Do your kids ever eat Happy Meals? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 10-28-2013, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't like it and don't do it regularly, but there are days where my kids eat Happy Meals. I think today is going to be one of those days as I just don't feel very good and I can't deal with anything. I think I'll have my husband pick up happy meals on his way home from work.

Which I posted on Facebook, and one of the replies was surprise that I would ever give my kids Happy Meals. I am not sure if it is a judgmental thing or if she thinks I'm a more awesome mom than I am and is surprised that I have those days too.

So anyway, does anyone else sometimes do the Happy Meal thing? And who has managed to NEVER give their kids a Happy Meal? And if so, what tips do you have for moms with, say, chronic health conditions who have bad days sometimes. What can I keep on hand if I can't deal with mealtime?
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#2 of 43 Old 10-28-2013, 01:10 PM
 
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We do happy meals while traveling only but about once a week we get chicken strips, jojo potatoes, and maple carrots from the grocery store. We also sometimes pick up a burrito from a place that does grilled veggies inside.
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#3 of 43 Old 10-28-2013, 01:26 PM
 
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If we lived near a McDs with an indoor playspace, I swear, we would be there once a week.  We don't have that - urban real estate is too pricey for playspaces around here - but I can absolutely see why some families would.

 

The happy meal doesn't thrill me, nutritionally, but it's not worse then the emergency chicken nuggets I keep in the freezer.

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#4 of 43 Old 10-28-2013, 10:37 PM
 
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well my dd has never had a happy meal. well let me put it this way - she has tried but never ever enjoyed a happy meal. 

 

she is a hard one to please. does not like pizza's, or pbj,  or happy meals or burgers or any sorta typical kids food. BUT 

 

however her 'happy meals' are burritos, tacos. sushi from the grocery store. subway sandwiches. 

 

however even as a 2 year old dd would much rather eat say a shepherd's pie or pot pie from Trader Joe's than fast food. she is so not a fast food fan. maybe she'd do chinese fast food. 

 

on pretty bad days she'd happily eat turkey and mayo sandwiches which she would make herself. 

 

in the past as a single wohm tv diners were more of my mainstay rather than fast food. just coz dd has never really liked fast food. she WILL eat popeye's biscuits and their red bean and rice (she is not a vegetarian) but nothing else from there. she tried KFC's chicken one time and could not go beyond a couple of bites. she threw up. 

 

honestly what floats your boat at that moment is what matters. 


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#5 of 43 Old 10-29-2013, 01:27 AM
 
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My oldest is only 3.5yo so take this FWIW. She has never had a Happy Meal. She has had McD fries several times. Mostly when I was pregnant as I had a craving a few times bag.gif

However, I have had a bit of an epiphany recently and I don't think we will have McDs again. We do sometimes have Red Rooster which I believe is a bit better. It is BBQ chicken and it is recognisably chicken, not ground, processed pieces. And the chips seem more normal too. Maybe I'm deluding myself. We're more likely to get fish and chips from a local, family-owned fish and chip shop.

At home, I-just-cant-do-it meals for her are baked beans, fried egg on toast, toasted sandwiches or leftovers, if we have them. If I was really, really desperate I could also do cereal or yoghurt or PB sandwiches as we usually have those things in the fridge-pantry.

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#6 of 43 Old 10-29-2013, 03:50 AM
 
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Does your grocery store sell pre-roasted chickens? Here, a whole ready to eat bird costs $7 at a conventional grocery. Then a sack of salad greens and bits pre-washed and chopped is $3, Add a bag of frozen brown rice kept on hand (I've only seen at WF) $3, and that's a square meal for 5 for $13, and the only work is serving it. And microwaving the rice. We do this a lot for family gatherings since there's lots of special diets and picky people.

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#7 of 43 Old 10-29-2013, 06:15 AM
 
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Cynthiamoon, I do know that with two errands and a willingness to do cleanup, I could have a cheaper, nutritionally better meal. 

 

I'm not going to McD's out of some kind of illusion that it's the best we could have for the price.  I go because it's easy - I will not have to do dishes.  I go because it's convenient - there's a McD's on the road from the freeway to my house, so on a night when we've been stuck in traffic for an hour trying to get home, I can pull over and get us a meal.  I go because it's not our house, and sometimes, when the weather's bad and we're going stir crazy, we need to be out of our house very badly.  I go because it's air conditioned, and sometimes, when the weather's a different kind of bad, I would just about give my right arm for a cold drink in a cool place.  I go because I don't want to hear any arguments about the appeal of brown rice or grocery store rotisserie chickens, or have the checkout line conversation about why, even if someone has allowance to spare, we are not buying bubble gum.  I go because we can bring this with us, much more easily then bagged salad and rotisserie chicken, when we need to eat on the move, in a hurry between appointments or on road trips.

 

DH will be out of town this weekend, and I am saving up all of our household help for a bigger issue next weekend.  We will probably go to McDonalds.  They will sell me fluffy coffee, and the kids will hopefully find their toys interesting enough that I will get to sit still while I drink it.

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#8 of 43 Old 10-29-2013, 07:49 AM
 
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Yep, we go. Once upon a time we didn't. Life was simpler, I could pack or make most of our meals. DD1 was 4 and still thought McD's was a farm, as in Old MacDonald's Farm, the song!

 

Life changed. We used to hit a drive through several times a week for various reasons. We were busy. We lived out of town, there were times that we had to eat dinner/lunch in town but I hadn't been home in 10 hours to pack or pre-cook food and we still couldn't go home yet. With various medical or behavioral issues in some of my kids, actually going INTO a place wasn't always an option. There are no Whole Foods or TJ or anything like that here. Then I had/have a child with severe eating issues. McD's was the only thing he ate for a long time. I am now limiting it for him to once a week and we do intensive feeding therapy but honestly the food that we've managed to replace McD's with isn't any healthier. When your child would seriously rather not eat for days at a time and hasn't have the cognitive ability to understand anything, you end up feeding them anything just to get calories into them. We do live more centrally located now so we can run home for dinner or lunch and then head back out to sports again which has made our life so much easier. I'm not under any delusions that fast food is healthy for us.


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#9 of 43 Old 10-29-2013, 09:03 AM
 
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Sorry I upset you. I was only responding to this part of your post: "And if so, what tips do you have for moms with, say, chronic health conditions who have bad days sometimes. What can I keep on hand if I can't deal with mealtime?"

If you hadn't asked, I wouldn't have offered alternatives. I went to a fast good restaurant for the first time in years because I wanted the easiest possible route of food to mouth with an infant in tow that I didn't want to bring in anywhere. No judgement here!
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#10 of 43 Old 10-29-2013, 10:22 AM
 
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Never.  We eat other fast food sometimes, but Happy Meals do not have any main dishes that we eat (last time I checked).  We like the veggie burgers at Burger King.  We like Long John Silver's fish.  But we tend not to eat at classic fast food places much because there aren't any in our neighborhood other than SubWay (we eat there sometimes) and we minimize trips to suburbia.  We do eat out about once a week on average but are more likely to go to "fast casual" places like Qdoba or Panera, a diner, or a Chinese restaurant.

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 What can I keep on hand if I can't deal with mealtime?

Frozen pizzas.  PB&J.  Ramen noodles.  Canned or boxed soup.  Cheese, corn chips, salsa, and canned beans for making nachos.  Pasta and jarred sauce.  Cold cereal and milk.  Canned fruit.  Eggs.  Boxed mac&cheese.  Many of these things aren't the healthiest or most nutritionally complete, but they're no worse than Happy Meals and less expensive and not a lot of work.  We keep all of these things on hand all the time, and my son routinely eats them for after-school snacks (because either he can fix them for himself, or Daddy can fix them quickly and then get back to work in his home office), and we average at least a couple dinners or weekend lunches per month of this kind of food, on days when we're pretty busy or the parent who's supposed to cook isn't feeling well.  (At this point, I'm 13 weeks pregnant, and I think I've cooked a real meal from scratch 3 times in the past 8 weeks...all the rest has been fixing easy stuff, going out, or getting my partner to cook!)


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#11 of 43 Old 10-29-2013, 12:47 PM
 
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I have never bought a Happy Meal (see below, it is for more reasons than the obvious) but my mom does take DS to McD's for Happy Meals and play time.  DS sees it as a huge treat. 

 

One of the reasons it is easy for us to resist fast food is that is it very inconvenient.  I would have to get in the car and drive 30 minutes round trip to pick it up so it is never a time saver.

 

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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

And who has managed to NEVER give their kids a Happy Meal? And if so, what tips do you have for moms with, say, chronic health conditions who have bad days sometimes. What can I keep on hand if I can't deal with mealtime?

 

Things I keep on hand for when I can't deal with dinner - pasta, jarred sauce and ground beef (I pre-cook it when I have the energy and freeze it in 1 lb bags), Progresso soups (or any brand that requires nothing more than dumping it into the pot), frozen pizzas.


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#12 of 43 Old 10-29-2013, 02:32 PM
 
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Well, we just got back from a swing through the Burger King drive through. We hadn't done that in a really long time. The kids were thrilled and I can rest my swollen eye.
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#13 of 43 Old 10-29-2013, 03:32 PM
 
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Yep, we do some fast food. The kids have the option of getting fast food every Wednesday for lunch (it's their early-out day at school, so I pick them up at lunch time), but most of the time we have an outing planned that day instead, so we only end up doing the McD's thing about once a month. We eat home cooked meals 90% of the time, so I don't worry too much about the other 10%.

We're having In N Out for dinner tonight. Yum!

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#14 of 43 Old 10-30-2013, 02:08 PM
 
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YES.  Especially McDonalds after 4pm when we want a quick dinner out.  $2 for a hamburger, fries, apple slices, milk, and a toy.  I can have a mcwrap, DD1 gets the fries, apple, and milk, DD2 eats the burger and some fries.  Everyone is quiet, fed, happy, and no one had to be unbuckled for an extra round of in/out during errands that evening.

 

 At one time I would have said "never", but fast food has changed.  Its healthier, its real food, its kids friendly, and everything in that happy meal listed above?  She can eat on her own, no help, no cutting up, no liquid messes.  And she loves thier milk jugs.  We even bought some of those mcdonald's halloween coupons so that I can drive through and get her a milk for 20 cents when I'm out and want a frappe for myself.  Its very convenient, and no, we don't eat there regularly, but you know, its really nice to have around.  And I don't feel the least bit guilty about supporting a business that has carefully thought through my concerns and needs as a young mom (those fries come in a small carboard envelope, one that is the perfect size for toddler hands and has less fries than before but also stands up on its own nicely.  Someone should be promoted for all these great changes to kids happy meals.)

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#15 of 43 Old 10-30-2013, 03:43 PM
 
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Yeah sure, my kids get Happy Meals sometimes.  Definitely not every day or even every week.  They know that Happy Meals are a treat.  They enjoy them, so why not indulge them occasionally.  :kid


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#16 of 43 Old 10-30-2013, 04:08 PM
 
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My kids get Fries or a Frosty from Wendy's but I do draw a line @ FF meat. DH doesn't always, but it is not beef, it is chicken & it is only like 1x every 2 years. So I don't try to go there & my children are FF vegetarians. However mama has been known to get a Jr Cheeseburger. Trying to stop tho & haven't since I made a big deal out of skipping Rhogham in favor of testing this time (both FF beef & Rhogham involve a theoretical BSE (mad cow) risk.)
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#17 of 43 Old 10-30-2013, 08:38 PM
 
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McDonalds no....Wendy's yes...McDonalds we don't eat at because I can't get her gluten free happy meal....I can at my local Wendy's...After 4pm it is only 1.99 and she feels like she is getting something "normal" like the other kids in her world of being gluten,dairy,soy and apple allergic.. we also do Feingold...

 

Do we eat it every day? No...Maybe 2x's a month if she can sweet talk me and I actually have the $$....Our budget is pretty tight here so even these are luxuries...

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#18 of 43 Old 10-31-2013, 04:20 AM
 
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A trip to Playland is a very motivating factor for my intense 4 yr old. He was struggling to listen to directions at home and when I told him that he could earn a Playland trip (we hadn't been in a long time because he wouldn't listen when it was time to go and threw a fit) by following directions first time asked at home - brushing teeth, getting dressed, getting pj's on, etc, he did it! We went 3 days ago and he's still following directions better. I will happily take him once a week if it means getting through daily life without pulling my hair out in frustration. Another plus is that we fed our whole family - two teens included - off the dollar menu for less than $20 and that included ice creams or apple pie. Totally worth it in IMO!


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#19 of 43 Old 10-31-2013, 06:10 AM
 
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My kids prefer the whopper jr or chicken wraps, and we don't have a McD's here.

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#20 of 43 Old 11-01-2013, 09:46 AM
 
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We are vegan and don't frequent fast food joints so, no :)   However, my mother will occasionally take DS to an indoor playground at either McD or Burger King and she'll get fries or something while he plays. DS has no idea what a Happy Meal is and only equates these places with an occasional playground trip with Grandma. He's never really had the exposure that some kids get to them.

 

I tend to make meals ahead of time and have simple items on hand to make if I'm in a pinch or not feeling well.


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#21 of 43 Old 11-01-2013, 10:02 AM
 
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Mine do. I love McD - I know. :duckEsp when I am pregnant, I get cravings. 

 

Once I lived in a little town where they had something like an organic fast food thingie. Bill's it was called. I still dream about their fruit laden pancakes. But we don't have anything even remotely like that anywhere near. So, McD is the only place to go...

 

And with two ADHD kids, it is just so nice to sit outside and eat (or slurp a frappe or something) while the kids run up and down the playground. It's not healthy for them, and they are a bit out of it afterwards. So we do it about every two - three month? 


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#22 of 43 Old 11-01-2013, 06:00 PM
 
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Very rarely, maybe a couple of times a year. I find the meals are not very satisfying and the kids always get hungry soon after. And the kids' meals are very simple and dry, no vegetables on the burgers, no sauce.


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#23 of 43 Old 11-02-2013, 10:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
So anyway, does anyone else sometimes do the Happy Meal thing? And who has managed to NEVER give their kids a Happy Meal? And if so, what tips do you have for moms with, say, chronic health conditions who have bad days sometimes. What can I keep on hand if I can't deal with mealtime?

My children (ages 11, 8 & 4) have never had a happy meal.  They probably don't even know what one is.  The oldest has a few food allergies down to the little one who can't eat more than he can. gloomy.gif  They don't eat what most people consider food because of allergies.  If we didn't have the allergies, I'd like to think we wouldn't eat the stuff because we eat whole food rather than what comes from a factory.  The only way we deal is by making our own food.  We haven't been out to eat since 2008 or 2009, can't remember at this point.  But, I never feel guilty about what my kids eat.  Ever.  I did when we ate SAD & parts of it.

 

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#24 of 43 Old 11-02-2013, 11:30 AM
 
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Yes, my kids have had Happy Meals at times. Our youngest has SPD and has some fairly severe food issues. For a while chicken nuggets were one of the 10 foods she would eat. (See my other posts, if you want, about these eating SPD problems and the things we've tried to remedy them.) 

 

And with my migraines (chronic) and Fibromyalgia, plus working outside the home part time, there are just day where even making pasta is too much. We are lucky to live in the Chicago suburbs where there are a lot of options for delivered premade food. A lot of Latino food, Chicago Hot Dog places, great pizza and places that will make me a pizza with no cheese on it.

 

DD Sage doesn't eat chicken nuggets any more ("They're gross." she says.) But we do have a bag of chicken breast tenders that have breading on them (no breading means Sage simply won't eat them. I've thrown away enough chicken to know what works.) She won't eat ground beef, she can't tolerate the texture, so at the moment McDs is not on our radar most of the time (not to mention the last time I ran through the drive through to ward off a full blown migraine attack due to dropping blood sugar mixed with one of those Hot Flashes from Hell (so weak and sweaty and shaky that I didn't want to risk getting out of the car, I needed to get home, but I needed calories first) they messed my order and messed up my change so badly, I really don't want to go back to that particular McDs again.

 

But, I've done it, and I'd do it again. I think everyone needs an occasional meal that has few redeeming qualities. :yum I refuse to feel guilty about the occasional give-in to cheap, fast food.


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#25 of 43 Old 11-02-2013, 11:42 AM
 
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My kids have all had Happy Meals, but it's a rare treat, not our go-to easy meal. 

 

However, if we had a McDonald's with a play place nearby, I'm sure we'd be there at least once a week during unpleasant weather. There is no good option for indoor play around here.


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#26 of 43 Old 11-02-2013, 11:58 AM
 
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i will say that dd had her first happy meal at around 4. i would not give her one before that. we were vegetarians till she was 3. but even then i wasnt going to walk into a fast food place earlier than that. 


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#27 of 43 Old 11-02-2013, 12:04 PM
 
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Yes and I feel terrible.  guilty guilty guilty.


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#28 of 43 Old 11-04-2013, 04:24 PM
 
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I haven't eaten at any fast food place in about 15 years or so, mainly because I think their food is quite yucky. I don't imagine we'll start going again anytime soon, so no, I don't think my son (now 2) will ever have a Happy Meal.

 

What do I do when things are nutsoid and I can't cook? Well, my husband and I work a lot of evenings, so this happens frequently. We order indian food. Or boil pasta.

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#29 of 43 Old 11-06-2013, 10:09 AM
 
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DS is 9 and he had one once that I know of when we were stuck in traffic coming home from a long weekend. It is possible that DH has stopped once also.

I worked at a McD when I was a teen. I pretty much can't eat their food and feel good about it.

 

We are lucky though, we have Chipotle and I actually like their food and DS loves it. So that's our go-to fast food. Maybe In-n-Out once a year or so. We also have lots of food trucks (although not inexpensive) and small independently owned taco stands. So, it's easy for us to avoid happy meals.

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#30 of 43 Old 11-06-2013, 11:01 AM
 
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My girls have definitely had Happy Meals and we do tend to patronize fast food rather frequently due to crazy evening schedules. I have never made food an issue in our house because even at a young age my girls loved healthy foods just as much, if not more, than the junky treats. After seeing several friends go hog wild in college after having restrictive food choices at home I decided that as long as the majority of the time we were having healthy diets I wouldn't stress about the rest. It's worked wonderfully for us - heck my girls have been known to come home from school and eat a steamed head of cauliflower as a snack, but they also still love their Kraft Mac n cheese smile.gif
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