Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Healthy food choices for kids, FAIL, really

I found this fascinating article: finding healthy choices in fast food. *ahem*

Ok, isn't that a bit of an oxymoron?

Yeah, well, we'll get to that later.  First off, I was stunned that she's reporting the calorie and FAT content of fast food.  Fat?  Does anyone still believe that fat matters so much?  She doesn't even acknowledge carbohydrate contents.

Her whipping boy is McDonalds and she asks us to guess which has the lowest calories and fat. Her list comprises the Filet o' Fish, the hamburger, the 4 piece chicken nuggets (with sweet n sour sauce) and, choice number 4 (let me quote): "I don't care because I wouldn't get caught dead eating fast food or letting my kids eat fast food."

(Don't get excited, I'm coming back to this. Trust me.)

Her healthy fast food choice conclusion? C. The four-piece chicken nugget.

Hmm. Let's break this down, shall we?

Nuggets / sauce -240 calories -12 g fat - 23 carbs -10g sugars - 10g protein - 0 calcium - 4 iron
Cheeseburger    -300 calories -12 g fat  -33 carbs - 6g sugars -  12g protein -20 calcium -15 iron
Filet o' Fish       -380 calories -18 g fat  -38 carbs - 5g sugars -  15g protein -15 clacium -10 iron

Now, remember that this article is about making good choices for your kids. Not unhealthy, overweight adults.

The filet o fish is obviously a food bomb, but the cheeseburger to me is the sane(er) choice. Just look at the sugars in the nuggets!  This comes from the sauce which, I'm pretty sure, is mostly corn syrup and contains soy and, most likely, lots of lovely chemicals to give it that colour and preserve it.

Yep, I would, and do, choose the cheeseburger when we go to Micky Ds.

"Wait ... what?" you gasp, "Blue gives her kids fast food?!  The horror!"

And this brings me to the other thing I wanted to say about this article: Uhm, would you like some snark with that? 

I mean, really. Ignoring the snooty "I generally prefer my burgers flame-broiled" , (cuz we all know that more carcinogens would be ideal), there's the whole "choice D" thing and the nasty little aside: "As for those who pick D? Well, let's just say this posting's not for you. Or maybe you just don't know it yet."

Uhm, I'm 45 years old and have 5 kids, the oldest of whom just turned 7. I'm fairly settled in to my mommying routine, thnx.

The expert whom she quotes (who has some good ideas buried in there BTW), Roberta Anding, a registered dietitian with Baylor College of Medicine and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, goes so far as to say: "to say you'll never go to a fast food or quick-service restaurant doesn't make much sense."

No? Why not?  I can say that I will never smoke cigarettes. I can say that, barring some condition or medication causing it, I will never be obese again.  I can say that I will never voluntarily go to France. (OK, I pulled that last one out of my backside.)  My point is that if one feels that fast food is really bad for one's family the one can choose never never never to go there.

"She (Ms Anding) wants to help parents know how to make better choices within the context of their hectic lives."

Soooo ... is the American blamecasting again? "I can't make good choices for my family's meals because ... my life is busy and McDonalds exists?" What?

I can say, with absolute sincerity, that I have never taken my children to a fast food restaurant for any other reason than a treat.  We go about every 3-6 months.  The last time my kids ate fast food was in November when their father was in hospital.

Am I casting stones from up on my high horse? (How was that for a mixed metaphore, lol?)

Nope. Just being truthful. srsly.
I mean, really. Why write this article? To placate the scores of women who claim to have so little time that they cannot feed their kids healthy stuffs?  I'm calling bullshit. If you are doing so much in a day that you cannot manage to make healthier choices for your kids food multiple times a week, well, then you need to bloody well cut out some activities.

 Do you think I'm not busy?  Do you think I'm sitting around on my cavewoman arse (it's not THAT hairy) eating bacon and watching my guineas?

Sorry!  I've got a bunch of young kids, an old house that requires constant repair (and I don't mean by "calling a guy out"), scads of 20+ year old vehicles, I farm, and I'm self employed.  Great gravy, I can hardly find time to shower every few days!

But we don't eat fast food but every few months because I feel it's not healthy (or a good message!) for my kids.

How do I do it? By planning ahead and saying "no" to my children.  I pack snacks and refillable Rubbermaid juice boxes; even a whole, quick lunch of sandwiches and fruit if we need it.  I acknowledge the fact that my toddler might get hungry if we've been out too long, but also know that he won't die of hunger on the 30 min drive home.  Yeah, sometimes I have to listen to whining and sobs if it's been a long, hectic day, but again, nowhere on earth is a minivan by the side of the motorway, full of wee skeletons - ghost pirate ship-like - who perished on the half hour ride home because they didn't get to stop at McDonalds.

My whole point is that there's absolutely nothing wrong with grabbing some fast foods for your kids every once in a while.  Mine consider it a wildly exciting deal.  Throw in playing in the playplace with rude, spoiled kids whilst mommy yaps loudly and vacuously on her Bluetooth* and it's heaven on earth according to them. But it shouldn't be "two out of a week's 21 meals" or more.

*Yeah, OK, that was a teensy bit snarky.  But, really**, honey, we don't wanna hear your stupid convo.

** I think I said "really" (oh, fur shur!) at least 3-4 times in this post.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 12:52 pm   2 comments


At 7:49 am, Anonymous Gabrielle said...

Hey MrsEvilGenius,

I recently found your blog. I'm stopping working when our first child is born and we're working now on cutting all our expenses so I can stay home.

However, you wonderful wonderful blog's archives are broken! It's SO sad, i can't see the GENIUS of the past 5 years! I'm *heartbroken*

Is there anything you can do to fix this complete travesty!??!

At 7:52 am, Blogger MrsEvilGenius said...

ARGH! Thank you for pointing this out. i have tinkered with them for ages trying to fix.

The weird part is that some work and some don't.

I'll fiddle with them today.

So, erm ... if I blow something up, you'll know what happened. ;D


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