Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Whatever Happened to Parents Just Saying "No"?

When I was a kid, places like McDonald's was a treat. My mother cooked practically every day. Fruit was our snack food and we could drink all the water and milk we wanted. Juice was strictly for breakfast and kool-aid was for dinner. Occasionally, we had soda but it was a rarity too. Most of my friends grew up the same way and that's how many of them are raising their kids.

I know now that a lot of people feed their familes fast food because it's easy. I can respect that. I'm a victim of the "easy meal" too, but I also realize it was a conscious choice that I made that I am now paying for with weight gain. Obesity is a fact of life in the U.S. and no where is it worse than in Mississippi. It amazes me to see the drive thru lines at many fast food places and I wonder how many kids today even know what a home cooked meal really is?

What bought about this post was this news item - McDonald's Lawsuit. This organization is suing McDonald's because of the toys in the Happy Meals. They feel the toys are used to entice children to McDonald's and because of this, obesity is a problem. I have several issues with the lawsuit:

1. How are the kids getting to McDonald's? - Do you know a 5 year old that can drive?
2. Who is paying for this Happy Meal?

For both questions, the answer is the parents. While fast food shares some of the blame for the obesity problem, it is not theirs alone. It's the inactivity, the bad food choices, the consicous descisions that we make for ourselves and the kids. Instead of looking to pass the blame, it's time to really take a hard look in the mirror and accept our own responsibility in all of this. Why didn't the parents just say no? Mine did.


  1. I'll be honest. We used to buy our kids happy meals whenever we went to Mickey D's. Not that it was often...a couple of times a month when they were old enough to eat chicken nuggets, but too young to sit still and behave long enough to eat in a regular restaurant. It was the only way I got out of cooking every meal at home.

    Eventually, my husband put a stop to the happy meals, because if our kids got different 'prizes', they'd insist the other's was better. Nowadays, we go to Mickey D's maybe once every 2 months, and the only way they get a happy meal is as a reward for a good report card, I guess three times a year. Otherwise, I just order them nuggets or a cheeseburger, chocolate milk and apple dippers. They know not to expect the toy, and they never get their own soda, just maybe a sip of mine.

    I have to say, though, Mickey D's is the cheapest meal around. Except maybe for Taco Bell, but my kids don't like Mexican food all that much, and I think it's an even worse choice than McD's, truly. So I can see how a family on a really tight budget would go consistently to get fast food.

    I shudder when I see fresh produce prices at the supermarket. Truly. Having lived through unemployment, I know that unemployment wages are ridiculously small and that there is no way you could buy enough fresh produce these days to feed a family of 4 w/that kind of check. It really angers me that this is the case, and that in the fight against obesity, more activists who have a public say don't bring this up.

  2. I agree with you. Occasionally, McDonald's is ok. There is nothing wrong with it as a treat. One of the bigger problem is assigning the blame. We can't blame McDonald's or any other company for the choices WE have made.

    I cringe at the thought of fresh produce. It's not so bad here this time of year and I'm learning how to can and freeze while things are cheap but in my opinion, this is where the fight should be. Fresh produce should be available in all communites for a reasonable price. Maybe by providing reasonable alternatives, some people will bypass the fast food places and eat at home!