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:
[amazon_link id=”0143038583″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Omnivore’s Dilemma[/amazon_link] by Michael Polan
[amazon_link id=”0143114964″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]In Defense of Food[/amazon_link] by Michael Pollan
[amazon_link id=”0060838582″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Fast Food Nation[/amazon_link] by Eric Schlosser
[amazon_link id=”0743266420″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy[/amazon_link] by Walter C. Willett, MD. His healthy pyramid is posted on our refrigerator door.
[amazon_link id=”0061172286″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SuperFoods Rx: 14 Foods That Will Change Your Life[/amazon_link] by Steven Pratt, MD. The 14 foods are posted on our refrigerator door, also.
For young readers:
[amazon_link id=”0803735006″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Omnivore’s Dilemma[/amazon_link] by Michael Pollan (young readers edition)
[amazon_link id=”0618593942″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Chew on This[/amazon_link] 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
5 thoughts on “Could You Give Up Fast Food for One Year?”
Kids seem to be a big factor in fast food. Even without them our lives have revved up to so fast that its hard to make time for the things that matter most and we eat out out of convenience. For work I travel a lot and work in a fast paced industry where food is fuel and little more. Its hard to avoid poor food choices. I tried Burgerville because everyone raved about it but I don’t think I’d struggle to avoid it or the lesser fast food spots. That said I love pubs for a 1400 cal lunch, and a number of other less stigmatized but equally bad food choices. One of those books above has a line that we are the most health obsessed and least healthy for it. Its a hard place to make good choices even with everything we know.
I agree about the food choices. With kids, not watching TV (or just PBS) helps cut down on the amount of commercials and bad food ads they’re exposed to. It takes much effort to eat “slow food” rather than “fast food” even with all we know. Thanks for the comment.
I read “Fast Food Nation” in 2002 and haven’t eaten fast food since. I can actually feel myself sneering when I see someone walking with a McDonalds bag, and have to restrain myself from saying, “You know that’s not real food, don’t you?” When I was in high school I proudly loved McDonalds, and Taco Bell, and Jack in the Box… Now I’m a Subway girl when I need something quick.
My 9-year old daughter has never been to a fast food restaurant, but has eaten a Dairy Queen blizzard on a field trip (!). We explained to her since she was young how fast food is actually made, and what it is made of. She was instructed to call us if another parent tried to take her to a fast food restaurant. That may sound drastic, but the peer pressure and the commercials all work against a parent, making fast food seem glamorous and fun. We’ve also taken her to see the movies “King Corn”, “Dirt”, “Food Fight” and “Ingredients” as part of our Slow Food potlucks.
I think Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules” is the best to share with kids. It is short and easy to understand. You can go through each rule and determine if your household follows it or not.
Great book suggestion on “Food Rules” and I love Micheal Pollan’s writing. I think having household rules about food is helpful. And, my kids have eaten ice cream at DQ! We have one within walking distance and it’s quite the right of passage in our neighborhood to be able to walk there. Thanks for the comment, Liana.
What a great post! It’s amazing what you become aware of when you open your eyes to the food we consume everyday. Once my family and I committed ourselves to healthy eating choices, we were a bit shocked to see how easy it is to consume processed and unhealthy foods. Fast food is certainly tops. Though my blog has just become, “Recipes To Run On”, it started as “Quit Eating Out”…. bc I wanted to have recipes and meal plans so we would stop relying on restaurants for meals. Fast food seems easy when everyone is hungry and short on time. But the way it makes your body feel, etc. is not worth it. Great post and great idea. We too have essentially given up on fast food.
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