Let's Eat Like Olympians!

There's nothing quite like watching the Olympics. The speed, the skill, the precision, the talent---these athletes are amazing. We pause for a commercial break. We see kids with defeated looking faces still sporting their hockey gear. Their coach is giving them a big post game pep talk: yeah, they only scored one goal, but they played their hearts out, they played like Olympians. So, they are going to EAT like Olympians. They are going to go to McDonald's. Next, we see them chowing down chicken nuggets. PLEASE!!

This is a terrible message to give our kids:
  1. This is marketing directed right to the kids. Kids are getting the message that if they want to become an Olympian, then they need to eat McDonald's food. I can still remember my boys watching the winter Olympics over and over again on our first VCR. With blue and orange plastic motorcycle helmets donned, they were both tightly fitted into our wooded bar stools laid on the floor concentrating on their bobsled runs along with the TV. At their ages, if McDonald's had told them they could become an Olympic bobsled champion by eating at McD's, they would have believed it. This is taking an unfair advantage of our young population.
  2. It gives the impression that Olympians have a regular diet of McDonald's. Trust me, Olympians are not chomping down on lots of fast food. These athletes know what they eat will make a difference in how well they do in their sport. Sure, many will do a fast food run occasionally. Some of them who burn lots of calories during their training may stop by more often. But, to get to the level they are, they are eating nutrient dense, healthy foods---they listen to their nutritionists! Eat well=perform well!
  3. Olympians burn lots of calories. Kids watching TV, not so many. Kids don't realize a few chicken nuggets for them is a huge meal, and for the supreme athletes it's a much smaller portion of the day's caloric needs.
  4. Why show kids eating just chicken nuggets and fries? You can make healthier choices there. Have one of the kids eating a salad or fruit dippers with the same smile on. This could be one small step toward making a difference in the fight against childhood obesity that First Lady Michelle Obama just launched in her Move It program.
You know, TV commercials give adults enough trouble with all the food cues they deliver. It's the old, "see food, want to eat," food problem. But when these commercials are directed at our kids and play on their Olympic dreams--big mistake! I'll be the mother bear here--Back off, McDonald's and let our kids dream free. You need a change in your marketing!