38 answers

When Did You Stop Buying "Happy Meals" for Your Kids?

Hello ladies,

My daughter who is seven asked me for a value meal when we went to McDonalds the other day.(No we dont eat fast foods everyday, maybe once weekly) It kinda caught me off guard, she told me that she no longer needed the toy anymore and wanted a bigger meal. I have always gotten her the "Mighty Kids Meal" or whatever its called and she eats all of that.I feel like a value meal is too much food for a 7 yr old. I was just curious to know when did your kids ask you for a value meal instead of a kids meal?


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I've never been big on the kids meals. Usually I just order off the value menu and split it between my 2 kids. It's way cheaper to do it that way and besides we don't need any of the junk toys that just end up in the garbage anyway.

1 mom found this helpful

the value meal is too big for a 7-year-old. if the mcdonalds has a calorie chart posted, look at it or search it out online. the mighty kids meal is bigger than the happy meal, and either one is enough calories for me...I'm way over 7! good luck!

My 7 yo son no longer gets the Happy Meals or kid's meals anywhere. He never has been a "kid's menu" kind of kid--he's looking for broccoli soup, shrimp, etc! :-)
But now he likes the snack wraps at McD's when we do go. Most of his friends, also 7, are phasing out the toy meals.....

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I agree with another mom that talked about Food Inc!!! Shocking what we as a society have allowed into our regular eating patterns! We have killed off any idea of real food for cheap processed foods... gross.
My family became veggies after seeing the movie although it is not a pro-vegetarian movie. It is more about getting back to basics and raising/growing food that is REAL once again!
Anyhow you should stop eating fast food all together, but since that is not likely to happen giving her larger portions of that fake food isn't a good idea.

3 moms found this helpful

I think this would be a good time to start teaching your children portion control and good eating habits. The mighty kids meal should be suffice for a child her age. Teach her to eat slowly. Think back to when we were kids (at least when I was a kid), and, all of the meals for grown-ups were about the size of a mighty kids meal now. Please don't let her get pulled into the eating too much craze. Maybe instead of a McDonald's night, you should have a veggie/fruit dinner night. No cooking involved, just wash and cut. Maybe add a plain yogurt dip and drizzle some healthy oil on the veggies? I feel so sad for our kids growing up today.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm 40 years old and still get the happy meal:)

Let her know it's the same size as getting something off the regular menu (ex. the size of a cheeseburger is the same regardless) except that you get a toy too. In her case, let her know that if she's too old for the toy, she can make another child really happy by giving it to them. If you're going that often (which is kind of a lot - sorry), perhaps suggest to her that you'll collect the toys and donate them to a children's hospital or something.

2 moms found this helpful

You have lots of responses, but I just have to let you know because this happen just yesterday. My 14 year old was at the library working on 4-H projects all day. She called asking about lunch but didn't want to stop working--I asked her what she wanted--her response "anything but a banana!" We never eat out but I was off to a softball game. I got her a cheese burger happy meal with apple dippers and chocolate milk. She was so excited!!! She gave the toy to a little boy who just went crazy with excitement-that made her day too. The portion size was perfect.

My answer-never too old, but limit eating out or you will never see the happiness a happy meal can bring!

PS -we all know that McDs is not good for us - that too much of anything isn't good for us - but I feel if you deprive your kids of all fast food, all sweets, pop, ect. --when they are on their own and can choose whatever they want to eat-they may go overboard. (have you heard-Freshman Fifteen) Teach everything in moderation. My opinion! Which you are probably doing already!

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe she has hit a growth spurt and the kids meal isn't enough for her right now. I started buying adult meals for my oldest daughter when she was 8. She's almost 12 now but her 10yo and 8yo sisters both still eat the kids meals. The 8yo still gets the 4 piece happy meal and that is plenty for her. All kids are different. Make sure that if you let her get an adult meal that she knows she doesn't have to eat everything. When my daughter started getting the adult meal we had to make sure she knew it was okay not to clean her plate. We threw out food (waste of money) but it was better than her over eating and stretching her stomach (or vomiting). It never hurts to buy it once for her and let her decide if it is too much food or not. Just get it regular size.

1 mom found this helpful

I've never been big on the kids meals. Usually I just order off the value menu and split it between my 2 kids. It's way cheaper to do it that way and besides we don't need any of the junk toys that just end up in the garbage anyway.

1 mom found this helpful

when i was still eating hamburgers and fries i would get the happy meal as an adult. ( i went to sonic for a drink ) the portion sizes are HUGE these days and i bet that when the origional burgers came out they were about the size of the happy meal burgers. i was under the impression that 12 and under was considered a kid. thus being able to eat off the kid meals. was she wanting something different from the value meal side? what was her reason for wanting to skip the kids meal? she wanted to be grown up?

My boys were about 10 or 11 when they stopped eating kid's meals. But at some restaurants, they will still get a kids meals because the portions are so huge at restaurants- and they are 13 and 14 now. The regular meals are much bigger in comparison to the regular meals and way too much food for a 7 year old. Also take into consideration the calories and sodium in one of these meals- huge differences. If she is still hungry after eating a kids meal, perhaps offer some fruit instead.

If she can finish a happy meal and still feel hungry, there is no reason not to get a bigger meal. But if the happy meal is truly enough food for her, then stick with it.
Sometimes I still get one for myself if I'm not too hungry!

If you think it's too much food, you could always get yourself a burger/chicken and then split the fries that come with the value meal.

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My 11 yr old son often still asks for them. He gets the "bigger" ones..with the double cheeseburger or whatever.. but he still loves getting the toys. But often it depends on what place we are at. If we go to ChikFilA, he often prefers a full sized chicken sandwich.. which you cannot get in a kid's meal. In restaurants, it depends on what is on the menu... Sometimes he just doesn't want the chicken fingers, lol. He's eaten a Queensland Salad at Outback more than once. But he'll still get a double-cheeseburger kids meal at Burger King 9 times out of 10. I get annoyed, bc ordering off the value menu is sometimes cheaper. But, his sister (who is almost 9) still orders just kid's meals.. and they like to play with the toys together.

If your daughter no longer wants the toy and asks for the larger meal... maybe you should check out the value menu items at places. They are often less $ than a 'regular' meal off the 'regular' menu. If she doesn't eat it all, maybe she'll change her mind and decide that it is too much food and go back to the kids menu.

My son is 8 and for a while has been asking for a grown up meal, in other words, something without a toy. The value meals are too big for him, but the mini meals are just right. He thinks he's getting too old for the toys (unless they are something REALLY cool!).

Usually I'll buy a value meal plus a sandwich (like a McChicken) and a small Happy Meal with apples. My daughter (just turned 7--she still wants the toy usually) eats the Happy Meal hamburger or chicken nuggets, my son eats the McChicken, I eat the value meal sandwich. Then the two kids split the apples, and we all share the fries.

We switched around 6. We do 2 things....

You can get a happy meal without the toy in a regular bag - just order it that way. You still get the happy meal portion but no toy and my daughter thought she was getting the adult meal.

When she actually outgrew the hamburger meal but the 1/4 pounder was too big, we did the 1/4 pounder meal value meal and then I bought a side of apples. I only have her 1/2 the burger and the fries and she had to eat the apples and wait 20 min before the other part of the 1/4 pounder/big mac. Sometimes she really was that hungry. sometimes she ate the rest of her burger for lunch the next day etc.

My 9 year old girl still gets a happy meal and it seems to fill her up fine still. Plus, she gets upset if the 2 year old gets a toy and she doesn't, even if it'll never be played with. :)

Hi There,

Just wanted to give you my two cents... I STILL eat the Kid's Meal! I think the issue here is not the amount of food, but she wants to feel like she's a big girl. Instead, offer her items from the dollar menu, or offer to share with her. This is a great way to limit the amount of calories, and make her feel like she's older.

My son started eating regular meals at about 8.
I think you know how much food she can handle. If she is eating all of her meal and is still hungry then she should move up. If she is satified when she finishes her mighty kids then i would keep her there for a little while. McDonald's meals seem to be smaller than other burger places meals.

Well I'm 23 and I still order the might kids meal for myself =)

The 6 nuggets and a small fry and small drink are alot better than 10 nuggets big fry and bigger drink.

I feel like it's portion control, it also feels me up fine. So i'm assuming your children may be going through a frowing stage where they need more food/nutrients?

It depends on the restaurant, but 9 or 10 is when my boys needed more food from their meal.

Honestly, my 10 year old has probably had a 'Happy Meal' about 3 times in his life! We don't really eat a lot of fast food, but probably have burgers or hot dogs and fries from a really great local chain maybe 2 times a month. When my son was 7 he was still eating the smaller size 'kiddie' burger and fries. Just last year at age 9 he began requesting a regular size sandwich, but I still get him a small fry. As far as happy meals go- we just don't need another junky plastic toy that gets broken and thrown out! I say save your money, get her the smallest size sandwich and fry from the value meal and don't buy into the 'kiddie/MightyKids' marketing. 'Mighty Kids' just sounds like another word for 'kids who eat too much fast food and are getting too many calories' to me!

We don't do fast food much either. And I've never been a fan of those prepackaged kids meals because I feel they short change the kid out of food - the portions are ridiculously small yet really expensive! The emphasis with these meals isn't portion control so much as marketing. So short of the meal having some must-have toy, I have always ordered from the regular menu for the kids. My kids' ages range from 4-10.

To manage the amount of food the kids would get individually, I would often just split one adult sized order between two kids for instance - very easy to do with things like chicken nuggets and fries. If they want a burger, I'd stick to just a plain single burger with nothing on it, and perferably from the junior menu if there is one.

Many of the restaurants that don't have a junior menu do have a dollar menu where the portions are significantly smaller than their larger sized counterparts. So I'd order from that and if necessary take things off the burger if they were too loaded with "stuff", and split the fry order (always the regular or medium sized) if it's too much.

I avoid the pop and sweet drinks altogether, and order a cup of water for each kid instead. Sometimes chocolate milk for a special treat...but the sugar/corn syrup content is too much! So kiss a quiet afternoon goodbye! LOL.

Doing things this way cuts down unnecessary calories, controls portions, and saves money. If someone does want more (not often since this seems to satisfy everyone just fine) we can add a little more. If they want a cheap toy, I just get them something frivolous from the dollar bin at Target. It's the same kind of stuff, and it's only a dollar most of the time.

In case anyone is wondering, DH and I order from the dollar menu only. We don't need the extra calories either, and are mindful of that...so to control *our* portions we stick to the smaller portions and avoid the meal-deals too.

My 7 yo son no longer gets the Happy Meals or kid's meals anywhere. He never has been a "kid's menu" kind of kid--he's looking for broccoli soup, shrimp, etc! :-)
But now he likes the snack wraps at McD's when we do go. Most of his friends, also 7, are phasing out the toy meals.....

My 10 year old still gets the Happy Meal because she likes the toy, although she's always more than happy to finish up any of her little sister's leftover food. She's about 50-50 in sit down restaurants on kid menus and regular menus, depends on her mood. I think she could easily eat a bigger McDonalds meal, but they are so high in calorie already, so I figure, why push it?

I'm with those who say let her have the larger meal if she's outgrown the Happy Meal for whatever reasons. If you see that she can't finish it, make her get a happy meal or choose from the $1 menu next time. Honestly, the double cheeseburger meal is not much more expensive than a Happy Meal and doesn't add many more calories.

I do know adults who like Happy Meals because of the portions. I tend to have a bigger appetite and the metabolism to handle a Quarter Pounder meal or a Double Cheeseburger meal occasionally (once/month).

The answer is probably quite dependent upon your child, so I'm sorry I don't have better advice.

It depends on what she wants to eat. My 9 year old son will sometimes get a Mighty Kids Meal and sometimes he will get the grilled chicken sandwhich. He never gets the french fries. I used to get one of my kids fries and the other apple dippers and they would share but now neither of them wants the fries. McDonald's will give you apples on the value meal if you ask. Since we RARELY eat at fast food restaurants I let him order what he wants on the few occassions that we go. If it is only the issue of the toy, give it as a gift to a small child or if your child's class/school does treasure or reward chests (teachers usually ask for donations if they do) then donate to that.

my 10 yo and 7 yo still eat the regular Happy Meal size, not the Mighty Meal. I figure whenever they ask is when we'll switch. Good luck.

the value meal is too big for a 7-year-old. if the mcdonalds has a calorie chart posted, look at it or search it out online. the mighty kids meal is bigger than the happy meal, and either one is enough calories for me...I'm way over 7! good luck!

Is it that she needs more food or is she just feeling like she wants more of a grown up meal and doesn't want the "childish" stigma of a happy meal? You can always just get a 6 piece McNugget and fries (maybe go up to a medium fry), you don't have to order the 10 piece value meal.

My 8 year old son can finish the 10 piece value meal on his own without a problem but he's always had a big appetite.

Good luck,

I think it depends on the meal. A chicken nuggest value meal may be the right size, or just a regular cheeseburger meal, but a Big Mac would definitely be to much.

My son is 9 and we started buying him the regular meals this year, but we usually go to Burger King, and they have the Whopper junior which is perfect. Also chicken tenders are the right size for in between kids.

I would try and buy a smaller value meal if she wants it, she most likely wouldn't finish it so I wouldn't stress about that.

My son's appetite became ravenous around age 6 1/2 and the Happy Meals were no longer enough for him, however he would still (sometimes) want the toy which you can buy seperately. He was going through a growing spurt at that time. Now his growth spurt has leveled off but he has become more interested in sports this past year, so still eats the larger meal. I can't say that he eats all of it, but I prefer that he not eat all the fries anyway. He is not overweight and we only eat fast food about once a week.

My eldest is 7 and he still has the kids meal , he looks forward to seeing what toy he will have. I suppose it depends on the child and how much of an appetite they have , my kids are not big eaters and the kids meal with 4 nuggats and fries is enough for them. If she is still hungry after the kids meal then yes maybe she does need more , you could always compromise and ask that instead of the fries she has a something else with it (the salad for example) , but from what I have read the salads are not that healthy anyway , so if it's a treat then you may aswell let her have the meal she chooses.

I still eat a kids meal when I eat fast food! It's the perfect portion, if there is such a thing for fast food! :)

I still get the kids meal for myself, but my kids like the value meals, I'd say the switch happened around 9 yo. No biggie, saves me money, gets them full, and keeps my house and car uncluttered from all those annoying toys!!

My son is 8 and I still get him the happy meal with 4 chicken nuggets. It's not enough food, so I'll either get him apples and then buy an extra fries, or give him part of my salad. At other places like Wendy's, we just buy separate items from the value menu. (But if we get soda, he'll fill up on it instead of the food.)

my 7 year old still want the happy meal ,i think because i don't buy it often he usually is fine with a double chesseburger and a drink ,so in special ocassions he wants a happy meal but he doesnot finished and he give the fries to his brother and sister .i do think a value meal is a large meal but maybe she wants to try another burger .

It depends on your child. Each is different. You can get just a cheeseburger meal with small drink. If it's not on the menu, just request it. I do that for myself if I don't want the big meals. She probably just is getting "too old" for the toy meals, even the larger ones. My son went through that. It is a transition but be creative on what you order. You can order a nugget meal with come with 8. Take a couple for yourself if she can't eat 8. I think age 7 and up is when kids beging to start thinking they're too old for the little kids meals, lol. Always ask for a small drink and fries. If she doesn't mind saving her burger to eat later, she can do that. Some people don't like left over burgers. I do! LOL And some of my kids do as well. Some don't. So it's like getting a meal and a snack for the price of one.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

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My daughter who is 6 almost 7 and is very tal, muscular etc for her age. (she has no fat and wears 12s in pants) She stopped asking about 6 months ago.

Instead I get the $1 McDouble. Not as big as a value meal burger but bigger than a kids meal. A medium fri and a drink. To her this is a bigger meal but its not as big as a value and it is the same price as a kids meal (but a bigger drink, fry and burger minus the toy)

If she is asking for it, get it for her. I remember my son about that age being more hungry (they are growing). My son is 10 and is often not ordering from the kids menu because the portions are too small for him. There is nothing wrong with her asking for a bigger meal.

I still encourage my 15 yr old to eat the smaller meals (and then have an additional fruit or veg as a snack later). The fat and calorie content on a full meal is horrible. I eat the kids meals myself as well. I do allow my growing teen to get the "full deal" on occasion because I know she can metabolize it better than I can. The key is finding balance I think - best of luck in finding it!

My 6 year old not gets the 10 piece nugget meal, and usually eats most of the chicken but not the fries.

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