McDonald’s – Not My Kinda Place

ronald-title-wtf

Fast food restaurants are notorious for their cheap eats.  You’ll find $1 hamburgers, cheap chicken nuggets, frugally priced french fries – things that would be a value deal for most families.  The one thing that never made any sense to me in this “fair deal” environment was the price of sodas at these fast food places.  For what they charge for a large soda, you could easily buy a 2 litre soda at the grocery store, take your fast food home, and drink the flavor soda you like.

I do not drink soda, and as a result, I almost never buy soda for my house.  My kids act like it’s Christmas when, after a party or a houseful of company, we have soda left over that I let them finish off.  You will almost never be able to go to my refrigerator and grab a cold soda, because even when I have company, I buy bags of ice and keep the valuable fridge space for important things, like my mother’s potato salad.  As a result, my lazy children, who will go get themselves a can of soda, are used to drinking it at room temperature because they are never motivated enough to fill a glass with ice and pour the soda over it.  Where did these kids come from?

Whenever I take my kids out, they order their drinks without ice.  They’ve grown to prefer it that way – Granuaile especially.  She hates ice in her soda, probably more so because she often leaves her drink and comes back to it later, when an ice filled drink would now be watered down and nasty.  When you go into places like McDonald’s, you can get your own drink, so it never occurred to me that my kids were in some way taking advantage of good old Uncle Ronald by grabbing soda without ice.  I mean, you can go back and refill your drink to your heart’s content.

But did you know that if you go through the drive through of a local McDonald’s and ask for your kids meal soda without ice, they will charge you EXTRA?  It’s .10 more for a soda without the ice in the drive through, even though a kid can refill a cup inside a dozen times without paying any more.

Who instituted this policy?

This is certainly never going to break me.  It’s a dime. (although, I have learned that it goes as much as .89 upcharge to order a drink with no ice).  But honestly, it’s a principal thing at this point.  Why are you going to charge me a few extra pennies to get a full cup of soda in the drive through, but let me get as many full cups of soda as I want inside without penalizing me?

We are always talking about making our last fast food visit really our LAST fast food visit.  This may be just annoying enough to motivate me to stick with it this time.

The Skinny on Why Our Kids Are Fat

I have always packed school lunches. I am not the best cook, so lunches are where my culinary excellence shows – dinosaur cut sandwiches, rosette strawberries, little melon balls.  I’m the Wolfgang Puck of the lunchbox set.

In September, we sent Eilis to public school for the first time.  In January, we sent Granuaile.  The schools have real cafeterias, not Burger King one day and Papa John’s the next – this is real, government regulated food.  So it’s better for them, right?  Michelle Obama wouldn’t let the school serve unhealthy lunches, would she?

Oh – and did I tell you this part?  Because my husband is disabled, we qualify for reduced price lunches.  The cost to feed my children lunch each day?  80 cents.  For both.

But wait, there’s more!

Granuaile’s school began a breakfast program!  This is a busy mom’s dream, right?  The kids can sleep in an extra 15 minutes, and I don’t have to scramble to get breakfast ready.  Bonus – Reduced price for breakfast?  40 cents.

I browse the menu each week when it comes out, and it looks like there are all sorts of healthy options.  There are salads, fruits, vegetables.  But the reality is that I’m not there when my kids go through the lunch line.  I hear the salads smell funky, or the vegetables taste bad.  And breakfast, where there are no options, feature things I’d never feed my kids.  Granuaile on Monday had PopTarts.  How is that healthy?  I’ll tell you the school answer – it’s a whole grain PopTart, and it has a serving of fruit inside.  Let’s just disregard the fact that the fruit is steeped in sugar and the whole grain is frosted.

And gym class – remember that?  I do, because as a fat kid, I hated it.  And one reason I hated it so much is that it was an every day thing.  EVERY DAY!!  Granuaile has PE once a week, and they don’t even ask them to dress in PE clothes – they just take them outside to play.  Eilis has it once a week, and the class time is so brief, I’m not even sure why they bother to make them change.

I’ve ranted on kids meals before.  Why, when you go to McDonald’s, is there no kids sized salad?  Because kids don’t want them, McDonald’s won’t sell them, and parents (especially in cash strapped times) are going to opt for the $1 double cheeseburger over the $4 healthy option.

We put televisions and computers in our kids’ rooms, expecting them to use them for homework or occasional entertainment, but when was the last time you saw a game on your street of kick ball or street hockey?  I don’t mean something organized by the school – I mean just random kids playing a game outside.  It doesn’t happen in my neighborhood.  We bought out kids a basketball net, and it was stolen out of our driveway.  I went through the neighborhood to see if I could find it, then convinced myself that it was a conspiracy of neighborhood families to steal it because my kids were outside, laughing, playing and having fun.  I’m pretty sure that’s not legal anymore.  It was a message to get my kids back where they belong – in front of an XBox game or on Club Penguin!

Commercials aimed at children don’t pitch fresh fruit and vegetables.  They pitch the things kids love and moms love to hate.  But I buy them.  You buy them.  How can you look at those tiny, pleading faces and walk past the ice cream aisle or the cookie display?  And places like Costco and Sam’s Club allow us to buy three boxes of cookies at one time – cheaper!

Did you know that less than 10% of parents seek treatment for their child’s obesity?  Why is that?  Do we not want to acknowledge our kids are fat?  Do we not want the doctor to point fingers at us?  Do we think it’s going to go away?

Time to step up, Moms and Dads.  If it’s too late to help ourselves, we have to do something to help our kids.

I think I’m going to go pack a school lunch.

 

24 Hours of Dieting, and I Survived Dunkin’ Donuts

Okay – so I don’t dare tell you how much I weigh – until I don’t weigh that much anymore.  Then I’ll be all like, “Oh, did I tell you I lost 12 pounds?”  That’s how I roll.

So, I found an iPhone application that helps me keep track of my calories.  It’s kind of a neat app, in that it lets me put in my starting weight, how much I want to lose, and at what pace I want to lose the weight.  After I programmed everything in, the thing called me a big fat ass, and then told me to lay off the Girl Scout cookies.  I kid…

Unless I actually do something with the gym clothes I bought besides pairing them with the right eye shadow and the perfect shoes, I am limited to just under 1400 calories per day if I want to reach my goal in time.  Of course, seeing a number that small, I instantly thought there must be a zero missing somewhere – or they were giving my calories in metric or something (yeah, I know).

I was pleasantly surprised at the end of the day yesterday when I had only gone over by 17 calories – and that was because I stopped for a second latte.  I can’t be blamed for that one – my crazy husband tossed and turned all night long the night before in his sleep, and as I dragged my butt on the ground, I knew I needed caffeine or a contract hit man to deal with the rest of the day.

But today, gentle readers and dear friends, I faced the ultimate challenge.  We were running late, and I had to stop to grab breakfast for the girls.  It was also the opening performance of Eilis’ play at school.  Being the fat mom that I am, I thought I’d reward them with a treat – Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast.

I could have stopped and gotten them fruit and yogurt; or even an egg McMuffin, which would have been healthier and eliminated my temptation.  I didn’t.

And I ate a doughnut.

And I’ve stayed in my calorie range (well, 12 calories over for today – blame that second latte again).

The thing I’m most proud of is that I didn’t go back for a second doughnut – as I have been known to do.  Or come home and decide that I needed a doughnut for lunch, if for no other reason than to get them out of my house as quickly as I could – to save the rest of my family from the burden of obesity.  Because I’m kind like that.  And glaze is my favorite food group.

So as I stand here in the confessional, I hope that my prayer for absolution – my Act of Doughnut Contrition – includes at least an “Amen” for avoiding temptation for the rest of the day.