Fast food is the new evil drug
Last friday afternoon, we headed to costco around 5pm. As we were leaving, Soren asked if we could have dinner there - chicken fingers and french fries were his requests. I didn't have anything planned for dinner, so that sounded ok to me, only I decided to have a picnic instead of eating on the concrete floors of costco. We took our order to go, and drove to our local wading pool to eat just before it closed. Luckily, I had the kids swimming stuff in the trunk, otherwise we would have had to choose a different park.
As we were getting out of the car, pepsi drinks in hand, balancing french fries and babies and all the assorted condiments - Tyler looked at me and said something along the lines of 'doesn't it seem wrong to be bringing all this junk to the pool?' And it got me thinking... yes, the food we had chosen for dinner was absolutely unhealthy. We didn't have a fruit or vegetable in sight, and surely all the other 'responsible' parents would be judging our selection. What would I think if I saw a family coming to the park with their hands full of fast food? Probably not much.
It's so ridiculous, really, that we are so judgemental of each other. I shouldn't feel embarrassed about feeding the kids french fries on a friday night. We never have french fries at home, it's a treat, and we were enjoying that treat alongside arnold palmers and lots of dipping sauces. Then we played in the pool. It was a fun night, and everyone was happy.
Recently I have heard that McDonalds is not allowed to advertise pop with it's children's meals... and for a moment I agreed. But on second thought, what's the difference? If my kids go to McDonald's once a year - maybe they want a coke! I probably drink pop about three times per year, and if I was at a burger place that would be one of those times. Moderation is the key to healthy living (I know it's not as simple as that statement) and to me, whether McDonalds shows a burger and an iced tea, or a burger and chocolate milk, it doesn't really make a difference. The burger is still a burger, and will never be as good as eating at home. If I really thought about it, I would argue chocolate milk or juice are probably WORSE for kids... as they view them as 'healthy', when in fact they are laden with sugar.
My point was this - it's a little sad that we need to feel guilty about picnicking in the park with something other than homemade quinoa salads and greek yogurt. I have no idea the solution to ending childhood obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc., but I doubt it comes from shaming people. We are all trying to do the best that we can, and sometimes that involves unhealthy options.