Before I had kids I wanted to believe that I was rarely if ever going to take my child to McDonald's. That was before I had kids. The reality is that is isn't as bad it can be. It's all about choices. Plus it can be a real sanity saver. When it's cold here in MN and you need to get out of the house, McDonald's playground is a good place for kids to burn off energy.
Sure, some argue that those tubes and slides are covered in germs and maybe kids with weaker immune systems should stay away. Or maybe they should go there to be exposed to germs and build up some immunities. Anyways, I have yet to attribute a sniffle ot runny nose to McDonald's. Seriously, how can I tell if she got that from McDonald's or holding hands with a friend at a playdate or sitting in the shopping cart at the grocery store. Unless you keep your child in a completly sterile environment at all other times, can you really attribute a virus to playing there.
And as far as food goes, yes I have read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and I avoided McDonald's for many years after that (combined with an episode of food poisoning that could have been from there or from food at an outdoor concert that day), but I have to sometimes turn a blind-eye to the monoply they have on the beef, chicken, & potato, etc. market if I want to go there with my daughter.
I am lucky in that my daughter like a cheeseburger, apples (w/o the dip), & milk. She doesn't care for fries or pop all that much, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that I gave her apples & milk initially and it's the norm for her to have that. Although, what gets me is when people tell me that I should get the chicken nuggets for her (which she never wants -- she likes cheeseburgers) because they are healthy. Seriously people, read labels.
Both the cheeseburger and a 4-piece chicken nuggets have 12 grams of fat. Yes, the cheeseburger has an extra hundred calories, but the cheeseburger also has 2 grams of fiber (chicken nuggets have ZERO), a cheeseburger has 15 grams of protein and the nuggets have 10 grams. With a cheeseburger you get 6% RDA of vitamin A, 2% of vitamin C, 20% of calcium, and 15% of iron -- the 4-pc nuggets you get 2% of Vitamin C & 4% of iron (that's it.) Although you get double the amount of sodium in a cheeseburger than in the 4-pc nuggets, so the nuggets win out there. But you have to remember that if you use any sauces, you have to add extra. All the sauce add an extra 50 calories and other than the honey, all the sauces will bring the sodium content to being on par with the cheeseburger. So, when you consider when you eat the nuggets you are getting very little else other than fat & sodium, the cheeseburger (not that's healthy) looks like the better option. I don't see anything healthy about the nuggets at all.
So, it may not be the best choice for an entree for my child, but we don't go too terribly much. But we do go and I don't feel bad about it.
She eats a lot of fruits & veggies when we are at home and we have high fiber bread and brown rice at home, so I think she gets quite a bit of healthy food. Plus I think it's good for her to learn at an early age to make healthy choices and not feel like she has to be restricted from the Golden Arches.