet. A good rule of thumb for everyone is to eat your colors. But, learning what’s healthy for yourself is your responsibility. The literature is out there, and there is a lot of it. You can’t just rely on what any one source, including the US Federal Government, to tell you what is and is not healthy for you.
Fast food in the US is notoriously unhealthy. It, in general, is packed with tons of carbohydrates and saturated fats. Combine that with the sugary drinks that usually go with these dietary bombs just make for a lethal concoction. On top of that, add all the preservatives and salt and it’s definitely a recipe for disaster.
I’ll admit to partaking of this stuff on occasion, but not often and usually local or regional chains. I haven’t eaten McDonald’s or Burger King in a few years and I feel I’ve done myself a service.
Obesity is an epidemic and huge problem for Americans. It was not such an issue in the 1950′s and 1960′s. Some articles I’ve read, that unfortunately I can’t find at this time, have made the correlation between the rise of obesity in the US, and the time the US Government started pushing its original version of the food pyramid. Once that happened, it seems obesity began to grow.
I’m no stranger to obesity, being heavy most of my life myself. I was not always as hefty as I am now, I started life out a toothpick and started ballooning around the first or second grade. I imagine that about that time is was easier to grab McDonald’s than to cook at home. I don’t really remember that time very much, but it’s was the early 80′s so it’s possible that fast food became a normal meal-time occurrence in our home.
Healthy Fast Food
So now McDonald’s and company want to make their food more healthy and attractive to parents. That’s respectable and noble, but just offering some veggies or fruits, and a few less fries isn’t my idea of making it healthy. Let’s take it further. Let’s do away with the chemically treated, artificially flavored, and well-preserved burger or nuggets. Make it with real meat and real chicken, not processed mystery substances that resemble either. Stop spraying your buns with sugar-water and make your fries without all the chemical preservatives. Cut the carbs, cut the fat, and cut the additives, then it’ll be healthier.
In the very end, parents need to take responsibility in what they feed their children. Trust me, it is no fun being overweight as a kid. You get picked last, you can’t keep up playing with the other kids, and it’s not good for you over all. Adults need to take responsibility for what they eat, and stay educated on the latest health information. Above all else, ask questions! As a lot of questions about what you put into your body. If the people serving you the stuff can’t tell you what’s in it; run,run far away.
My Message to the Fast Food Industry
I would like to see healthy choices for adults as well, because adult obesity is just as much of an epidemic as the childhood version is. Post your calorie and fat content of each item on the menu, and have guides that break it down better than the Government wants you too. From where I stand, if you want my business you will quit trying to kill me with your food.
There you have it ladies and gents. This is all my opinion and subjective. I have laid out my thoughts and feelings about this latest “healthy fast food” initiative, and I feel good about it. Feel free to comment on this article, good or bad, I can take it.