Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Happy Moms, Happy Kids, Happy Meals

The pressure to consume, consume, consume can be overwhelming to us; it is probably even more so to our kids. Fast food restaurants capitalize on this, offering kids' meals full of unhealthy, addictive food and including a cheap plastic junky toy along with it. Smart moms know that they have to fight back and limit, or better yet, prohibit these bad food choices. However, when a mom is overworked and out of time and facing increased pressure because the tasty food comes with the hottest "it" toy, it can be easy to cave.

Great mom "S" has found a way around that with her family's tradition of Healthy Happy Meal Day. On a day when she is tempted to stop and buy happy meals for her kids (and probably equally non-nutritious food for herself and husband), S whips up something healthy like frozen (store bought) veggie burgers, sweet potato fries, broccoli and a salad. When she has time, she might make something from scratch, but the clincher is that her kids' meals come with an inexpensive toy or something to keep them occupied. Healthy Happy Meal Day isn't every day; maybe once a week if that.

I couldn't call S a mean mommy, because it seems like she never really let her kids have fast food much in the first place. However, if you have gotten into the habit of stopping at McD's every week and you try to switch over to a healthy version, I'm sure your kids will think you are mean and even torturing them. It's also important to note that, in order to make your own happy meals at home, you need to have ingredients and toys on hand, at least somewhat in advance. The idea of a happy meal is that it's the food and the toy, at the same time, on demand. If you want to go this route, you need to make the commitment.

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