Several months ago my kids and I made a quick run through McDonalds for dinner. I don’t make this a regular habit but it happens on occasion. I ordered my son’s usual cheeseburger happy meal with chocolate milk. After handing the food to the back I hear, “I didn’t order this and look at the size of these fries. What a rip off!” So apparently McDonalds had gone ahead and decided for my son that he needed a smaller portion of fries and a bag of apples. I laughed at his reaction but then was a little upset that it was decided how my money should be spent and what my child needs.
This is a growing trend in this country. Remember the Burger King slogan, “Have it your way!” Well, I guess we can’t anymore. From the recent restriction in New York City by Mayor Bloomberg of restricting consumers in purchasing a Big Gulp drink to Michelle Obama’s urging Mars Company to stop making King Size candy bars; we just can’t have it our way anymore. We obviously need policy to determine what we should and should not buy because we don’t know any better.
This trend has been in our public schools for a while now and keeps growing. The milk is no longer whole milk because apparently it contains too much fat. Cupcakes and desserts for birthdays are strongly discouraged if not banned all together. Our government is spending 2 million dollars to put surveillance cameras in some schools to monitor what kids eat at school. The study is to determine which foods our children prefer to eat. I think that money can be saved and they can ask any parent what their children prefer to eat.
I understand that there is a growing trend of obesity in this country. I also understand that the lifestyles’ of children today has drastically changed in the last 30 years. I applaud Michelle Obama’s Move.org campaign. I like her platform and the message to get kids eating healthy and moving. I think it is very important to educate children and families about the benefits of staying healthy. However, I strongly disagree with using the message to mandate or legislate to any person or company what should or should not be eaten and how we should spend our own money.
My trip through McDonalds was rare but it was a treat for my kids. Mom is not making them eat anything “green” for dinner and I had a night off of having to provide a well-balanced meal. My children know McDonalds is not the healthiest choice and they know if they eat it all the time it is unhealthy for them. My job as a parent is to provide my children with well balanced meals. I need to be an example of what good eating and exercise is and provide them with healthy eating choices. That is my job to educate and be a role model. However, it is also okay to celebrate, too. Go ahead and eat a big piece of cake once in a while, fill up on a Big Gulp and eat that giant size candy bar (if you can still find one).
My McDonald’s meal is just one example of how we have become a society of forced regulations. Our government has manipulated its way into many components of our lives from what kind of cars we should drive, what light bulbs we should put in our house, healthcare, and now what we feed our kids. Some blame companies for promoting unhealthy food choices but people buy those foods and keep companies in business. Now the government is trying to regulate companies from selling certain foods. How long are we going to just sit back and let “others” decide what is best for us or our children?
I explained to my son that McDonalds was trying to make their meals healthier and he responded with the most perfect common sense answer. He said, “Well that is silly. Everyone knows you don’t go to McDonalds to eat healthy.” Perhaps if our government would understand that even a 7 year old realizes healthy eating is a choice that cannot be mandated. I think it is time that we take a stand against needless restrictions and send the message that we live in a country of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness so LET US EAT CAKE!