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Having a baby is such an exciting journey. From taking care of your baby, putting your baby to sleep, and also feeding your baby, it is a different experience at different ages. What your baby can eat at 1-6 months differs from what can be eaten at 6-12 months and also from a year and above. The question most moms ask is “when can babies eat happy meals?” A happy meal is sold at the American fast-food company, McDonald’s. It has been sold for a very long time and has gained the attention of its target audience which is the kids. Since McDonald’s announced its ‘Global Happy Meals goal” it has sold over 2.5 billion packs. The happy meal is packed in a red cardboard box with a yellow smiley and the McDonald’s logo. Although the name “Happy Meal” is universal, the items placed in the red cardboard box can vary from country to country. According to the McDonald’s Company, the Happy Meal is always changing to make sure you love it as much as your kids do.
What does Happy Meal consist of?
It is important to know what your little one’s meal gotten from a restaurant would consist of. Below are the items that make up the Happy Meals.
- Main item: The main item consists of a hamburger, cheeseburger or small serving of chicken McNuggets.
- Side item: This consist of French fries, apple slices, a Go-Gurt tube or a salad in some countries.
- A drink: Your little one is entitled to either milk, juice or soft drink.
- A toy: Happy Meals are intended to be sold with a toy for your little one. Although this is solely the responsibility of the restaurant in every country.
As a parent, being attentive to what your baby eats can prevent your baby from being at risk of allergies. Ensure you watch your baby closely so you can know what possible food can put your baby at health risk. If your little is allergic to milk or any dairy product, it would be advisable to get either a juice or soft drink. This is important because your baby’s organs are developing and would react badly if not avoided.
Are happy meals healthy?
The McDonald Company has been making extra efforts to make Happy Meals healthier. Fruits (apple slices in every order), vegetables and low-fat dairy have been included in the Happy Meal menu to make kids make healthy choices as regards meals even from a young age. Happy Meals in Poland includes carrot stick in their menu, Happy Meals in Spain features a photo of a melon slice on its packaging and this has increased the selection of melon slices when ordering by 29%. Also, Happy Meals sold in Sweden offers falafel as a vegan option. Happy meals are now being made with less saturated fat, low-fat dairy, no added colours from artificial sources or, chemicals, food dye artificial preservatives. A 2017 report showed that McDonald’s removed soda as an option for kids, swapped apple juice for a lower sugar organic juice, and made a conscious effort to advertise fruits and vegetables as side dishes. The calorie serving per order has reduced by half to ensure that your little one doesn’t have excess calories instead of the essential nutrients while growing up.
Nutritional information is included for transparency as McDonald’s believe that informed choices can only be made by informed customers. Nutritional information can also be checked on the McDonald’s website before ordering. Below are some of the nutritional facts from some Happy Meal items.
McDonald’s Happy Meal Hamburger
- Calories: 250
- Fat: 8.3g
- Saturates: 3.3g
- Carbs: 30g
- Sugar: 6.6g
- Fibre: 2.4g
- Protein: 13g
- Salt: 1.2g
McDonald’s Happy Meal Chicken Nuggets
- Calories: 173
- Fat: 8.9g
- Saturates: 1.2g
- Carbs: 12g
- Sugar: 0.4g
- Fibre: 0.4g
- Protein: 11g
- Salt: 0.34g
McDonald’s Happy Meal Small Fries
- Calories: 237
- Fat: 12g
- Saturates: 1.1g
- Carbs: 29g
- Sugar: 0.4g
- Fibre: 2.6g
- Protein: 2.3g
- Salt: 0.44g
According to the UK’s advertising watchdog, McDonald’s Happy Meal does not count as a food product high in fat, salt or sugar, hence, it is relatively healthy for your little one to eat.
When can babies eat happy meals?
Your baby’s first meal would be either breast milk or formula which caters to the essential nutrients needed by your baby for healthy development. Giving your baby any other fluid rather than breast milk or formula between 1-6 months of age might expose your little one to health risks and increase the chances of your baby having diarrhea. At 6 months of age, your baby can now be introduced to solid meals. Although, your little one might not be able to properly chew and digest every solid meal at 6 months of age. From age 1 and above, your baby’s digestive system is pretty much developed and your baby can now chew and handle more solid meals than before and this includes the McDonald’s Happy Meal.
Every step of taking care of your little one and also feeding him/her is exciting but it is necessary for you to know what type of meal your baby can eat at different age grade. After birth, it has been recommended that your baby should be placed on either breast milk or formula to get the essential nutrients needed for a healthy development. Even at 6 months of age when a baby can be introduced to solid meals, not all solid meals can be given. The McDonald happy meal is specifically for kids, although food items like fruits are being added to the pack to make it healthier and to ensure that kids make healthy choices even when young. It is advised that the McDonald’s Happy Meal should be introduced to a baby from a year and above to enable your baby to chew and digest it properly without any health risk. It is important that you do not rely on only Happy Meals as part of your little one’s solid meals because fast foods meals should not be a part of the diet of a growing child. Fast food cannot totally be a healthy meal.