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Fast Food and Kids: A Do or a Don't?

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Georgie Hockett: I've always vowed to never feed my child a Happy Meal. But when do you bend your vows for convenience? Does that me a bad person, giving my child a twisty cone?

Kids eating

When you're single -- or married without children -- it's easy to be a good parent.
"I'd never give my child a hamburger!" you might say, watching the latest E. coli breakout roll out in front of you on the local news. But much like everything in life, everything changes.

OK, I haven't given my two year old a hamburger -- yet. But I remember going to McDonald's as a kid and it was just about the biggest treat on the planet; because we didn't go there everyday. Who am I to deprive my child of fast food memories? What harm could come from one chocolate milkshake?

When I was a kid I was practically addicted to catsup but hated tomatoes. And even us, as adults, tend to get a little weak around French fries. What self control is a 2-year-old, 4-year-old, or a 6-year-old supposed to have under the same salty temptation? I'm all about bartering with children --"You do this and you can have whatever." Right now my bartering tools include books, watching TinkerBell, and oranges, but I know this bliss won't last for long.

There's nothing wrong with a little indulgence every now again, is there? A Happy Meal on a birthday, a Saturday night, or out with Grandma and Grandpa isn't the end of the world.

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Daryl March 16, 2009, 7:40 AM

as long as his core nutrition is good, it’s not going to hurt him. By making it a special occasion treat you teach him that it’s fun to eat junk every once in a while but it’s not for everyday. You can also try ordering the healthier items like the apples and milk if you’re really concerned. March 16, 2009, 12:31 PM

Its great that fast food places are offering healthier choices these days. My girls often choose fruit over French fries at Chick-fil-A. Sometimes its a must when you’re in the car, running late after dance class and there just isn’t time for a home cooked meal. Lets give ourselves a break. No mommy guilt here…

Anonymous March 16, 2009, 5:43 PM

My kid’s vegan, but I don’t mind the occasional splurge on vegan fast food (yes it does exist) as long as they remember that healthy is important.

Kirstie March 17, 2009, 7:02 PM

Occasional fast food is certainly not going to hurt your kids. By banning it and making it a ‘bad food’, you’re doing MORE damage to your kids. EVERYTHING is fine in moderation. A happy meal one day on rare occasion is perfectly fine.

Chkkyrzs June 25, 2009, 11:04 PM

l1tDmZ comment2 ,

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