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March 20, 2012
Go ahead. Judge away.
I was scrolling through Facebook the other night when I saw a post by one of my friends complaining that McDonald’s now serves fries along WITH the apples in their Happy Meals. Did you know that? All Happy Meals now automatically come with fries and apples. Anyway…the first few comments were in agreement with her saying how “asinine” it was to basically thwart a parent’s plan to purchase a healthier option for their child when eating out by making the bag of apples smaller and making up for it with French fries.
And then it happened…
Someone left this as a comment - “Easy solution: don’t eat at McDonald's.” It was then followed up by someone else with a similar statement. The rest of the discussion remained friendly, and the first commenter even came back and said that she was being facetious, but it got me all riled up anyway.
I am SO SICK of the “perfect” parents out there who give me the side-eye because I let my children eat fast food. My husband and I both work full time, and we just need a break some nights. Do we eat fast food every day? No way! Do we eat it once a week? You bet! I do try to teach my kids about healthy eating, and for the most part, we try to feed them as healthy as possible, within the constraints of their picky eating habits. We also let them have “treats” occasionally, and there is nothing wrong with that.
My kids are both average height and weight, super smart and relatively healthy for being “daycare kids”. Yeah, I get the side-eye for that too, but that is a different post for a different day. They eat a ton of fruit, some vegetables, not much red meat, and take a multi-vitamin to make up for anything they might be lacking in on a daily basis.
I can assure you that chicken nuggets, apple slices and low-fat milk is a better dinner than some of the crap that children are served AT HOME. In fact, the “Eat This, Not That” book has touted that particular meal as the “Best Fast Food Kids Meal”. Of course now that the Happy Meal only contains a half serving of fruit with their smaller bag of apples, and has added fattening fries, that probably isn’t the case any longer, but we will just ask for two bags of apples instead of the fries from now on.
My kids love both McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A. We usually go to Chick-Fil-A once a week and my kids eat more there than they do on any other night. They have chicken nuggets, applesauce and milk, and then they burn it all off on the playground. We don’t eat at McDonald’s quite as often, but we do eat there, and will continue to do so. It is a treat for my kids, and a nice break for us when we are just flat out of energy and don’t want to cook dinner.
This all boils down to the whole “everything in moderation” mentality and teaching your kids good eating habits. If you teach your kids how to eat properly on a regular basis and let them have the occasional treat of “bad” food, they will learn that it isn’t something you eat every day.
A couple months ago we were passing by McDonald’s and Bryce pointed and started shouting “McDonald’s! McDonald’s!” This was a few months after he started getting excited whenever he saw a Chick-Fil-A. At first, I was mortified. I couldn’t believe he was so excited about a fast food restaurant, and I was actually embarrassed that he knew what the golden arches were. That was stupid, though. So what if he likes McDonald’s? I do too!
So give me the side-eye all you want. I am perfectly comfortable feeding my kids fast food once a week, and I don't think I am a bad parent because of it. There are worse things I could be doing as a parent, that's for sure.