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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's our choice, not theirs

     It's a sad, unhappy day in Santa Clara County, California. If you haven't heard by now, some crazy people have banned McDonald's Happy Meals from some McDonald's menus until they can offer healthier can read the full story {here}
    It's something that I always said my kids would NEVER do...recognize the famous golden arches and scream with delight for a Happy Meal!  Forget that plan I devised many moons ago. Yah...Taylor can spot those things a mile away!    
     I can't actually remember the first time I ever actually fed Taylor something from McDonald's, but I know it was in the last year, possibly, last July when we drove home from Illinois and stopped there for breakfast. The boys had eggs, orange juice, pancakes. I'm pretty sure Jim and I had something very similar as well.
    The next time the boys entered a McDonald's was 4 months ago, in January. I discovered the McDonald's amazing Playplace in the restaurant here in West Tupelo. It's inside the restaurant, but the tables and boothes are completely separated from the rest of the fast food joint. Not only is it so totally child-proof, there's a bathroom off to the side and inside, it has an itty bitty potty next to the adult one....You have no idea what this means unless you have a little potty-trainer!!! We like it because we don't have to constantly apologize to other patrons for spoiling their meal when my child throws an apple slice across to their table!
     Back to my point....We are fairly healthy eaters. Well, Jim and the kids are...Carrie Ann is a milk-aholic, and I don't eat veggies, but I cook healthy meals and we stay away from greasy and fried foods, except Chick-fil-A and that's usually no more than once a week, if that much. We have a salad with every supper, try for non-sugary, sometimes organic cereal and fruit for breakfast. I have cut out processed meat and never buy white bread. I use ground turkey for everything that calls for ground beef {we do love beef though, ground turkey is just way less expensive and we aren't red meat aficionados so we can't tell the difference anyway} We make up for the unhealthy parts of our meals by staying active. We don't live sedentary lifestyles, who can with 3 little kids. Jim runs and lift weights and I, well...I do what our foremothers did...I do laundry, prepare 2 meals a day, pick up after my kids constantly, just about everyday lug all 3 gabinos around our neighborhood , I sweep and mop our floors, load the dishwasher, usually don't sit down until 8 o'clock at night. And my kids...they make up for it too, they are up at 7 a.m. and down in bed no later than 8 at night. They take at least a 2 hour nap in the afternoon, but are constantly on the move the other 10 hours. If you've met my two boys, you know I'm not exaggerating!
      So when we {that's me, my children's mom, and Jim, their dad} choose to eat at a fast food restaurant, it's one we know offers healthy options for our kids. We extend the choices we make at home, right into that checkout line. A typical Happy Meal for my kids might include the 4 piece mcnugget or plain hamburger, the apple slices {I keep the caramel dipping sauce to use in recipes at home}, the jug of white milk or the 100% juice apple juice box and I get the yogurt parfaits in lieu of the ice cream to have for dessert.
    I have two solutions to the issue of kids eating poorly. 1.  Educate parents on making healthy choices. They are the ones placing the orders. My kid might kick and scream for a Dr. Pepper like mommy, but ultimately, I am the one the cashier is listening to. And 2nd...if government officials want to make a point about businesses offering healthy options, they should require grocery stores to remove all the candy and high calorie snack choices they have stocked at every single checkout line in America! Seriously! I'm not kidding.
     You know, they stock these aisles with the same mindset as they use to stock the cereal aisle....all the sweet, enticing sugary stuff is along the bottom. Perfect line of site for my little people. I got smart...get the cart with the up-high race car, so they can't put their grubby little paws all over the buckets of sugar. Oh no, these marketers got smarter...we'll put it up high too!
     We'll make all this sugar and lard a "point of sale" item...It's sold the minute you lay eyes on it! It's awful. You can choose what drive-thru you go thru, and for now my kids can't read, so they don't know that this restaurant offers french fries and ice cream and Big Macs, but I can't avoid the checkout lane.
     In the end, it doesn't matter what the restaurant or grocery store checkout lane offers, it's what I, as the parent, decides to offer my child. Don't be scared to tell your child "no," especially if it means nurturing healthy eating habits that they will one day take over themselves.


  1. Girl - you have NO idea how uninformed people are about making healthier choices. If I had $1 for every person that I offered fresh fruit in a kid's meal and they said NO, I could have retired last year.

    Unfortunately, in this day in time we are safe no where. I've done research and read books and the McDonald's Chicken Nugget has 39 ingredients in it! Few of which are actually chicken. Chicken is supposed to be good for you right? Honestly, the same is true for the cheaper ground turkey in our grocery store, which is what I usually buy. The meat in our grocery store from chicken to turkey to beef could come from 1,000 different chickens, turkey and cows who have all been injected with scary rapid growth horomones.

    The wisest & healthiest option would be to buy exclusively local. However, that's not always the easiest.

    I have no kids so playlands have little to do with my eating decisions, but am concerned about the health of Mississippi and the health of our country and I say BRAVO to Santa Clara for doing what they can. I'm glad to hear that you and Jim make wise decision for you and your family. It starts at home!=) {...stepping off my soap box...}

  2. You are absolutely correct! I generally make healthy choices, but it is my choice - not someone elses. You can't legislate or make rules to make someone healthy. Education might help, but many know and still make poor choices.

  3. Well, I personally love junk and processed food and am so glad it's my right to enjoy them. ;) If they want people to be healthy, why don't they ban smoking???


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