I’ll admit. When our son was younger (he’s now 13) and before the instant education of the internet, I fell into the pit of fast food meals. Why not? As a busy parent of a young child, it was all too convenient to just drive-thru, pick up a quick meal and get on with the day. Or, how about getting a “break” by sitting in a Playland without having to worry about your child for thirty minutes. Fast food was an easy lifestyle solution for the now.
After a little while, I started noticing that our son stopped finishing meals. He wouldn’t eat the fries and a drink was always left in a cup holder in the backseat. That got me to thinking, “Am I wasting money on a meal he doesn’t event eat?” So, I started ordering the Happy Meals with chocolate milk and apples, instead of orange drink and fries. I thought I was doing good! “Look at me! I’m the mom ordering the more “healthy” choices for my kid’s Happy Meal.” I’m so sorry, son. Choosing “healthier” choices for a fast food meal is like putting make-up on a pig. On the outside it all looks okay, but no matter how you cut it, it’s still a fast food nightmare.
Well, eventually he stopped eating those items too. At that point, I realized it wasn’t the food he was attracted to, it was the toys! Hot Wheels, Shrek, the Invincibles…I was jeopardizing my own child’s health for pieces of crap, discarded after five minutes, junk toys? *facepalm* From then on, I refused to buy kid’s meals. On occasion (mostly during time constraints), we would run by for a double cheeseburger (because that’s the only thing he would eat.) During that time, I started educating myself. I read books. I scoured the internet. I joined a co-op and started incorporating more and more organic foods into our lives. My family was NOT going to be seduced by the evil empire of fast food any longer.
For us, fast food is no longer an option. It hasn’t been for years now. In all honesty, I physically gag at the smell of McDonald’s (what IS that damn smell?) I love my family too much to fill them with that sort of food…if you can call it food. A french fry or a dried up hamburger that never molds? Not real food in my book.
As parents, we have a tough battle ahead. The fast food industry is huge and seems like a forever hopeless fight. Online games, sponsorship of school programs, online and offline advertising, cross-promoting, celebrity endorsements, radio ads and the constant changing of needless plastic toys. No matter where you turn, the golden arches are staring you right in the face. In order to make a real difference in your children’s health, you have to start by making better choices for your immediate family. I promise, even if your kids throw a fit now, they aren’t going to hate you for not taking them to McDonald’s. If each one of us did this for our families, we would ultimately win the big fight.
Choose health today.
You can join the twitter effort too! Let’s let @McDonalds know how we feel.
— ItsToni (@ItsToni) May 8, 2013