NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parents with small children know all too well how alluring that toy with the toy with the kids’ meal can be at a fast food restaurant.
But as CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, new legislation being introduced in the New York City Council would take the toy out of meals with too many calories.
Happy Meals have come with all sorts of different toys over the years, from Hot Wheels cars to Barbie items and Kung Fu Panda gear.
But some lawmakers feel the toys are giving kids an incentive to order an unhealthy meal.
“I remember, as a kid, pestering my mother because I wanted that toy,” said City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-5th). The councilman said he begged for Happy Meals for the toys even though he was brought up in a kosher household and could not eat the food, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
Kallos has now introduced a bill Thursday that would put an end to putting toys in kids’ meals that are often unhealthy.
The measure, dubbed “Healthy Happy Meals,” would ban fast food restaurants from offering free toys and other incentives with kids’ meals, like a McDonald’s Happy Meal, if the food in the children’s meal contains more than 500 calories and more than 600 milligrams of sodium.
“We’re trying to make sure that any happy meal is a healthy happy meal, and making sure that any incentives, be they toys or anything else, are tied to healthy meal choices and healthy eating,” Kallos said.
It would also require the inclusion of a fruit, a vegetable or a whole grain serving.
“An estimated one-fourth of a child’s meals come from restaurants or fast food places. These could be healthy calories,” Kallos said in a statement. “It is difficult enough for parents to give their children healthy food without the fast food industry spending hundreds of million dollars per year advertising to children and nearly half of that on toys.”