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Happy Meal must now be Healthy Meal - in one Northern California county

Posted on May 03, 2010 by Maggie LaBarbera

There has been quite a bit of buzz about a new law passed in Santa Clara County in California.  The new law essentials bans restaurants from using toys to lure kids to meals high in fat, sugar and calories.

It is true that a toy does not make kids gain weight, it is the food.  And, yes it is also true that parents have the ultimately authority to not buy unhealthy foods for their kids.

But let's face it.  this is marketing at its finest and parents need some help.  It is very challenging to combat the billions of dollars of advertising the food industry spends to entice kids to want their foods.  And adding that little extra toy only makes the meal that much more enticing.

I am not trying to make excuses for parents who can't say no to their kids, but I understand that their job is not easy.  Kids can recognize the "McDonalds" golden archers before they can really talk!  I remember being a kids and wanting the cereal with the toy inside it.  I also remember how much my kids wanted the "Happy Meal", not so much for the food but for the toy it was promoting.  Kids like toys.

There are so many studies showing how adding a fun character, game, or toy helps kids build a positive mind  association with that food.

So is the ban the ultimate solution,? No, but it can help.  We have a growing problem of unhealthy kids.  We are talking about heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and poor nutrition and it is going to take a great deal of creative organizations, laws and support from all areas of our society to change our current situation.

At Nourish Interactive, we believe strongly in early nutrition education for kids while they are still forming their food habits.   And helping kids build an association with fun and nutrition is also part of our mission.   We think it is important for kids to have fun while they learn about nutrition.  We hope our characters, nutrition games and fun nutrition activities are helping kids move towards healthy foods.

Related information: California County bans toys in happy meals





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