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How couscous in Happy Meals put a Salt Lake City girl in London

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LONDON — Who would've ever thought a kid who loves eating healthy food would end up at an international McDonalds event?

But there she was 8-year-old Elayna Saley, from Sugar House holding on to her dad's hand doing her best to not be nervous.

"Who is the best cook in your family?" Ronald McDonald asked young Saley.

"My dad because he likes to put secret ingredients in our meals."

But there was no secret about Elayna's creative recipe.

Her coconut couscous cups were so good, and so different, she won a McDonalds contest and an all-expense-paid trip to London to see some of the Olympic Games.

How did she feel when she learned of her impending trip overseas? "Really excited," Saley said. "I felt like I was going to scream."

Saley loves cooking with her dad, they just never thought it would lead them to London.

"I think it's really fun and it's a great opportunity for all of us to go to the Olympics and do all this fun stuff with the McDonalds people," Saley said.

Her father Chad was also, as one would expect, excited for the chance to travel to England.

"It's an incredible experience," Chad said. "It's not even once in a lifetime. You normally don't get this type of an opportunity to come from all the way from Salt Lake to London to see the Olympics."

The Saleys also got to meet McDonalds CEO Don Thompson, who says giving children healthier choices in Happy Meals is a priority for McDonalds.

"Moms tell us all the time in consumer research that if anyone can get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, that anyone would be McDonalds," Thompson said. "We take that very seriously."

And even though Elayna loves chicken nuggets, she knows it is important to eat healthy. And after winning a contest like this her dad say healthier eating will continue to be a part of their meals.

McDonalds has all those commercials during the Olympics games. Thanks to them a Salt Lake City girl won the trip of a lifetime, and it's all because of a cooking contest she entered.

"She's done such a great job," Chad said. "She's a good little cook and a good helper."

The Saleys are also planning on going to Paris for a few days after their visit to London.


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Alex Cabrero


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