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why we don’t take our kids to eat fast food

One of my all-time favorites from Hyperbole and a Half. Okay, they’re all favorites.

Yesterday Genevieve caught a glimpse of the golden arches when we were out shopping–a rare sighting in our area, a.k.a. the land of no fast food joints (this Mickey D’s is in a shopping center as part of a much-larger building, rather than a stand-alone operation. I’m explaining this 411 so you understand why she doesn’t usually notice it. Thank goodness).

It’s a sighting so rare, in fact, that when she saw the sign she said “That M looks like french fries. Mommy, what’s that store called?”At first, I ignored the question. The non-response technique is a ridiculous stance in my family, which includes two notice-everything, need-to-know-everything humans (one small and one large; I’ll let you guess which two).She of course continued with “MOMMY, I asked you what the store is called that has a sign made of french fries.” Sigh. Okay, decision time. Do I tell her what it’s called and (inevitably right afterward) why we don’t eat there?Think, think, think {I’m channeling Pooh here}.Well, how do YOU handle this situation? Do you take the Morgan Spurlock approach to
punching your child in the face, or do you incorporate Ronald McDonald fare into your “sometimes foods”?

I decided it was best to tell her the truth, which has become my parenting motto in general. More on this practice later. For this situation, my response was, “It’s called McDonald’s, and they make food there. But the animals that become food in that restaurant did not have happy lives and were sick. We don’t eat there because we only eat animals that were happy and healthy.”

Know what she said?


And then, “Well, what ARE we going to eat? I’m hungry.”

A child like this should be rewarded, no? She passed up french fries! Without whining and badgering! I let her pick out anything she wanted from the buffet in Whole Paycheck Foods, which is where we were headed during the round of questioning. I know, a healthy supermarket next to a megadeath food chain. How convenient for health-conscious, hungry families! Vivi picked butterfly coconut shrimp, cherry tomatoes, and green beans. How adorable is that? I also split a vegan gingersnap cookie with her (delicious! not health-foodie, I swear!) from the bakery case, figuring she also deserved a sometime food. I was left feeling happy but also sad for families who don’t have the funds to make such health-conscious decisions.

Even with McDonald’s recent decision to ban pink slime, there are still many reasons we choose not to eat fast food (excepting dire situations). If you don’t already know these reasons, I encourage you to read Fast Food Nation and then Omnivore’s Dilemma, in that order. Or if you’re in a hurry, just watch Food Inc., which can be viewed instantly on Netflix. We are lucky to have the luxury to make healthy, whole, real food our choice. We make a rare exception for Chipotle (used to be less rare, but we don’t have one ’round us now…sad face) and an even rarer exception for Chick-fil-A. In Chipotle’s case, it’s because they make an attempt to serve humane and sustainably raised meat. They aren’t perfect, but they try, and I feel they should be rewarded for their attempt. In Chick-fil-A’s case, it’s because we grew up in the south, and Chick-fil-A is in our blood. End of story (Georgians everywhere are nodding silently; they know of what I speak).

What are the sometime and any time foods in your home? How do you help your children make healthy food choices?

Eagerly awaiting your tips and tricks,

Editor’s note: This post is a part of Fight Back Friday, Teach Me Tuesday, Sunday SchoolSeasonal Celebration Sunday, Freaky Friday, Your Green ResourceGreen & Natural Mamas, Simple Lives Thursday, Real Food WednesdayWorks for Me Wednesday, and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways