Children's meal may not have happy future

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - They are the meals that have brought smiles to many children's faces. If not for the food, then the toy that comes with it. Now, one government body is saying if the food is not healthy enough, don't expect a toy.

Practicing his karate moves in the park, 5-year-old Logan Glass can work up quite an appetite, but his answer to hunger does not depend on food.

"Spongebob watches and Burger King has the hot wheels," said Logan.

"He loves the toys. When we find out what toy is in a happy meal that's where he wants to go," said Samantha Glass, Logan's mother. "The toy is what sells the happy meal."

However, officials in Santa Clara County, California may be trying to take the kid out of kid's meal. A vote passed Tuesday now bans restaurants from giving away toys with children's meals that exceed levels of children health standards covering calories, fat, salt and sugar.

"I believe that the parents need to teach their kids what's healthy what's not when to eat what," said Samantha. "Fast food is OK in small doses; not every single day."

"I don't think it's necessarily going to solve the obesity problem in and of itself," said UTHCT Dietician Erin Langewisch.

Langewisch supports the cause, but says taking away the toy does not change the food.

"There's a lot of people who take it to extremes, who don't make it an occasional treat this is their lifestyle," she explained. "But, again, for those people, I don't think this is necessarily going to solve the problem."

Even the new healthier options have a long way to go says Langewisch.

"The calories may be about 50 calories less depending on what your options are," said Langewisch. "The range in there, it's not dramatic and so, again, I really don't feel like it's an issue of a child should never be able to have a Happy Meal."

Health experts say moderation is key. So for kids like Logan, plenty of play means a treat is OK every once in a while.

Chains against the ordinance get a 90 day window for a legislative alternative. Violations under the new version could be punishable by fines up to $1,000 for each kids meal including a toy.

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