Find out why I (as a dietitian and mom of 3) allow my kids to eat McDonald’s and it may not be what you think!
By no means is this an endorse of McDonald’s or any type of fast food. And when I say my kids eat McDonald’s it is NOT on a regular basis. And yes my dietitian side cringes a little when they eat it since I know I could be feeding them a million other foods that are healthier, BUT reality sets in…
I’m a work-at-home mom of three children five and under, and up to a year and a half ago I wasn’t working nearly as much as I am now. Since having my first child over 5 years ago I did have a few part-time work-at-home jobs and completed my master’s degree. I also have a husband with an extremely DEMANDING job which keeps him at work for very long hours. So needless to say I’ve been busy. With all of these factors in mind however, I am NOT going to use the excuse of I’m too busy to cook healthy meals or even prep healthy meals for my family and that’s what leads us to McDonald’s. And although I do NOT feel the need to justify my decisions I just want to show you how it’s possible to provide a balanced healthy diet (that includes fast food) without being overly strict.
Here are a few of my reasons…
Active Indoor Play + Lunch
So you may be thinking ‘why DO you let them eat McDonald’s?’ With three HIGH energy children we NEED to get out of the house regularly (ideally daily) and they need to expend the endless energy they have on a daily basis. We are 30 minutes away from indoor playgrounds and malls with a play area. So on a rainy day or in the dead of winter with a windchill of 10 degrees or below I will take my kids on occasion to the McDonald’s a few miles from my house for a Happy Meal and an hour or two of free play. Thankfully McDonald’s at least offers a fruit choice and reduced fat milk (pop is going over the line for me – they are rarely offered juice and definitely not pop). This also means I get a break from making lunch that day!
Yes, I’m admitting that cost is a factor! Besides the fact that I don’t want to always drive 30 minutes (because of time restraints and nap schedules), food plus play time at another indoor play area can get expensive! Believe me I would love to open a reasonably priced healthy salad/sandwich business with an awesome indoor play area but that isn’t happening any time soon!
And besides saving my sanity on cold winter days, when we’re traveling as a family over a long weekend and we’ve run out of sandwich makings, we will stop by a McDonald’s in route. Not only does it save time and money it also allows the kids to run around a bit in between long car rides.
Sanity means something and mommy guilt can be bad enough with a million other topics of motherhood. I will never be too strict when it comes to my diet or what I offer to my children. I want them to experience the joys of eating all kinds of food while continuing to offer and serve mostly healthy foods.
How I Keep Our Diets Balanced
- I make homemade snacks including smoothies and muffins with nutritious ingredients and encourage my kids to help make them. Here are a few examples of my favorites: Banana Blueberry Smoothie Bowl, Berries and Hemp Smoothie Bowl, Wild Blueberries and Pomegranate Smoothie and Sweet Potato Muffins (pictured below).
- I purchase whole grain bread and grains about 95% of the time.
- I purchase a LOT of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- I serve a variety of meals including fruits and/or vegetables at every meal. The main dishes pictured below include baked chicken breasts topped with spinach artichoke dip and whole wheat Panko crumbs (first photo) and scrambled cheese eggs and turkey sausage (second photo), both served with fresh fruit and vegetables. Each meal took 30 minutes or less.
- We try to be physically active as much as possible! Pictured below you’ll see the kiddos practicing backpacking around our city (my oldest made it 2 1/2 miles and my daughter made it 1 1/4 miles!) in prep for a possible overnight backpacking trip with daddy this summer.
So yes I let my kids eat McDonald’s on occasion for my sanity and truly sticking with my motto of “everything in moderation”.
Do you offer your kids McDonald’s? Have you sworn off fast food years ago? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This Why I Allow My Kids to Eat McDonald’s post first appeared on Chocolate Slopes.