Proposed Ban on Fast Food Toys in San Francisco

To tempt or not to tempt….that is the question.  Whether ’tis nobler to seduce already or ready-to-be overweight children with pop toys to get them to eat more fat and salt than a horse would tolerate OR find a way to combine good business sense and family-friendly nutrition?

Apparently, McDonald’s would rather just seduce your kids – it makes good profits.

Well, that could no longer be the case in San Francisco.

Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval to banning toy giveaways in Happy Meals and similar fast-food offerings aimed at kids, unless they have reduced sodium, fat, and sugar content AND include fruit and vegetables.  The legislation is intended to promote healthy eating and help combat childhood (and ultimately adult) obesity, and was passed by an 8 – 3 vote, the bare minimum needed to overturn Mayor Gavin Newsome’s promised veto.

McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain, is fighting the proposal.  The Board is scheduled to take a final vote sometime this week.  The proposed restrictions wouldn’t go into effect until December, 2011. 
Under the proposed ordinance, restaurants may give away a free toy or other incentive item ONLY if the meal contains less than 600 calories, has less than 640 milligrams of sodium, and if less than 35% of the calories are derived from fat (less than 10% from saturated fat), except for the fat contained in nuts, seeds, eggs or low-fat cheese.  In addition, the meals must contain a half-cup or more of fruit and three-quarters of a cup or more of vegetables.

Parents ultimately decide what their kids eat – that is understood.  But all you parents are aware of how pressured you are when your kids have been pumped up by the media to want those toys.  When you try to steer them to the healthier foods, they make a fuss – “No Shrek???????”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2006 found that fast food chains spent $360 million to purchase toys to distribute with their more than 1.2 billion children’s meals sold that one year.

McDonald’s has given toys as an incentive to buy the unhealthy meals.  Now, San Francisco is giving McDonald’s the incentive to give out toys with veggies and healthier combinations of foods.

My feeling about parents feeling pressured once they’re in a fast-food place is NOT TO GO INTO FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS WITH KIDS!

Make sandwiches at home and have a picnic out on some grass with fruit juices and an apple for dessert.  Ultimately, it’s the parents’ fault that 1.2 billion unhealthy children’s meals went into the arteries of innocent children.  Fast food places like McDonald’s count on your weaknesses, laziness, and lack of commitment to health and fitness.  That’s how they make a profit!  So, take responsibility!