My cardiologist was very strict. He focused heavily on lifestyle, taking most of the appointment time asking questions, educating and challenging me with behavior changes to manage my condition and improve overall health. (I luv that.)  At the end of each appointment, he gives his patients a grade. I learned a lot and each year made good health strides. At one of my last visits, after reviewing my blood work, test results, general nutrition and exercise regimen, I knew I was on target for that A. Then he asked:
“Do your children know what a Happy Meal is?” 

Huh – My response:
“All children in this country know what a Happy Meal is.”
How ya like that avoidance. 
He rephrased: 
“Do your children eat Happy Meals or other fast food?  If so, how often?” 
My response: 
“…yes and more often than they should.”
He looked at me and said:
“You avoid fast food because you know it is junk. Why do you feed junk to your children? 
Your health extends beyond you – you get an A minus“ (Emphasis on the minus.)
Dang. I had no response.
His statement stuck with me.  Personally, I am focused on clean eating and that influence is seen in my household. But I am more lenient with my children when it comes to food. For example, I give them sweets far more often than I indulge in them. I also periodically give them fake food, (i.e. fast food, junk food etc), because I believe moderation is important. But I also think I held a mindset that it is ok because the kids are young.  Their little young strong bodies can handle it.  Although food x might not be good for me, it’s alright for our kids… 
True. Nutritional needs and tolerances change with different life stages.  Children through their teenage years require extra energy to fuel growth spurts.  They can benefit from some ‘extras’.  Anyone with a preteen or teenage son has probably marveled at the amount of food they consume.  But no one needs an abundance of empty calories, preservatives or chemicals.  Truth be told – many of the extras I allowed were just that.
So, I placed a keener eye on what kind of treats I gave my kids and how often.
An example: McDonalds’s French Fries
image source: mcdonalds.com
For years, my Momma and I have joked that they put something in McDonald’s Fries. Little children jones for them and have you noticed a french fry that has been under your little one’s car seat for a long while never rots?  (Sad to say I have noticed this.)

There is something in those McDonald’s French Fries.  A lot of somethings.
From mcdonalds.com:
Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*, Citric Acid [Preservative]), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color), Salt. Prepared in Vegetable Oil: Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to preserve freshness. Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK.
*Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.

Really!  I thought French Fries were made of potatoes, oil and salt.
(Maybe with a secret seasoning thrown in to make them unique.)
If a jar of baby food had Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, TBHQ and Dimethylpolysiloxane on the ingredients list – would I give it to my baby? Hecky no.  But I’ve sure handed Mickey D’s fries to my babies as soon as I thought they were old enough to not choke on them.  And called it a treat.
I now know better and will choose better.
Last school year, we passed a McDonald’s twice daily in the school commute. Two, dare I admit sometimes three times per week, I’d pull in and get an unsweet tea with light ice for me and an order of fries for Baby Girl’s after school snack. (She asked for them every day.)  That foolishness is long over. Fries are rarely an after school snack anymore and when the kids have fries, I make them at home or choose restaurants that don’t serve them up with TBHQ or Dimethylpolysiloxane. At first, the kids complained “Momma fries aren’t like McDonald’s fries”. SMH & LOL! That’s the point children. That’s the point.

Thinking back, I haven’t given the kids any McDonald’s in a long while.  They didn’t die when I stopped going there and now its a rare occasion they ask for it. I’m not the fast food police and still believe in moderation, so I won’t say they will never have McDonald’s french fries again. Momma won’t be the one rolling through to buy it for them. Bye bye McDonald’s fries.
Know better, choose better.

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