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Opinions on Mac Donalds needed for Radio 5 interview tomorrow

215 replies

Carriemumsnet · 14/04/2005 17:13

Hi all

Justine's going to be on the Victoria Derbyshire phone in tomorrow morning 10-11am

The topic is:

It's now 50 years since McDonald's opened its first store in the US. Obviously since then its become a global power?but with the film super-size me and the anti-obesity campaigning, we are asking - "Has McDonald's had its day?"

Obviously because of how McDonald's markets itself towards kids and families, parents opinion is vital in this. Does the parent of today still take the kids to McDonald's for a birthday treat?once a month treat?or do we really now feel too worried about what's in the food? Do we think giving our kids a bit of what's bad for them as a treat is actually a good thing?or is it that we're actually impressed with the moves McDonald's have made to introduce healthier options..and after all - they know how to keep the children entertained!

Your views please!

Thanks as always

OP posts:
Freckle · 14/04/2005 17:23

My children have never been McDonald's "regulars". I could probably count the number of times they have been there on the fingers of both hands (and my eldest is now 11), so perhaps I'm not the person to respond.

For what it's worth, I think McDonald's has a lot of answer for in today's obesity problem. They have always known that their food was basically unhealthy, but only responded to recent high profile criticisms of their food when they could see that the writing was on the wall for their normal menu. I think they are cynical and exploitative - but that could be said of a number of global and multi-national organisations.

Their "healthier" menu has not persuaded me that I should take my children there more. You can buy more nutritious and better food elsewhere.

Freckle · 14/04/2005 17:23

Oh and what station is the Victoria Derbyshire (was going to type VD and then thought better of it!) show on??

serenity · 14/04/2005 17:24

I don't have a problem with McDonalds at all. My kids have it once or twice a month, usually if we've gone out shopping at the weekend. I would only see it as harmful if you were eating as a main meal pretty much all the time.

I think people get a bit too precious over this. All things in moderation I say. Apologies if I've xposted with any antiMcD people, not meant to be directed at anyone but I'm a slow typer.

Roobie · 14/04/2005 17:28

While I can still excercise some influence over what my dd eats (she is 3) I would not dream of introducing her to the dubious 'delights' of McDonalds. IMO junk food is exactly that so, given the choice, why introduce your kids to it? There are so many other options for birthday treats these days.

Not that I think that everything that goes down my child's neck must be amazingly worthy from a nutritional point of view - as long as there is a balanced diet then a few empty calories now and then won't hurt - it's just that McDonald's is so aggressive in its marketing to kids ..everything is geared towards luring them in and maintaining the pester power.

Though perhaps my views are rather coloured from having seen Super-Size me recently!!

morningpaper · 14/04/2005 17:28

A few weeks ago my pregnancy cravings were kicking in and I was stuck in Wales - desperate for a Burger King Beanburger Meal with Diet Coke (v. specific urge).

It turns out that Burger King hasn't hit Wales yet. So I went into a McDonald's. This was my first McDonald's experience. I couldn't believe how bad it was. The quorn burger was - in all honesty - the worst vegetarian 'food' I have ever eaten. It was like the air-freshener insole from my trainers, but without the nice smell. If it had been an actual disk of white rubber I wouldn't have known the difference. I honestly couldn't eat it.

It also took 35 minutes for me to be served and to get the meal - not exactly fast food.

AND I'm not even a vegetarian! Damn cravings.

So that was my first McDonald's experience and there is NO WAY I would take my daughter there. I want her to learn about FOOD and I take her out three or four times a week to eat in pubs and restaurants (this is definitely a bad expensive habit!). Most eateries have woken up to the fact that families are a good source of revenue and are becoming more and more child-friendly. Last weekend I was in Exeter and we stopped for a cream tea in a small tea house we hadn't been in before - and the manager brought out a box of toys for my daughter. I've never had a bad experience in a restaurant - people are always very welcoming and go out of their way to be helpful when we eat out together.

I also want my child to learn how to behave in a restaurant, not to expect and want presents and new toys in order to behave for ten minutes!

zebraX · 14/04/2005 17:28

Freckle: Radio 5 Live, 693 or 909 MW.

I've never taken my kids to McD's, I perceive that it's poor value for money. I'm very picky about the quality of the food my kids eat, too. Doesn't preclude them having chips once or even 2x/week, for instance, but I think McD's French fries probably aren't good enough. AS for the rest of the menu...(!) Do people who have been there think it's good value for money, quality food?

Honest questions, am I being unfair to McD's?

bundle · 14/04/2005 17:29

I'm not against treats, everything in moderation, but we don't regard mcd's as a treat in our house. dd1 has been there twice, once for a birthday party where she said she wanted ketchup (yes, but what would you like with it dear, said the helper). treats for us are chocolate or a gingerbread man or some fresh raspberries. i regard the marketing of toys with junk food by mcd's as pretty despicable, as it puts pressure on you by your peers to eat crap. the latest efforts to provide fruit, salads and milk are a move in the right direction, but why don't they go further and make them half the price of the other rubbish??

zebraX · 14/04/2005 17:30

ps, the WORST children's party I ever attended was at McD's, the staff ran it and obviously hated having to do so. Crowded hot room, unhappy over-whelmed children. Honestly, my kids rarely get invited to birthday parties, but I would seriously consider turning down any future invites to a McD's birthday party.

foxinsocks · 14/04/2005 17:30

I'm one for 'all in moderation' as well. I cook all the time for my kids, they certainly eat 5 portions of fruit and veg every day, they eat oily fish and love their food. However, I've got no problem if they have a macdonalds meal every now and then. I mean we all eat out at some stage and goodness knows how much fat etc. is in restaurant food, especially the awful kids menus that are in most of the restaurants here.

PsychoFlame · 14/04/2005 17:31

We agree with serenity....all things in moderation!!!! Some people are way too precious about it all, and reckon that all obesity problem can be directly blamed on Macdonalds. It seems to me that no parent wants to take blame in their childrens bad eating habits and than weight problems...they would rather blame others. My children have a good diet with treats...if that includes 'junk' than so be it. My diet contains wine & chocolate & cream cakes, they are MY kiddies choose other types of treat.

One thing I have noticed in real-life is that the people who make the biggest 'against Macdonalds' statements are the ones who smoke in front of their kiddies......a hugely bigger bad thing!!!!!!


morningpaper · 14/04/2005 17:32

Seriously, why DO you go to McDonald's though? Why not just go to a nice tea place or something and have a cake?!

Do you think it's an easy place to go with kids? Is it the toys? It is the food? Value for money? Do your kids ask for it? Am I an old lady?

Blu · 14/04/2005 17:36

The constant advertising of the toys in children's tv time drives me spare.

I think McD's tastes foul, (all of it, including the coffee!) and is not at all a treat, and I don't particularly want ds to get a taste for heavily salted/msg etc foods.

crunchie · 14/04/2005 17:36

My kids have always eaten at McDonalds

It is not an every day or every week thing, perhaps once or twice a month. They and we see it as a treat and although I totally accept it is not 'healthy' food, they still enjoy it. I do try to choose better options - chicken strips over nuggets (and now there is NO WAY we'll do nuggets) but they do like it sometimes.

I read once that a visit to McD's can be a saviour for a parents sanity - where else for around a fiver (2 kids) can you go and see that no matter how bad your children are behaving there are much much worse out there

My dh likes McD's more than me, although an occassional Quorn burger is fine. My Newphew has been ADVISED by Doctors to eat there since the burgers are 100% meat - he is very allergic to a lot of foods, but can eat McD's no bun.

So yes it isn't healthy, but I don't have junk food in the house - OK oven chips and fish fingers but again once a month - so I am not worried.

Also one last note as my kids are getting older they are much more able to behave themselves in restaurants, therefore I am finding we are going less and less to McD's and more to other places as their food tastes are developing. We did chinese a month ago, they love pizza/pasta and anything non spicey. I don't think McDonalds has created a generation of Obese kids as everyone has the choice. It is not the fault of a company like that it is the fault of parents, who need more eductaion on what is a healthy meal - not simply McDonalds is bad. A lot more people serve McDonalds type food at home every day, also every other restaurant you go to which has a kids menu only has junk food on it. Why say it is one company when it is the whole industry and consumer demand.

FFS Turkey Twizzler sales have apparently GONE UP since Jamies programme - what does that tell you!!!

soapbox · 14/04/2005 17:37

Frankly, I can't stand McDs - all brand and no substance in my view.

Why anyone would view a mouthful of the garbage that they pretend to be food as a treat for their children is beyond me.

Not persuaded by the moderation argument either (although this does work for me on some foods) its a bit like saying 'well one injection of herion is fine as long as they're not doing it all the time'! (Ok bad case of exaggeration there but you get my drift)

However(sigh) despite my best efforts my DCs do look on it as a treat and very occaisionally my DH (who is similarly retarded on the taste front) takes them to sample their delights!

At then end of the day, its the bldy toys that gets them every time - until they grow up past the point of being appealed to by a crappy toy probably produced in some developing world sweatshop, then my influence alone won't be enough to stop them wanting to go. But whether they actually get to go is quite another matter

marz · 14/04/2005 17:42

I have 2 dd's 18mth (roughly!!) and 3 1/2 yr old. They have McD's about 1-2 mth. Reason is mainly convenience. Am hoping that trying not to make a big deal of it will stop them being obsessed by it. Think toys are great but wish they would be more healthy. It is rubbish to offer the fruit option and water etc when there is the milkshake and sweet drink on display everywhere. Either take the whole experience and go the whole hog on junk or don't go at all is my opinion. What I wish is that they would make chips from just potato and not add a bottle of salt to them (we have to wait ages to get unsalted ones) and that they would not add sugar etc to nuggets, just make them as healthy as if they were cooked at home without additives etc. As for the nutrition list, I read it last week and it is stupid. They meal (that most kids have, chips , shake/sweet drink and chicken of some kind) is still very unhealthy and fullof fat and sugar. They have just dressed it up with water/veg and fruit nutritional values at the top so that is probably what most people see.
Much to my dismay, dd1 said a few weeks ago that Old McDonald (that is what she calls it) is a better cooker than Mama. I have educated her and told her that Mama is a better cooker by far becuase she cooks real food! Old McD tastes good because it is full of additives and flavourings, it is not real food and it is junk but ok to have every now and then. so now if you ask her who is the better cooker she will spout the above!!!

foxinsocks · 14/04/2005 17:43

in terms of quality of food and calorie content, I'm sure most restaurants are just as bad if not worse than McD (I remember this pizza express story recently).

floatingvoter · 14/04/2005 17:43

Dh, a vegetarian hates mcD's with a vengence and as a result we have only ever eaten there once with dd in an emergency in a foreign city when we were absolutely starving and could'nt find anywhere else.( It was predictably vile and dd was sick 2 hours later, I think because of the high fat content.) She now wouldn't eat McD's because of dh opinions even if it was the only thing available.
i think the food is not food at all, is full of emplty calories, dubious additives and cooked in artery clogging animal fat. if that's the way you like your food then good luck to you. i can think of much nicer ways of inducing coronary heart disease.I genuinely hope that our general awareness of what we feed our children, which has been highlighted in recent weeks, will eventually make Mcdonalds a distant bad memory in 10 years time.

marz · 14/04/2005 17:43

Foxinsocks but that doesn't make it ok does it?

Blu · 14/04/2005 17:46

DS is not restaurant-trained. If anyone wants to save their sanity by seeing how badly other kids behave, I will gladly give you a timetable and you can observe his antics at a place near you!
But I discovered yesterday that cafe rouge do a children's menu of real food for £3-75 with a drink and pudding included. And DS enjoyed it, and since he was not being distracted by other tumultous children, nor had to shout to be heard above the din, he sat down and had most of a conversation with me.
And I enjoyed the v nice coffee. I just can't think why I would ever enter McD again. If we were out and hungry, I'd get him an egg sandwich from M&S.

foxinsocks · 14/04/2005 17:47

no it doesn't but I don't believe people don't take their children out at all to any restaurants to save them from eating food that is bad for them.

PsychoFlame · 14/04/2005 17:47

For me, I take the children to macdonalds because of the truly evil looks I got from diners in restaurants while trying to breastfeed....apparently breastfeeding mums aren't welcome in other places, (altho they do offer bottle warming facilities, so they obviously welcome other babies, just not mine!!).
Macdonalds 'welcomed' me, and didn't sit in judgement over my naked nipples(sorry, couldn't resist adding that word!)
My kiddies enjoy the food, and as crunchie said, the burger patties are 100% meat, and so suitable for my DS2 who is coeliac (without the bun obviously). I cannot guarantee that anywhere else. In fact, one restaurant we attempted TOLD us to go elsewhere as they couldn't give us ANYTHING on their menu that was 'safe'

Roobie · 14/04/2005 17:49

I don't think it's particularly a question of being too precious about eating 'junk' food or anything - McD's have as much right to sell junk food as much as sweet and cake manufacturers etc. IMO it all comes down to their message....that their food is actually good for you and the fact that they are so ubiquitous and hence become a lifestyle choice.

gothicmama · 14/04/2005 17:50

DD has been to MCD's once cos she wanted the little pony toy the staff were very nice when we went in with our meat eating friends and made dd a salad roll (I think just didn't put burger in) anyway despite my misgivings (vegetarian, ethics,etc.)dd enjoyed herself and I hope now Mcd's won't become something amazing to her cos her friends go but she doesn't . I just wish they would do a vegeburger for kids without red kidney beans in so she could that cos she is bound to go again some day

gothicmama · 14/04/2005 17:51

psychoflame maybe they should share lol

late · 14/04/2005 17:54

Who said McDonald's know how to entertain children?! The McDonald's I have been into aren't child friendly really, awkward with prams so can't take older ones and their parties always seem really really really awful. Only used to go once or twice a year as a treat but with all the recent publicity have stopped and no longer see it as a treat, there are so many other temptations anyway. I am not convinced by their healthier options claims and fed up of the toys not being available on the odd occassion that I have taken the children. for a treat I take them to the toy shop instead of McDonald's and would rather pay £10 for a decent toy than a McDonald toy "meal".

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