The Happy Meal; specifically targeted for children is a quick and easy meal that puts a smile on every kids face and a hush to the mid-day tummy growls. The Happy Meal has been sold at McDonalds since 1979 and continues to sell at a whopping one million per day in the United States alone. Happy Meals, depending on the combination of food and drink can be about 400-600 calories per meal. “As a result, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled since 1980 — today, 16 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight or obese. An additional 15 percent of kids are at risk of becoming overweight or obese” reports NBC News. At this rate parents and kids should start finding other alternatives for a quick and easy meal.
Its not only Happy Meals that have America’s kids becoming obese by the second, sweetened cereals such as Cap’n Crunch and Cinnamon Toast Crunch contain empty calories and food colorings that have been linked to irritability and behavioral problems in children. Sunny D and Hawaiian Punch only contain 5% juice, one cup is the equivalent of eating a dozen Chips Ahoy cookies; might as well grab an ice cold cup of sugar. Last but not most definitely not least are Hot Pockets; the pepperoni stuffed frozen sandwiches. One serving yields 735 calories and a heart stopping 1,352 milligrams of sodium. The only pros of these food and drinks are the cheap market value and easy preparation however, the easy route isn’t always the best route to take.
As a solution to settling for unhealthy foods, explore new options. Instead of unnatural, preservative filled breakfast foods try fresh fruit and a lightly sweetened whole grain cereal with a glass of orange juice or 2% milk, and for a midday snack grab some frozen yogurt or pita chips with hummus. Dinner Time should be a joyful occasion to sit down and enjoy a satisfying meal with family and friends. Have everyones input in the kitchen for healthy choices. Make a rainbow colored salad and slice some lemons for a baked salmon and wild rice dish. Instead of ordering a pizza decorate and bake your own. Healthy eating should not be a choice, it should be a lifestyle that you follow everyday. A lifestyle that you feel good about and that can put you on the pathway to a better you. Now for what its worth, do you really want fries with that?
“Happy Meal.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 09 May 2013. Web. 09 Sept. 2013.
“How Many Happy Meals Are Sold Each Day in the United States?” Questions & Answers. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2013.
“The 20 Worst Kids’ Foods in America.” Msnbc.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2013.
“Calorie Counter.” Calories in Hot Pockets Hot Pockets Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Sandwich Frozen. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2013.
Student Ambassador: Tameka Evans