How early is too early to give your child McDonalds? - The Hamburglar

Ronald McDonald needed a Happy Meal.
Ronald McDonald Needed a Happy Meal - Steve Baker, Flickr

First I should declare my interest. I love your product Mr Hamburglar. Yourself and Ronald have carried me through many a hangover. After I saw 'Super Size Me' I thought, man I could murder a double cheeseburger. I know all the evil things I'm supposed to think about Maccy D's but my relationship with it is sorta like that 50 Shades of Grey chick,


'I know it's wrong but it feels so right! I don't know what I want!'

'Large fries?'

'Okay!'


So my short answer is that it's never too early to hook a kiddie up with a Happy Meal. Okay no solids before six months but if you want to celebrate the little one's half anniversary with a french fry, go ahead - I won't judge. As the blog says I favour things in moderation; I don't think a burger or two will set a child off on the path to obesity but I do think the association between burgers and happiness might. Guess who creates that association? Yep, it's those parents again.


Strangely children aren't born with an inbuilt love of nuggets and barbeque sauce we create that love and encourage it and reinforce it and then moan about it when it's tugging on our leg in the shopping centre.


I come from a big family and my clever mother, unwilling to deal with a kid pumped full of chocolate and e numbers every year, asked the family to give us mangoes at Easter. They made for a lovely, sweet, egg shaped treat and I still feel a bit giddy when I find a perfectly ripe specimen.

Kids can feel the way they feel about McDonalds about crafts or the farm or their favourite movie. Just because you make it easy for us we don't have to let our children be seduced by your red and yellow glory. My son is yet to have a McDonalds but I imagine one day he will. It won't be because he's begged me for a special treat, it'll be because we're stuck on a motorway or attending a birthday party and I'm hoping that if I play my cards right I'll get to lean in and say,

'If you finish all that, I promise to get you some brussel sprouts.'


Super Busy Mum

23 comments

  1. Love this. My OH isn't a fan of MacDonalds. He's a beef farmer and still moans about the quality of the beef. But I think nowadays, it's all British or Irish so fine. And they've had to buck up the quality of sourcing because of all the backlash.

    I quite like an occasional MaccyDs. As kids that's what it was to us. An occasional visit after school if things were rushed or we needed to be in town around tea time. My son has had a MaccyDs about 3 times I think (he's 4.5yrs). He's not aware of the excitement and hype around it, I don't think any of those times he had a happy meal, or if he did, he can't have been that fussed about it. That's the way I'd like to keep it for the time being. If given the choice, he'd rather go to a pub or a coffee shop for a sandwich...and cake! Like you, I think everything in moderation. He's a healthy child, he doesn't have fizzy drinks, eats a well balanced diet although does have a tendency to eat for England, but is extremely physical and living on a farm, is outside as often as possible. I can't see it causing him too many problems.

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  2. Thanks so much for your comment Emma. It sort of bugs me that they try and promote how fresh and lovely their ingredients are, let's face it we're not really there for the quality. No one goes, I was going to give my child organic veggie stew but now I've seen that ad it's Big Macs for everyone! I'm pleased they support British and Irish farmers though.

    I agree with your stance of fast food as a convenience not a huge reward. Sounds like it's working. A lad who likes cake has his head on straight ;)

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  3. Love this! I banned the dirty arches for ages - but then caved in on a long motorway trip with no other option. My son (Luckily) doesn't like it, but my daughter is quite partial to a nugget, but fortunately we rarely go - only once so far this year. You are right - we train them to like these things ...

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    1. Thank you! I love that, they're definitely going to be known as the dirty arches in my family from now on. I think we're all partial to a nugget right. BTW your blog is so purty

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  4. This is a fab post. I've never really considered that by using MaccyDs as a treat or bribe its you that gives your child the impression its something to look forward to. I love the line "finsh all of that and I promise to get you some brussel sprouts" really puts the post into context :) #MMWBH
    Debbie
    www.myrandommusings.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Debbie. It can be easy to slip into things. I have been known to found shouting, 'Biscuit! Biscuit!' at crisis moments.

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  5. My daughter might have a slight addiction to McDonalds milkshakes. I try not to give her the "food" very often but a happy meal with a little toy does make a good surprise treat

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  6. Those darn toys! I remember as a kid they did these collections and you had to get one a week til you had the set. So obviously I had to bed to go every week. They're so evil they're genius...

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  7. The last line was the best. My kids love brussels sprouts! (Only when their dad makes them, though.)

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    1. I am a recent convert to the sprout. If you get them right they really are little balls of loveliness.

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  8. We only have MacDonalds on a long car trip if it happens to be wherever we stop #MMWBH

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    1. Ahh you're making me feel all nostalgic :)

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  9. We have it occasionally. Mostly we cook at home. I am impressed by your mangos for easter. what a great idea. Moderation is a great thing to teach by the way. If we are absolutely against something our kids are just as likely to revel when they are older but if we teach about the pros and cons then they can take it on board.

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    1. Yeah my mum's such a clever clogs. Weirdly enough though it's chocolate all the way with her grandson... Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Like what you have said in moderation. I also make sure he burns the calories after so we walk or run or play in the park after a meal =) #mmwbh

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    1. Now I LOVE that. Really powerful lesson - eat this but then you should do this. A simple equation but one we all forget about sometimes.

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  11. We're iffy on McD's to be honest, I suppose its up to the parents really at the end of the day. Scary clown photo though btw! Thanks for linking up with #MMWBH

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    1. Iffy's probably a safe place to be :D

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  12. I loved your sentiments here! I think people do gravitate toward processed foods and simple sugars because they're more addictive, but parents can unwittingly create kids who "only" eat chicken nuggets by catering to it. I had to laugh at the end because my kids love brussels sprouts, and cannot understand why anytime someone wants to name the yuckiest food imaginable they always say "brussels sprouts!" I have to admit that I was always scared by that very thing and didn't try my first brussels sprout until after I was 30.

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    1. You must cook them well! When done right they are lush but it's easy to get them wrong!

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  13. I try to avoid Maccy D's as much as possible as I'm not keen on it myself, but it is our panicky just finished an after school club and we have an hour til we're due out again meal as it's on our school drive home.
    I really don't see any harm in it for a treat, it's when it's classed as normal rather than a treat it's an issue I think!

    Stevie x

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    1. Not keen on it! What's wrong with you, it's just carbs and lard, what could go wrong :) I think the message it's a last resort is a good one.

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  14. Agree with your sentiments. Our little ones have no concept of what Maccy Ds is yet and I'm keen to keep it that way for now. Would also happily give them mangoes for Easter too, though hadn't thought of that! It's been an effort trying to persuade my mum that one year olds don't need chocolate though. #MadMidWeekBlogHop

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