Yesterday we ate at McDonald’s.

If you know me, you probably know that I can be a little psycho about food, so this confession may be a bit shocking.  Your shock is probably compounded by the fact that I don’t eat meat … but let me explain.

Sabine had to have a physical yesterday.  In between dropping her sister off at MawMaw’s and heading to the doctor’s office, we had about 20min to spare.  We decided to hit up McDonald’s for breakfast.  It was close, it was cheap, and it was quick.  Sabine and I have done meals out at a variety of different places.   We have mommy/daughter dates over sushi, Mexican, at pizzerias, etc.  We had, however, never done McDonald’s until yesterday … and it was AWESOME.  Sometimes when we’re out eating I feel like restaurant staff and other patrons sort of look down on the fact that I’m dining with my 3 year old.  Even if she is on her best behavior.  They just don’t have an overly kid friendly manner.  Which is fine, really, because we’re there to grub and not to chit chat but it can make a difference.  The folks at McDonald’s were thrilled to have my kid there.  THRILLED!  They even carried our tray for me.  At McDonald’s, y’all!

Now, I know what you’re thinking … “But, Jenn.  It’s MCDONALD’S.  It’s trans fats and HFCS and unidentifiable meat products and marketing to children and MASS PANDEMONIUM!!!”  Sure, yeah, it is.  And I’m not normally “pro” any of those things but, yesterday, I liked it. Not like, liked it enough that I wanted to go back this morning or anything … but for a quick breakfast with my kid who was about to get poked on at the doctor, it was nice.  And I’ll admit that I enjoy an occasional Egg McMuffin (sans Canadian bacon) as much as the next person.

Here’s the thing – I’m not going to ban a bunch of foods from my children’s’ diet.  I’m crazy about food, but I’m not crazy.  I will control what I can and not feed them a diet of consistent junk, sure.  But my ultimate goal is to TEACH them to make healthy choices on their own.  To educate them about what is healthy and what is not.  On why it’s important to eat healthy foods and how they can make healthy choices on their own.  And why a single biscuit & gravy doesn’t = the downfall of their entire body system.  I will not be the food police.  I will arm my children with the knowledge and power to navigate through the modern American food system.

Yes, we have issues with what we eat and how much we eat in America but policing food is NOT the way to fix it.  We could all benefit from a little self-control.  A little lesson in moderation.  Is McDonald’s targeting children with a clown?  Maybe … but at some point it becomes the parent’s responsibility to step in and say, “No, you will not eat chicken McNuggets every night this week and yes, you will eat the broccoli we’re having with dinner.”  Or “Hey, let’s go grab a smoothie just this once, but not tomorrow and always.”  Not McDonald’s responsibility.  Not the government’s.  The PARENT’S.  We make a million decisions a day to protect our children – wear your seatbelt, hold my hand when you cross the street, don’t throw balls at your sister’s head, etc.  Food is no different.

Our diet isn’t perfect, but neither is anything else in our lives.  We eat healthy homemade meals 95% of the time.  Now and then, a little junk with a clown won’t hurt.