The future of the Happy Meal

The San Francisco mayor has saved the Happy Meal — at least for now.

Mayor Gavin Newsom vetoed a measure this week aimed at making the McDonald’s Happy Meal healthier. The legislation would prohibit McDonald’s from selling toys in Happy Meals that contain excessive sodium, fat and calories. All meals with a toy would have to include a serving of fruits and vegetables and contain no more than 600 calories or 35 percent of its calories from fat.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has said it may still attempt to override the veto.

The move has a lot of parents upset that government is stepping out of bounds and way too far into the choices parents should be making.

“Parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money,” Newsom says in a CNN report. “Despite its good intentions, I cannot support this unwise and unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices.”

I agree. This really doesn’t seem like an issue the government should be handling. Yes, obesity is a problem, but who is to say the Happy Meal is at the center of that epidemic? More importantly, who gets to decide the definition of healthy?

That said, I actually love the idea of not having toys in Happy Meals that come with greasy hamburgers and French fries. It would be great if my kid was begging me to buy her the meal that comes with the princess doll, and that meal just happens to come with a low-fat, vitamin-packed meal.

I just wish McDonald’s had come up with the idea on its own without the government sticking its nose and legislation into what a parent decides to buy for lunch.

What do you think about the Happy Meal legislation? In general, should the government or parents be making the decision of what the family eats?

(Thanks to reader GAmom for bringing this issue to my attention!)

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