Health Challenge Tip #3

The Health Challenge logo is, of course, courtesy of Auntie Rosita. Don't you love those pigtails!?

#3: Ditch Fast Food

First of all, gag. That's what I have to say when I think about fast food, how it's prepared and what's in it! It's not good for you OR your kids! (or your wallet for that matter, no matter how cheap it is!).

Upon knowing that we'd be raising Sweet P as a vegetarian, my mom once said, "Oh sad, she'll never get a happy meal." My first thought? Phew!

Ditching this habit is a bit easier as a vegetarian since most fast food joints don't serve much (unless you want to eat fries and a milkshake...on second thought...kidding). Subway and Quizno's are our options and while Subway might serve healthier options, it's still not an ideal meal. And don't go pretending that Quizno's sandwich is healthy (because they have some of the worst!).

Want to talk about what's in those fast food meals? Probably not, but let's do it anyway. Chicken McNuggets are made out of 38 ingredients. Yep. 13 of those ingredients? Corn. Corn-starch, corn-fed chicken, yellow corn flour, partially hydrogenated corn oil, etc. 56% of it is corn! It should be a Corn McNugget, but it still wouldn't be good for you. You probably don't want to know the rest of those ingredients. And just because it says no trans-fat doesn't make it good for you.

Ok, so let's talk convenience here. Really, what needs to happen is planning. If you know you're going to be out and about and might pass meal time, plan ahead and pack a lunch. Trust me, your kiddos will love a packed lunch as much as they do a happy meal (they usually just crave the toy inside anyway..and really? do they need another happy meal toy? I thought not.). So pack your kids and yourself a lunch. If your kids help, it'll be a fun activity for them and they see what's going in so no complaining later ("you packed it!").

Same thing goes for traveling. Pick up a small (or large cooler depending on the size of your family) and pack it full of healthy snacks and small meals for your drive. If you're flying, opt for things that don't need to stay cold like apples, bananas, sandwiches and other items. (More on travel foods in another post).

And for pete's sake, don't get fast food and bring it home for dinner! Throw on some whole wheat pasta and serve it with olive oil and spices. It's just as easy as the drive thru and costs less (I promise).

Again, if this is an every day habit for you, start by leaving one day behind at a time.