March 8, 2012
Happy meal, angry children I
recently ate at a restaurant that I shall neither name nor ever frequent again, due to the following encounter. My request was simple- “May I have the kid’s chicken wrap?” My question was answered with a question from my waitress- “Are you eleven or under?” No ma’am, I am not in 6th Grade. While I’m commonly mistaken for a freshman due to my petite stature, I think asking if I’m an eleven year old is getting a little bit offensive. As you might have guessed, my request was denied. As a result, I had to spend $9.00, a frivolous amount of money, on a basket of chicken of which I ate half. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as "a human being below the age of 18 years.” Am I human? Check. Am I under 18? Check. THEN GIVE ME MY KID’S MEAL; I STILL QUALIFY. Whatever happened to Americans being endowed with certain unalienable rights? Surely Thomas Jefferson is
Peyton shows her happiness with the kids sized Happy Meal she is able to purchase at McDonalds. Hannah Brown photo.
rolling in his grave at this injustice. If I’m not old enough to order my own Slap Chop off T.V. or rent the rated R “Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood,” then I should certainly be young enough to order off the kid’s menu. In the event that I cannot order off the kid’s menu, I then seek the next alternative- splitting a meal. But oh look! These same places decide to charge an $8.50 extra plate fee. Gee, 50 cents less for half the food?! What a deal! The amount of respect I have for restaurants that will serve
me a kid’s meal is tremendous. Not only does Panda Express give me the perfect portion of chicken and rice, but I also get a chocolate chip cookie, a fortune cookie, and a soft drink in a COLLECTOR’S CUP! Now that is service, my friends. For the sake of being reasonable, I agree to make a few compromises. I can live without the toy and free bag of cookies. All I really want is to be served the portion of food that is right for me at the right price. Personally, I think it’s all a conspiracy against us children.
Healthy kids act is wack!
As students, we know full well of the relatively new “Healthy Kids Act.” It was introduced in 2008 and has been revised several times. To many, it seems like an innocent attempt to change the future of our state and, more importantly, our country. Obesity in America has skyrocketed in the last generation, and many adults are worried about the up-andcoming generation. While I agree that actions need to be taken about this issue, the “Healthy Kids Act” (HKA) has several flaws that should be addressed. The first of these comes down to the matter of calories. According to the legislation, the entrée must contain less than or equal to 400 calories. This is completely outrageous because calories are totally subjective when it comes to talking about healthy and unhealthy. Let me give you an example: Let’s say you have a 400 calorie cheeseburger
and 400 calories worth of fruit and vegetables. Obviously, the fruits and veggies would be the healthiest choice in this scenario. When it comes down to this, we need not look at calorie content, but rather the ingredients. Food production in today’s society has put a heavier reliance on artificial ingredients. High fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and other artificial sugars and fats have pervaded the food that we eat. In this case, calories have taken a backseat to the ingredients. An entrée with artificial ingredients and low calorie content is definitely not healthier than an entrée with natural ingredients and more calories. The next major flaw in this legislation is its ignorance of students who come from lowincome families. For some kids who come from low-income households, school lunch is sometimes the only meal that they get every day. Shrinking portions is completely disregarding these kids who struggle to get by on this meal.
So, what do we do? As students, we can speak out. Instead of giving us meals with tiny portions, increase portion sizes that include more natural ingredients and wholesome calories. Instead of whole-grain Poptarts and Smart Fries that give a false sense of healthy eating, give us the option of healthy alternatives, like nuts, dried fruit, or trail mixes. Education is also a key part. Teach students to make healthy decisions, instead of forcing foods that seem healthy, like Poptarts or Smart Fries. Not giving students that decision will only make them crave the unhealthy foods even more. America can’t force itself to be healthy. It took a long time for us to get this way and will take even longer to get back out. It is only through the power of the human being that will change our ways.
Bryan Banowetz Opinion Assistant Editor
The food service industry is taking money from us in exchange for obesity, and TLC then exploits obese children in dramatic TV series to take even more of our money. Upon seeing the sad state of our country’s youth, we turn toward emotional eating and are forced to purchase adult meals. It’s a vicious cycle! In keeping with the theme of Lent, I’m trying my best to not be a total glutton, but with the food industry pushing plate after plate toward my pudgy fingers, it sure is a trial. Peyton Rosencrantz Opinion Writer
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