The state of California recently outlawed the inclusion of toys in Happy Meals at McDonald's (and other fast food chains) due to the lack of nutritional value in the meals. The intent is to incentivize fast food chains to provide more healthy choices and to market healthy eating habits to kids. Though this legislation is innovative in encouraging kids to opt for a salad over a cheeseburger by way of a free toy, as noted by the CNN broadcaster this morning, few kids need a toy to spur their desire for a cheeseburger.
Thinking back to my happy meal days, I remember the desperation I held for collecting all McDonald's Ty teenie-beanie babies and the persistence I had in begging my parents for another Happy Meal. Had I been faced with the choice between a new mini Ally Alligator a la salad or chicken nuggets sans toy, I'm sure I'd have choked down some leafy greens.
This legislation won't stop kids from preferring beef patties slathered in ketchup over tofu and green beans, but with the right toy, it might make a few rethink their orders.