Not So Happy Meal

May 3, 2010 by admncc

For years I’ve had a funny saying about California.  It basically goes something like this: If it’s strange legislation, it probably originated in CA.  Today’s topic is a perfect example.

My friend Jen (from Hope Studios) and I were discussing an article, and as parents, both of us had strong opinions about it.  The Los Angeles Times featured an extraordinary story about Santa Clara County.  Apparently, one county supervisor there has a very strange vision…

“Convinced that Happy Meals and other food promotions aimed at children could make kids fat as well as happy, county officials in Silicon Valley are poised to outlaw the little toys that often come with high-calorie offerings.  Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, the proposal would forbid the inclusion of a toy in any restaurant meal that has more than 485 calories, more than 600 mg of salt or high amounts of sugar or fat.  In the case of McDonald’s, the limits would include all of the chain’s Happy Meals – even those that include apple sticks instead of French fries.”  You can read the complete article here.

Jen and I both decided to feature this article, since we have different audiences.  And wow, the moms are fired up over on her site.  You can check out her post on this topic here.

So…  Even if you’re not a parent, surely you’ll have an opinion on this matter.  Therefore, I just have one question…  Is it good “healthy” business or could it be construed that the local government is meddling into parenting?

All Posts / Business / Family/Lifestyle / Law and Order / Parenting / Politics CA / California Legislation / Calories in Food / Happy Meal Toys / Local Government / Los Angeles Times / McDonald's / Parenting Decisions / Santa Clara County / Silicon Valley /


  1. The Constant Complainer says:

    P.S. Thanks to NeoConDon for sending me this story link.

  2. Jen says:

    Okay, this was my comment to CC when he first made me aware of the article:

    “Well, I know it totally pisses me off when my 7 year old drives himself to McDonald’s and pays for a Happy Meal with his own money just for the stupid toy”

    I reserve fast food for when we are on the road or as an occasional treat. I’m not going to lie, my kids LOVE McDonald’s! They eat it about twice a month max.

    But, now here’s an important point…wait for it…I’m the mom, and I don’t just let them eat it willy nilly. I know there are parents that do and that many see it as a cheap hot meal, but the govt. can’t police every decision and say it’s for our own good!

    Bottom line? Stay out of my family and let me make decisions for my kids.

  3. Angelica says:

    Ugh, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the government is trying to meddle in parenting. What irritates me is that the country is SO focused on losing weight and how disgusting fat people are that they don’t pay attention to bigger issues. What about emotional well being? What about kids whose parents DON’T feed them? What about health care? What about the economy’s fall? No, it’s much more important that we call our kids fat and tell them they’re not allowed to have toys until they lose weight.

    God. For the record, when I lived in California, I hated it. Everything from saying the pledge to gay marriage (which I’m not opposed to, really) was just so radical. Nice place to visit, horrible place to live and I’m sure there’s something in the water!

  4. I don’t think it should be legislated. I am concerned about obesity but the focus should be on education and at some point, kids have to learn for themselves.

  5. NeoConDon says:

    The powers of the federal gov’t are limited and defined. All other powers are reserved for the states (or the people) and are infinite. There is nothing illegal about this law. If a city wishes to pass a law like this, it can. If you don’t like it, you can change the law.

    The real problem is when the federal gov’t begins writing these types of laws. The majority of the people then debate that law based on their opinion and efficacy of the law, as opposed to the constitutionality. For example, Obama-care is completley and entirely an illegal and unconstitutional law, yet our lawmakers passed it. The Arizona immigration law is also unconstitutional, yet it was passed. Both sides are debating the issue based on their opinion of the law instead of the legality of the law. That is when we cease to be free. We are supposed to be a nation of laws, not of men. Unfortuanately, as we move farther into the realm of socialim, fascism, and communism, we become a nation of men, and not of laws….comrades.

  6. MajorLeague09 says:

    I can’t believe that. I’m sure there are plenty of other bigger, more important issues that could be addressed there. Why don’t they provide a class for parents that teach them about nutrition. After all. The parents are the ones who make the decision to buy there kids a happy meal. When did kids start to run the family and make all the decisions. As a parent you are the one in charge. NOT THE KIDS!!!! My son has had happy meals and fast food. But I can count on one hand the number of times he has had a happy meal. It’s not bad in moderation. I don’t go and get him one everyday. You are a parent and have the right to make decisions for your child, but don’t blame the fast food industry when your kids are overweight. Don’t keep looking for a scapegoats because your making bad parenting choices and your kids are the ones that are suffering. I’m so sick and tired of parents blaming everyone else. What they need to do is look in the mirror and point the finger at themselves. Stop trying to pass stupid laws. Here’s a solution, STOP TAKING YOUR KIDS TO GET FAST FOOD JUST FOR THE TOY!!! If the kids are throwing a fit, oh well, they’ll get over it and will eat what you make them at home. Kids get hungry and will eventually eat what they are given. All your doing by giving in to them is teaching them that if they whine long enough, throw a big enough fit, they get what they want. Wake up and grow up.

  7. C. Princess says:

    Happy Meal toys were around when I was growing up {I ate their McNuggets with fries} and I never become obese.

    It’s nonsense to think McDonald’s is at fault that children today have a weight problem.

    Parent’s need to be responsible for what goes into their child’s mouth and to monitor their kids’ nutrition instead of blaming McDonalds.

  8. Debbie says:

    If the kids are eating healthy at home, Happy Meals are not going to make them fat. Where there’s a fat kid, the majority of the time there is a fat parent with a case of Twinkies in the cupboard and a couple of liters of Coke to wash them down.

  9. Marissa says:

    I wish I could get a toy in every box of Lean Cuisine I eat. Same with my Slimfast.

  10. Candice says:

    Err, I actually totally support this idea. I’m not a parent or anything, and sure some parents are amazing and teach their children what good nutrition is all about…but what about those who don’t? When I went to the mall the other day, I was overwhelmed by the kids sitting down eating DQ and hamburgers. I mean sure, it’s not like they probably do it everyday, but still.

  11. NeoConDon says:


    Respectfully, what business is it of your’s as to what a parent feeds their children…??? It’s none of my business what you eat, and I don’t care what you eat.

  12. Keep the bad food and get rid of the toys? That’s kinda like how George Carlin poked fun at how our society often prefers to rid ourselves of the toy guns…but keep what could really harm us….real ones!

  13. Candice says:

    I don’t care, they’re not my kids. I’m just saying, it sucks kids aren’t more educated on nutrition, and their choices are completely influenced by their parents. We need more Jamie Olivers in the world.

    The more I think about it though, it’s dumb to single out McDonald’s. Might wanna check out the KFC Double Down.

  14. Titfortat says:

    Respectfully, what business is it of your’s as to what a parent feeds their children…??? It’s none of my business what you eat, and I don’t care what you eat.(NCD)

    Don, I guess the difference is that candice is canadian and we have a social health care system. For that reason I think its in our best interest to help people be healthier, saves money. If that means taking a little toy away from kids, so be it. Fuck, regardless of what country you live in I cant even believe people would argue against this????

  15. TallElf says:

    So about the doubledown! Can you get one fried, and one grilled breast? I think that would be the cats meow.

    As for the regulation of taking away the toy from fat meals, or salty meals. I wouldn’t care if they took it away altogether. The toys are CRAP. The fast food industy is just that. Grab it, choke it down and move on. The emphasis is MOVE. Get up off the couch. Do something and you will not have half as many issues. I am not an exercise fanatic, but I try to get active with my son at least half an hour a day. Be it walking down the driveway to get the mail. (For some of city folk, the mailbox is on the house, that doesn’t count) I enjoy the time, he enjoys the time with me, everybody wins. Does he get a french fry, or a chip.. sure, but he prefers fruits over most anything else.

    STOP BLAMING an industry that you subscribe to for making our society fat. Just stop going there, or when you do go, make a better choice.

    What ticks me off is that the McDonald’s in the Walmart that makes a sausage mcmuffin for 1.89 vs the dollar menu item that it is everywhere else… Oye.

  16. TallElf says:

    TFT.. your McDonalds serve gravy cheese fries. how is that healthy?

  17. Titfortat says:


    Its not, we cant stop the food but is it wrong to try to stop the incentives for eating the shit?

  18. NeoConDon says:

    TFT…It is no business of anyone what I eat, or don’t eat. It’s my life, and they’re my children. The United States is at a different level than the rest of the world…We value Freedom and Liberty…

  19. Titfortat says:

    We value Freedom and Liberty…(NCD)

    What a joke. You are a sound bite, FREEDOM………you watch too many Mel gibson movies. 😉

  20. NeoConDon says:

    I always find it funny how the socialist society to the north laughs at the freedom the U.S. provides for them because of our very existence. While you live in an oppressive and at times extremely intolerant society, you have the option to choose that lifestyle because of the relentless pursuit of freedom and liberty that Americans have always fought and died for regardless of the country in which you reside. Of course we’d simply prefer you said ‘thank you’ and stayed out of our sports and hospitals. But, because of our compassion and tolerance we continue to put up with your mockery and ignorance.

    …You’re welcome…

  21. Candice says:

    Hahahahaha. Digression, much?

  22. Candice says:

    P.S. I actually love the USA, just not the douchebag who lump an entire country into one category. Plus we have better beer, and that’s what really matters.

  23. Titfortat says:


    At least, unlike Don, Im not one fry short of a “Happy Meal”. 🙂

    Merci Beaucoup Don

  24. Candice says:

    Vous êtes mon allié canadien!

  25. Leo Nevoli says:

    Keep in mind the Parent is ordering it for their kids. When I go and I order it, I ask for the milk and the apple sticks, I don’t get my kids the fries. I know they will eat the nuggets and the apple sticks, and that is why I order it for them. Sure they like getting the toy inside, but why the hell ban a toy because it promotes the kids to eat unhealthy foods? It is the parent ordering the food for the kid, you can’t say a kid is going to order a happy meal for the toy, because the one placing the order is the parent. Even without a toy, if the parent goes to McDonald’s, and gets their kids food, what are they going to order? They are going to order the same thing for the kids regardless of it coming with or without a toy.
    If you want your kid to eat healthy, then order the Happy Meal with the apple sticks instead of the fries.

  26. Jane says:

    NCD, spare us the lecture, please.

  27. NeoConDon says:

    I’m sorry Jane…perhaps instead of correcting the lies your teacher told you about founders intent regarding freedom and liberty, I could be a good little liberal fascist and tell you what you should feed your kids so we can promote the greater good. Or better yet, all of you little fascist liberals know whats best for me and my family…what would you suggest I make for dinner tomorrow?

  28. Jacki says:

    You know, I would rather they get rid of the toys for environmental reasons…they are cheap plastic toys that get tossed in the garbage, and then into landfills where they never decompose.

    But as far as accusing McDonalds for making kids fat? That is more than a stretch. The parents are the ones buying it, so therefore it is the parents fault if their kids end up obese. Parents are responsible for what their kids eat, end of story. Why is it up to the government to tell parents what to feed their kids??

  29. Bev says:

    How did this happy meal debate turn into canadian vs american wars?! lol WOW!
    I don’t think that removing the toy will make one iota of difference! If someone chooses to feed their child fast food constantly it’s because they are too bone idle to cook, or live in one of those poor parts of america where no one has heard of a supermarket and one cant be found for miles! I very much doubt anyone is daft enough to take their child to mcdonalds everyday just for the TOY!!!!!!

  30. Mike E says:

    Maybe I should sue the beer and pizza industries for my weight issues….Oh and the college I attended for not educating me to the fact late night beer and pizza isn’t good for my health. While I am at it I should include the fitness industry for not sending someone to my house to get me off the couch and exercise.

    My family eats fast food when we are on the run but get this – I (or my wife) orders the food and I my kids have gotten a toy in a very long time.

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