During the summer, when my kids were much younger (and still wanted to go to the swimming pool with me) we’d leave the pool feeling hungry and ready for a snack. I’d get the full-court-press on picking up fast food. After sunshine and swimming, we were starving. Our neighborhood public pool is located down the street from several fast food restaurants. While getting our wet, drippy selves to the car, the aroma of fast food in the air would smell so good. Sometimes, I’d fall for it but later I’d be sorry. Fast food can taste good going down. After doing this several times, I decided we needed a new game plan. After a family meeting, and some convincing, we all agreed to do something crazy for the following New Year’s resolution.
We decided to give up fast food for one year.
Just one year. You can do anything for a year. We would do it as a family. No cheating, no exceptions. Now, our kids had to be 4 and 6, so a year to them was a long time. Really, I think they just forgot about it. My husband…well, he’s another story. Popeye’s (as in the chicken and not the cartoon character) could be his middle name. But, we did it. Once decided, our competitive nature kicked in around here and there was no turning back, even though we were tempted!
This year of no fast food was a turning point in our eating program. My husband and I realized we wanted to be more careful about what we ate, we wanted to feel good after a meal, and we wanted to continue to stay the same size. We didn’t want to super-size ourselves. Reading books on healthy lifestyles and food also helped. It really confirmed our decision.
After the year off from fast food, we never went back. We have eaten at Burgerville, which is local in Oregon and In-N-Out Burger, because you have to while road-tripping in California. My husband has finagled us into a few Popeye’s trips over the last 7 or 8 years, but otherwise we’ve been pretty solid. Now, “fast food” is a burrito at our favorite local food cart.
Making lifestyle and food changes can seem overwhelming and a bit scary. Changing a routine, a lifestyle, and perhaps enduring complaints can be difficult. In the end, it’s worth it. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is good for you, your health, your pocketbook, and our environment.
Still need convincing? Check out these excellent books:
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Polan
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Walter C. Willett, MD. His healthy pyramid is posted on our refrigerator door.
SuperFoods Rx: 14 Foods That Will Change Your Life by Steven Pratt, MD. The 14 foods are posted on our refrigerator door, also.
For young readers:
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (young readers edition)
Chew on This by Eric Schlosser (young readers edition)
What about you? Do you eat fast food? Could you give it up for a year?
Go Gingham related links:
Slow food gets prepared by slow families
Eat healthier – written for 2011 but still applicable!
Shopping from the bulk bins and storage tips
Frugal grocery shopping tips
Meal planning made simple – you can do it!
Could you give up fast food for a year?
Get those kids cooking dinners!!
My food philosophy is here – Go Gingham food philosophy