Happy Meal

| January 19, 2010

When I was little, I LOVED McDonald’s Happy Meals – the boxes with the yellow ‘M’ handle and the little plastic-wrapped plastic decoder or plastic figurine of something or other.

Source: The Motherload

Yes, I went to McDonald’s three times when I was in India because I’ll admit, the McAloo and fries were really, really good there. Plus it was so nice, friendly, and fancy. But in the U.S., I haven’t been in one in a long, long time.  There are multiple reasons why, one of the big ones being that little link between fast food and obesity? Yeah…it’s kinda true. So before you agree to to buy your little ones a meal just to collect all 10 figurines, please:

Beyond the health reasons, however, there are other benefits to depend less on take-out and drive-throughs…

…and more on home-cooked, family meals. I know that many of us are so busy that cooking every day seems impossible. But find the time now or pay for it later, as they say.

Study after study shows that eating (healthily) together as a family not only reduces the chance of obesity, but also can lead to lower risk of depression and increase cognitive development. Eating together allows families to share stories and pass down family traditions and knowledge. Much learning happens in the kitchen and around the dining table so whether children are helping stir the pot or set the table, eating together as a family has many immeasurable benefits. Check out this quick video about how obesity can be partly attributed to the decline of the family meal:

Source: Snagfilms

Keep in mind it’s not just eating together physically. Eating fast food together or a home-cooked meal in front of a television isn’t quite what this video is talking about. It is eating healthily together, conversing, interacting, debating, learning, sharing.

Now that sounds like a real  happy meal.

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Category: Featured Articles: Food Politics, Featured Articles: Health & Nutrition, Food Politics, Health & Nutrition, Kids & Food

About the Author (Author Profile)

With a flair for spontaneity, pizzazz, creative excellence and her own unique sense of aesthetic grace and perspective, we have our very dear friend, Belinda (or B, to some of us). Although an incredibly accomplished professional and career woman, B’s down-to-earth approach and demeanor transcends all scenarios, communities and people. She manifests, in her day-to-day, the essence of the word “Zomppa” as demonstrated by her extraordinary commitment to creating sustainable and positive change for us and future generations to come. She’s asked for a dog every year since she was five. Check out Belinda’s work on global education research and coaching: www.hummingbirdrcc.com or more about her portfolio www.belindachiu.com.

Comments (4)

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  1. It takes little effort and it’s very rewarding, family-wise and health-wise.

  2. a Nordn'Ireland dad says:

    A brilliant post, Belinda; will share it on my Facebook. Keep up the good work!

  3. Hazeleva says:

    I have always cooked the main meal each day and can confirm the truth of the saying, ‘The family that eats together, stays together.’

    It doesn’t have to take long to cook a healthy meal. Take for instance the Italian Pranzo del Cornuto (the cuckold’s dinner), made in a rush before he gets home – spaghetti dressed with butter/olive oil and parmesan cheese, grilled meat and a green salad. All you need for carbs, protein and greens!

  4. Patty says:

    Fantastic piece, Belinda. While I agree that the process of preparing a meal that is both healthy and delicious for the family doesn’t have to take all afternoon, I also know that it does require some pre-planning/organization. If you know in advance what you want to make, you are more likely, I find, to get those ingridents at the store! Planning is key!