The other night I was following a Twitter party falling under the hash tag of #McdChanging. Apparently McDonald’s was sponsoring the party, and they were asking those at the party for suggestions that McDonald’s could implement for its consumers to make their consumer experience better. There were many ideas, but probably most prominent of those was the discussion of kids meals and their nutritional value. Most at the party wanted additions of more healthy items to be included in the kid’s meal as kids are attracted to the kid’s meals for the toys. Why not have a salad kid’s meal? Why not have a grilled chicken with apples kid’s meal? Those questions and many others were addressed by the McDonald’s team member.
It was at this point a gentleman whose Twitter ID was @AndyBellati decided to jump in and present his point of view. His bio on Twitter says the following:
Registered Dietitian with whole-food & plant-centric approach. Into sustainable agriculture. Food policy activist. Love to call out food industry nonsense.
So you can completely imagine what his point of view was (don’t eat at restaurants and cook solely at home.) On a superficial level his point of view is one that pretty much anyone could agree with. I mean who doesn’t want their kids to have the best as far as nutrition is concerned?But unfortunately for most this idea of Andy’s is just completely impractical. “Why?” you ask. Well the easiest way to explain it is to show you my family’s schedule from this Saturday, which should be noted is not an unusual type of daily schedule for my family, with the exception of Sundays which in fact I do insist that everyone gets to sleep until 9am.
- 5:45am Kelly, aka Mom, gets up, fixes herself an oatmeal, and gets dressed to run.
- 6:15am – 9:45am Kelly gets picked up by her running carpool, spends 3 hours stretching and running 12 miles, and commuting to and from the running path best suited for long distance running.
- 8:15 – 9:00am David, aka Dad, and the two children get up, eat a fast breakfast, and leave for the soccer fields.
- 9:45am – 10:40am Kelly gets home, takes a fast shower, leaves for the 1st of her children’s soccer games stopping at the drug store to pick up some ibuprofen. (Muscles were stiffening up after 12 mile run but there was no time for more stretching or an ice bath.) She arrives late to her daughter’s soccer game and misses the first 10 minutes.
- 9:30am – 12:00pm David, also known as the soccer coach, and the kids are at the soccer fields for warm ups, the first game, and a post game meeting with the parents.
- 12:00am-12:30pm Team including David and his daughter stops at a fast food restaurant because they only have 30 minutes before they have to drive to a town an hour away for his daughter’s second soccer game of the day.
- 12:30pm – 1:00pm Mom takes her son and his friend to another store to cram in some more Saturday errands between soccer games.
- 1:00pm – 5:00pm Dad and daughter go to the town an hour away totaling a 2 hour commute, play another soccer game, and on the way home stop at another store to run another Saturday errand.
- 1:00pm – 3:30pm Mom and son go to the soccer fields for pre-game warm-ups, the game itself as shown by the awesome iPhone picture above, and post-game talks. Mom has a massive allergy attack despite taking her usual anti-allergy attack medication from being outside in Oklahoma from 6:30am until 4pm and takes two Benadryl pills.
- 3:30pm – 4pm Mom takes son home to change his clothes and then drops him off at a birthday party sleep over.
- 4pm – 7pm Mom crashes after taking two Benadryl pills, worried as she didn’t have time to finish running her Saturday errands. She wonders when she’s going to get that task done as being sick puts her behind and the next day’s schedule is full.
- 5pm – 7pm Dad and daughter clean up after being outside all day, eat dinner out with friends while watching football.
- 7pm – 10pm Mom gets up, but is still groggy and is still sick with allergies. Dad gets daughter out of the house to play with a friend so that Mom can rest.
- 10pm The whole family goes to bed.
- 11pm -12pm The whole family is woken up by an earthquake. We all watch the earthquake coverage on the news.
- 12pm The whole family goes back to bed.
Now I know what many nutritionists would say. Meals could have been prepared the night before. But think about this. My Saturday was pretty similar to Friday which was pretty similar to Thursday which was pretty similar to Wednesday and on and on and on. Many families are like mine and at what point are they supposed to take hours out of their days to grocery shop well, plan, and pre-cook meals with a schedule like that? They can’t.
There is no time.
So when McDonald’s asks what they can do to make life better for their consumers I for one am glad for the help. And to persons who demand perfection from families and offer a non-tolerance attitude towards those of us who are really truly doing pretty great as is I have one piece of advice.
If you want to change the world and make it a better place, take some time to get to know your audience who you seem to want to reach. Step inside of their shoes and try to fully understand the lives that they and most like them live. Until you completely understand that lifestyle, you have no business passing judgment. Furthermore until you completely understand that lifestyle, your advice will always need some work.
Kelly Kinkaid, professional blogger and freelance writer, enjoys writing about such topics as stretching a dollar, personal finance, diet and fitness, and living a life well lived. She spends all of her spare time in her many roles including but not limited to soccer, basketball, swimmer, band, and piano mom, runner and wife. You may contact her via e-mail kellyology(at)gmail(dot)com.