Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Huckle! This is party food!

In this first month of living without fast food, I have taken to reminding the kids (and myself) that fast food is best used as a treat, not a regular source of nutrition.
I remember trips to McDonald's being a special occasion when I was a kid (it was big news when Anacortes, Washington finally got a McDonald's) and treats like the Turtle Sundae and McNuggets were brand new (anybody else remember the Chicken McNugget action figures that came with Happy Meals?).
Now that I am a parent, I have found myself making almost daily trips to McDonald's for a sweet tea, McDouble and small fries.  $3.27.  "Hey kids, you can get three things each, but only off the dollar menu."  Way to go, Mom!  You just fed you and your kids for under $10!  I used to congratulate myself that way.
I realize now that I was teaching my children to indulge in convenience on a regular basis instead of being deliberate about their eating habits.

When my children were small, they loved Richard Scarry's Busytown books.  "The Best Mistake Ever" detailed a trip to the grocery store by Huckle Cat and his friend Lowly Worm.  Mother Cat provides a shopping list of things she needs from the store including cream, apples, butter, oranges and potatoes.  Huckle forgets the shopping list, and his friend Lowly helps him do the shopping based on his memory.  With Lowly's "help," Huckle buys ice cream (instead of cream), apple pie (instead of apples), peanut butter (instead of butter), orange soda (instead of oranges), and potato chips (instead of potatoes).  Mother Cat is very upset with Huckle's purchases, saying, "Huckle!  This is party food!"
Wow.  Party food?  Ice cream, pie, peanut butter, soda, potato chips ... isn't that part of the regular shopping list for a red-blooded American citizen?
It made me think about the short-cut food that I feed my family on a regular basis.  Am I truly providing nutrition, or am I teaching my kids that convenience food is a part of a regular diet?
Just something more to consider in my year-long "fast food fast."

Monday, January 9, 2012

REALLY? Are you sure? No TACO BELL?

Our family has been mulling over this "no fast food" pledge I have made with myself.

The most difficult challenge so far has been Taco Bell.

The Taco Party Pack has been a featured favorite of the Hatfield family when I am late coming home, rushing to soccer, or too tired to cook dinner.  It's cheap, delicious, and it's fast food.

There are many arguments swirling around the Hatfield home regarding the definition of fast food and the wisdom of eschewing such a practical dinner standby.

It comes down to this: DELIBERATION.  I want to live deliberately.  I want to eat deliberately.  I want to be intentional about what we put into our bodies, and the way we eat together.  We will eat dinner together as a family.  We will not rely on fast food to feed our stomachs and our souls.

For 2012, at least, we are even turning our back on the Taco Party Pack.

And, for the first time in a while, I am starting down the end of my first half of the monthly food budget in the black.  I haven't even had to dip into extra money, because I haven't allowed myself to have any.  The kids and I have even treated ourselves to Sweet Frog two times, we have eaten out as a family at (slow food) restaurants on occasion and had the opportunity to give from our surplus as well.

So far, we have saved and paid down a little over $5,000 in debt, just from money we had saved over the holidays.  That means $500 in the Disney fund, and we're well on our way to dumping the $30,000 home equity line.  That's enough motivation for me to even turn my back on Taco Bell.