My 5-year-old has never been to McDonald’s. Never. Never ever.
I don’t want to say it’s my single greatest parenting achievement, but after reading Mommyfriend’s fast food confession, I’d have to say it’s close.
We can drive past a mile of Golden Arches on the roadside and there wouldn’t be a peep from the back seat. The brand and the logo means absolutely nothing to our kids.
It’s not hard to avoid the seductive lure of the stuff, if you just apply a few simple tactics.
My children watch a kid’s TV network that doesn’t have any advertising, so they’ve never been exposed to the characters or the commercials.
When it comes to playgrounds, we go to the ones that are outside. In the winter, we have a membership at a community center, so if they need to burn off steam in the cold weather, we go to the indoor pool or that play area, not a fast food joint.
With a 2-year-old and 5-year-old, our schedule isn’t so crazy that we find ourselves with kids whining in the back seat about how they’re hungry. If we get stuck on a Saturday at the mall, my boys will have plain noodles or cucumber sushi — not a burger and fries.
And their drink of choice? Water or milk. Sometimes they’ll ask for juice, but it’s usually water or milk.
We went to a friend’s for a BBQ and their 3-year-olds were walking around with cans of Coke Classic; our jaws dropped.
I don’t want to sound high and mighty and “you’re doing it wrong,” but you could be doing it better. It’s not hard.
Kids aren’t born with the lust of burgers, fries, and sodas — you have to introduce the foods to them. You have to give in to the marketing message, and you have to put the pop in their hands for them to try it. You have to unwrap the burger and lay it out as food that you consider appropriate.
McD’s is actively targeting children, but the food is still terrible. They’ve introduced Fruitizz, a drink being marketed as having 60% real juice — it still has 12 teaspoons of sugar.
Revamped Happy Meals are being called a “sham” by nutritionists.
I’d like to think that most of us have the right focus for our kids, and our habits are trying to give them healthy options and choices. Fast food is one of those choices I am trying to delay as long as possible.
Now all is not brag-worthy in my household; our 2-year-old does recognize the Dairy Queen logo (after 3 visits) and does ask for “Ice cream?” from the back seat every time we pass the one near our house.
Go ahead, tell me I’m crazy.
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