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Would you take your small child to eat at McDonalds?

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I’m bringing you something a little different today! I’ve been crowdsourcing, which basically means asking the opinion of other amazing parents who also happen to have blogs. Today I’m sharing the opinions of multiple parents who I asked the question ‘Would you take your child to eat at McDonalds when they were small?’.

I took Daisy to eat at McDonalds yesterday, as there was nowhere else open that definitely sold food friendly for her multiple allergies. While there she enjoyed a fish finger, a fruit bag and a bottle of water.

I’m partial to a McDonalds coffee, even more so when it’s a free McDonalds coffee!

I was really pleased to see the wide variety of options for parents now. Anyway – would you take your small child to eat at McDonalds was the question I asked – here are the answers from other lovely bloggers…

Firstly I started off with a simple yes/no poll. The answers were:

50 yes. 7 no. So 50 of the 57 parents I polled said that they would take their young child to eat at McDonalds.

Next I asked for specific opinions on whether other parents would allow their small child to eat at McDonalds. These are some of the replies I got:

I’ve taken mine when they were little. I don’t see the problem tbh, it would be different if you went every day. Everything in moderation and all that! Blissfuldomestication

Toby (almost 4) and Teddy (2 in May) had their first ever McDonalds two weeks ago tomorrow . We wouldn’t have taken them inside if it wasn’t for the fact that they were both seriously hungry, one needed the loo desperately and it was the closest thing we could find. Raisingtherings

We pretty much only go to eat at McDonald’s or Burger King if we’re travelling and we’ve stopped at a service station. This is mainly because I don’t like the food myself- I don’t think it’s any worse than what they would eat in any mid priced restaurant “bammboo”

Ninja foodi roast potatoes, air fryer pizza with salad and garlic and herb dip, cajun chicken pasta in two red pots and vegan coleslaw with text overlay that says mealtime inspiration

Yeah we take our kids to eat at McDonalds. It’s a treat and that’s how it should be seen. TBH I think a little junk food every now and then is ok as long as it’s part of a balanced diet. My kids are 4 and 2 and they eat a very balanced diet and that’s what matters. 2bottlesofmilk

When you’re out with little people in tow, eating out can be one of the most stressful things, especially if everyone is hungry. At least I know that Macdonalds is quick, clean and can get a buggy in the door and find a high chair. The sad thing is that not all smaller local cafes can say that. And I can cherry pick the healthier items from the menu. Maidenheadmum

On a rare occasion we have got Lola a happy meal. We get the chicken wrap minus the ketchup, fruit bag instead of chips or if we get chips then no salt and a bottle of water! I don’t see the problem with that at all. People are far far too quick to judge. Notaperfectparent

Air fryer fries in a basket with ketchup

I haven’t taken my 2yo yet but I’ve not been in the circumstances you have described but, had I been in your shoes I would have done the same. I think you made sensible food choices for your daughter. It’s not like you fed her a large big Mac and fries. I hate mummy shamers with a passion. Raising A Ragamuffin

At home everything W eats is freshly made and we don’t let her have juice, sweets, junk food etc. We do go to McDonalds, maybe a handful of times a year and if we do, she will have some. If breakfast time, she has a pancake. If during the day, she has a few fries and some chicken nuggets. I don’t see a couple of times a year as a bad thing; it’s when you allow children to get used to junk food that it becomes an issue. Tattooed Tealady

My two have been to McDonald’s since they were little if we’re travelling. The food really isn’t any different than you might get in a pub setting but it’s a lot more child friendly. There’s often a soft play or playground, which they need if we are in the car for a while during a road trip. Also you get some good toys – one of our favourite bed time books (Pete the Cat) was actually the ‘toy’ in a happy meal. Baby Foote

We have taken Henry on a drive through when travellinh before. He’s 13 months and had his first at one but it was chicken nuggets, melon and milk which i think was a pretty decent meal. Infact lots of restaurants barely cater fruit or veg into their kids meals so I think McD’s is really quite good for it. Illustrated Teacup

We do, I also have a 12 year old so if she asks to go I’m not going to make my 2 year old sit there with nothing. We usually get her the nuggets (She probably only eats 2 at the most) and she probably has a handful of fries if that. She’s not keen on their fruit selection (if only they did bananas or blueberries then she’d love it) A Blogs Life

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I wouldn’t be giving them McDonalds as a regular thing but sure, if they’re hungry and I know they’ll eat it then we’ll go there. My son was 2 when he had his first one. He has maybe one a month, certainly no more. Everything in moderation! Pickle And Poppet

Yep I do and I don’t feel bad about it. We all go as a treat once a month and she eats a happy meal and has never died. It follows on from the train of thought that she eats what we eat. Sophie is 18 months and eats virtually everything 99% of which is healthy. Don’t feel guilty and next time let her have salt free chips! A Mum Track Mind

Macca’s / Burger King aren’t my first choice, but I don’t see the harm every now and then. It’s quick (when you need food FAST), kid friendly, and often has a play area. Winning! I don’t always give just water and fruit either. Whatever I think will work that day. I’m sorry you were made to feel inferior. Bare Mother

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We go to McDonald’s with our 2 year old and 3.5 year old as they love it. It’s not everyday so it’s a nice treat. Becster

My dad, who looked after our eldest when I went back to work, took Harrison once a week from 9 months old – for a happy meal (chips, nuggets, milkshake!) and guess what – he’s now a tall, slim, perfectly healthy 6yo. Of course, most of it went on the floor but some definitely went in his mouth. I have zero issue when it’s part of a generally healthy balanced diet. Mine (now 6,4 and 2) have one a week usually. Coffee Cake Kids

I take all my kids to eat at McDonalds, my youngest is 1, twins are 2. They all eat the nuggets, chips and a fruit shoot. I’m pretty partial to an air fryer fish finger sandwich myself. I once saw in a group, a girl got a happy meal and blended it for her 6 month old because his brothers loved them and she didn’t want him missing out. Each to their own. My Little Wildlings

It’s not a regular thing, but my two do have them. We get nuggets, chips without salt and milk or water. They’re usually more interested in the toy anyway! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, as long as it’s not a really regular occurrence! Emily and Indiana

Our eldest was four when he first went to eat at McDonald’s, but then we very rarely took him out to eat. Now I would take any of mine (6, 4 and 2) if they were hungry or for an occasional treat. I don’t see that it’s worse than taking them somewhere for a cheesy pizza or pasta, everything in moderation and all! Cup Of Toast

We take our 5 and 1 year old once in a while. I’ll be honest when my daughter was 2 we never went but mainly because we never thought about it or needed to. Now we have two and travel a bit more we do go. They eat healthy 95% of the time, the odd happy meal is fine in my opinion. Talking Mums

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The choice was taken from me when my husband decided to take my 2 year old (now 6). My 1 year old has now been too. I’m not fussed now and it’s a rarity they go. I can’t stand the food tbh, so it’s never somewhere I consider to buy food. Each to their own, that’s what I say. It wouldn’t be available if it was such a health hazard. Mental Parentals

We take Arthur occasionally – ask for no salt on the fries and chicken nuggets. The fruit packs are fab but I wish they’d cut the grapes! Arthur Wears

Should a 1 year old be eating McDonalds?

As parents we have to really make our own choices for our children. Should a 1 year old be eating McDonalds regularly? No. Of course not. Can a 1 year old have a Happy Meal? If you want them to!

With Daisy we made healthier choices, such as the fruit bags and a water or a low sugar juice for her drink. Now that Daisy can have dairy she often chooses milk for her choice with her happy meal.

If you’re trying to work out when can babies eat McDonalds then I would say that is absolutely up to you as the parent. If you’re not the parent then be sure to consult the parent or guardian before any McDonalds visits. McDonalds IS fast food, and higher in salt than homemade options.

My opinion on it?

Yes I do let me child eat at McDonalds. No I won’t be shamed about it. I’m a parent, trying my best. I was out yesterday, and my emergency pouch I keep in the changing bag was not there. My daughter was fed something relatively healthy, had fruit and water and ate a fish finger. If that makes me a bad parent, in the eyes of someone else, then frankly I don’t care.

There aren’t many menu items that Daisy can have, which is a shame. I’d love to give her something like a chicken salad but she is allergic to chicken so that’s a no! I know that crispy chicken is often not very healthy, and contains a lot of calories too. But just to have a nice grilled chicken salad, with a low sugar dressing, would be a great option for little ones.

A chicken and chorizo paella with text overlay that says the best EVER meal planning tips

This post was partly inspired by a comment made to me on social media. We all have differing opinions in life, my opinion has become ‘each to their own’. An opinion you can see that numerous real parents mentioned above clearly think too. We are all just trying to survive the first years of Parenthood.

For me this means I’m learning to adapt to a child who has multiple allergies, and could suffer a seizure or even die if she eats something she shouldn’t eat. Taking my daughter to eat at McDonalds meant I could get her some food that was definitely safe to eat. I wouldn’t have to worry about my daughter vomiting all night, or worse still ending up in hospital.

I don’t want to watch Daisy for hours after we eat out, worrying that her order was somehow contaminated. I don’t have that problem with McDonalds as their menu is very clear on the ingredients.

I’m not sure if this is because they are based in the United States, and are therefore very careful, or is something else, but I’m down for clear and informative menus that are updated regularly.

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My daughter is 4 year old, and has been eating at McDonalds since she was 16 months old, so probably considered young to eat at McDonalds in the eyes of some. You’re welcome to judge me. I don’t care. Much. 

I’m doing my best and that is good enough for me. If you’re going to send me a snippy message at least try and make your opinion count.

Since becoming a parent I have learned that my past judgements, before I had my daughter, were often foolish. I just to think ‘I won’t do that when I’m a Mum’ and I now do pretty much all of it. If my child wanted to eat at McDonalds everyday, and it was the only way she would eat food, then eat at McDonalds we would.

If you enjoyed this post I’d love it if you could pin it on Pinterest!

Would you take your child to eat at McDonalds? I asked 25 parents and they are sharing their opinions today! Find out what other parents think of an occasional treat at McDonalds

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Friday 28th of September 2018

Great post, Katy! I am all about eating and living healthy, but I can`t lie once a while, I treat myself with a Big Mac, I think that, if it`s once or twice a year - it`s not such a big deal!

Sarah Lillico

Thursday 14th of September 2017

Love this post! I think my son was about the same age as your daughter when we first ventured into McDonalds. I wanted him to experience lots of different environments and tastes and life I guess. So we took him in and ordered him nuggets and frys and water. While we ate an adult meal. Most of it was squished into the high chair or ended up on the floor but he loved it, he had a nugget and a few frys. I have no issues with anything like this, I know he has a very healthy balanced diet, I think it's important kids experience all areas of life even fast food places. Hes a very happy, healthy 6yo now. We still pop in for a treat now and then :)


Thursday 14th of September 2017

Thanks so much for taking the time to share with me Sarah! I couldn't agree with you more. It is so important for children to learn what a treat is and that it is ok to have things in moderation.

Margaret gallagher

Friday 18th of August 2017

A treat is a treat not something you get everyday It's good to keep it as THAT


Friday 18th of August 2017

That is so true Margaret. I'm off out again for lunch with my daughter today, she certainly won't be going to McDonalds - instead I am packing her lunch from home (fruit and vegetable sticks, a wrap and some cold water). It is definitely a nice treat but not something that should be enjoyed all the time.


Monday 7th of August 2017

I think everything in moderation is fine and you're right - it really doesn't break the bank does it!

Sarah Haynes

Saturday 5th of August 2017

My son is allergic to dairy and soya and due to his allergies being undiagnosed for months, he is also very wary of food and is very fussy. McDonald's is surprisingly allergy friendly. Many things don't have dairy in them and the burger buns are even dairy and soya free. A real rarity. I can get him a meal there without worrying and that he will actually eat. There are relatively few restaurants that are so friendly to his needs. We probably eat there more often than we should but it's nice to see him enjoy eating... I wish I could buy those buns for use at home... we are now starting to suspect a problem with wheat so it might not be so easy to feed him then.


Sunday 6th of August 2017

Yeah I love that they are so allergy friendly too and I was really surprised. Some chains are absolutely awful! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and I hope your son is doing ok xx

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