April 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm , by Louise Sloan
One Sunday afternoon winter before last (did we even have a winter this past winter?) my son, then 4, and I went ice-skating in Bryant Park with a friend and her son. It got to be dinnertime and we were just leaving the rink. To save time, we decided to stop by the McDonald’s in Times Square before we hopped on the subway. We fed the kids on the train and then raced home, trying to get them tucked in ASAP.
“But we haven’t had supper!” Scott protested when I started talking about pajamas and tooth-brushing.
“Yes we did,” I replied. “We had McDonald’s on the train, remember?”
“But that’s not good for your body!” he replied.
He totally had me there. Once again, my own instruction used against me. But those facts may be ever-so-slowly changing. McDonald’s is working to alter its bad-for-you image, and one step they’ve recently taken is to include apple slices with all Happy Meals. In addition to the fries. OK, so your kid probably shouldn’t be eating fries except maybe once every fortnight. But the reality is, millions of people eat at McDonald’s, and suddenly all those kids are getting one more serving of fruit per day. It may not be brown rice, black beans and broccoli (one of Scott’s favorite meals, I kid you not), but it’s a positive move. When Hellman’s moved to using cage-free eggs in their mayo, I imagine that life got better for a whole lot of chickens. When a gigantic company makes a small change for the better, it can make a big difference.
McDonald’s is currently sponsoring a contest where 10 lucky kids age 8 to 11 get to fly to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Two of them—the grand prize winners—will become honorary “Happy Meals Chefs” and get to work with McDonald’s executive chef Dan Coudreaut to “help him in the creation and testing of new, nutrition-minded Happy Meal choices,” according to spokesperson Elizabeth Egerstrom. You have to make a video of how your family makes mealtime fun while making healthy choices, and upload it to the contest website.
Speaking of Happy Meals, it makes me pretty happy to think about the lecture Scott would probably treat Chef Dan to, about nutrition. And his ideas for healthy Happy Meals, which probably would include Mcblack beans and Mcbroccoli. Luckily for Chef Dan, it’ll be three years before Scott can enter the contest. But your kid could, if you hurry. Contest ends tonight at midnight.
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