Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fast Food Challenges

Meal times can be tough when family obligations allow you limited time for preparation. 

Some people are always thinking ahead and can plan by preparing early, either a crock pot meal, or cook something ahead of time and just warm it up. But any family can tell you there are days that you just don't have the time so you succumb to the ever inviting, immediate gratification of fast food. We all know we should not eat it, but it happens. The more often we eat it, the easier it gets to go back again and again. By doing this often you are mentoring your children to accept this as normal behaviour and also teaching there taste buds to crave the unhealthy food choices.

My family prided themselves on avoiding fast food. I am ever grateful to a seventh grade home economics teacher who thoroughly investigated with her class the fast food industry. They watched movies like Food Inc, Supersize Me, etc. After this the two children decided to be vegetarians. This lasted a couple of months, then they gradually added meat back into the diet, but limited the number of days per week of eating it. They kept to the no fast food for quite some time, my daughter avoided it for a few years. When we had an exchange student from Japan living with us, who spoke very little English, I asked her on her final few days what else she wanted to do in the US.  She stuttered and stumbled trying to tell me something that I couldn't comprehend. Then as if a lightbulb went off, her eyes brightened, she ran to get paper, and began sorting through the crayons. Finally she finds a yellow crayon and guessed it ....the golden arches.  She proceeded to show me with her hands a BIG Mac. I think she was greatly disappointed with the Big Mac, as it really isn't so big as she had envisioned. We then proceeded to take her to Burger King. My daughter who spent 3 years avoiding fast food was mortified. She and I can now say though since that experience we have not eaten fast food since.

How do you not eat fast food?

 Our sports teams now stop at grocery stores instead of fast food restaurants. Kids can then select their own food choices. I hope the coaches mentor them to choose healthy choices instead of junk food or processed foods like Lunchables.

 I once worked as an athletic trainer to a class A division one football team. The coach was morbidly obese, tipping the scales near 450 lbs. He had numerous operations for stomach stapling (back in the day that what it was called) and yet continued to put the weight right back on. Well when we travelled his rule was to go no more than two hours without stopping for food. I wonder now how many of his former football players are obese. He would have done better to mentor the kids with a stop for an apple, or a water break, which could have easily been taken with the team. 

Grab and Go Food Choices

Think about the time it takes to stop for fast food, could you run into a grocery and get foods like:

  •  bag of grapes, apples, oranges
  • box of graham crackers and jar of peanut butter
  • string cheese
  • jerky
  • bottled water
  • pretzels
  • cut up veggies and dip
  • bean dip and torillas
It would be less expensive, healthier and you would be showing the kids by example how to avoid the feeling that fast food is the only way to go. 

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