Monday, June 20, 2011
Please, please, please don’t eat fast food. I understand that when you have children in the car who are pulling your fingernails out one-by-one with their incessant whining while they wither away to nothing with bloated bellies and sunken eyes in the back seat, you have no choice but to pull in to the fastest food possible. You have no other option. But let’s be honest here, folks. Sometimes we choose fast food because it’s easy. It makes the kids happy. And heck, it tastes good.
Here’s my bottom line. Fast food won’t kill you, if you eat it once in awhile. (It will kill you if you eat it daily – see the movie Supersized if you don’t believe me!) What’s most important is teaching our children that this is not a healthy way to eat. When we swing through the drive-thru on a regular basis, we are training our kids for a lifetime of unhealthy eating. Every mom I know loves her kids too much to want that for them. I know fast food is easy. I know our children love it (they love candy and potato chips too). But this is one of those things we must do for our children (like driving the speed limit and being nice to rude people). This is the point when we need to stop saying it’s OK even if everyone else is doing it.
Besides the health issues raised by consuming fast food, I’d like to raise another point. When we eat “fast” we are not respecting the place food has in our life. It is our sustenance. When we choke down something in a wrapper while our children duck in and out of the playland between bites of ground up chicken-parts coated in bread and fat, we aren’t paying attention to the food we eat. When we sit down and face one another and eat good food together, it is a form of communion. We need to teach our children to taste their food, to appreciate where it came from, and who prepared it. We need to teach them the power they have in choosing what to put in their bodies and about the power food has to make our bodies healthy or unhealthy. Whatever decisions they make will be apparent at some point in their lives on the bathroom scale or the doctor’s table. Teach them to make healthy, empowering choices for their bodies and their lives.
We only get one shot at raising our children. This is our one and only chance to teach our children about eating healthy and being healthy for a lifetime. It’s more than a meal and much more than fast food.