I was out running errands today and started feeling hungry. I didn't want a lot of food, but I needed to eat something, and I knew there wasn't much waiting for me in the refrigerator at home, so today I went to a fast food restaurant and I ordered a kids meal for myself.
I've only bought a handful of kids meals over the years. When my boys were young, I rarely bought them; instead I'd buy the burger and fries (sometimes a soda), and pass on the fancy packaging or junky toy that came with a meal. Once they developed adolescent-sized appetites, we didn't even consider the smaller size sandwiches and sides, but moved over to the "Super Size" side of the menu, because they would need to consume several kid meals before they were satisfied!
For my meal I stopped at the drive-through fast food restaurant closest to my house. The menu had a special section that proudly announced their selections "Just For Kids!" Since I was ordering from the car, there was no way for anyone in the restaurant to know who would be eating the food, but I still felt guilty placing the order.
Since I haven't even looked at the kids side of the menu for many years, I was surprised at all the choices--definitely more than there used to be. A meal consisted of one of several sandwiches, fries or other (healthier) side dishes, and a plethora of drink choices (white milk, chocolate milk, juice box , slushy , or soda). I ordered my meal--declining all of the healthy alternatives--and sat back to wait for it to come out.
After I got my food, I drove home. The food looked like I expected it to; the small sandwich, fries, and diet soda were about right for practicing portion control. I added some leftover zucchini and carrot sticks from the refrigerator to make the meal even healthier. When I was done I realized that I'd had just the right amount of food!
The prize that came with this meal wasn't much. It was a cube that folded out in several different directions with trivia facts on each face. An enclosed piece of paper, obviously targeted for the adults buying the meal, talked about the importance of developing children's educational knowledge. If I were a kid, I'd think the "prize" was pretty lame.