It really saddens me to hear of parents taking their children for fast food meals every week as a “treat”. If O didn’t have grandparents that regularly looked after him whilst I’m working, he would have yet to set foot in a McDonald’s “restaurant”.
I’m not a food angel by any means. From time to time, I enjoy a takeaway from our local authentic chinese restaurant (who don’t deliver which is so annoying) and quite partial to a fish and chips from Karen’s chippy in the middle of a terrace of houses in a neighbouring village. If O is still up, he sometimes shares what we get from these places – he loves the prawn crackers and wan tons from the chinese, and there is no other fish like that from the chip shop!
But McDonald’s, particularly McDonald’s, really gets me in the gut. I haven’t eaten at this “restaurant”, and I use the term loosely, for many years. Since I was a teenager, in fact. The smell of the place really makes my skin crawl and my stomach churn.
You see, although the food might look and taste good, it’s crammed full of stuff that if you knew it was there, you probably wouldn’t eat it. They must have a fabulous marketing team, because I really can’t see why anyone would want to eat this stuff.
I cannot understand why parents would “treat” their children to this food. The happy meals have such low nutritional content, but woohoo! they receive a free plastic toy. The fruit bag they receive is hardly an equaliser to the burger or chicken nuggets and fries that the kid has already consumed. If anything, it promotes that it’s ok to eat whatever processed rubbish you like – so long as you have fruit for your pudding. Because that makes all the nasty chemicals, additives and preservatives you’ve just swallowed into your tiny innocent gut to just magically disappear.
It gets my goat even more so when parents who are dieting, wanting to change their current lifestyle to a healthier one, are effectively teaching their kids that this choice is ok. I don’t think it is ok. I think it’s wrong. Let’s face it, would you need to teach them to make better choices for a healthier lifestyle in the future if you’d kept them away from these places initially?
I understand that parents want to opt for the easy choice sometimes – I do this myself. I’m a mum, working full time, with a house to keep, family to love and various extra activities which means that I don’t always have the time to cook things from scratch. But I do believe that this type of “fast food” is damaging our kids; their health and their attitude towards food.
There are better options for our children. Even if a “treat” is on the cards, why not nip to the chip shop instead. At least there, you know the fish is fresh, made with a batter of flour and egg and freshly chipped potatoes fried in oil. Yes, it’s not the healthiest of options – but it sure as hell is better than those 12 chemicals on the McDonald’s lettuce inside your burger to keep it crisp. And the rest.