Friday, November 19, 2010

49¢ more?

Okay, first, I must confess: I drove through. A drive-thru. Yes, a fast food drive-thru. But I guess that's why I went with Medium Food Mama and not Slow Food Mama. I still struggle with being totally organized and not finding myself in a pinch when out with the boys. Today was one of those days.

On our way to Whole Foods (from Target), my littlest baby fell asleep. After being so fussy that I almost had to abandon our cart mid shopping, I wasn't about to wake him. And my three year old wasn't about to forget about lunch, sleeping brother or not. After offering all that I had on me (a Grammy Sammy and Fiddlesticks), it was off to Burger King for mac and cheese. Getting mac and cheese is via the Kid's Meal. The menu gives you options on a beverage. They offer both plain milk and chocolate as well as juice and soda. All the meals come with fries. But wait, I don't want fries. As I ask for an alternative, I see "Apple Fries" on the menu with a clear note underneath: 49¢ more. At almost the exact time, the cashier tells me I can get apple fries but it will be "extra." I said no problem, give me the apple fries.

While waiting for the quintessential handing of food through a window, I couldn't stop being bothered by having to pay more for apples. It's one of the main problems I have with our food system. Make even the simplest, healthier swap more expensive. I worked in a restaurant for over eight years and, at the time, customers could have fruit, cottage cheese or even a salad in place of fries - at no extra cost. With the unwavering support (income) that fast food chains have from the masses, I'm certain the extra money is just gravy. And I would venture to say at a restaurant, especially a small family-owned one, the extra money would not be just gravy but rather contribute to keeping the doors open.

This post isn't about whining over 49¢, although I am doing so and a few cents can make a difference. It is more about the WHY. All charging "extra" for a healthier swap does is continue to perpetuate the current problem with making good food harder to obtain and bad food easier to obtain. Maybe I should start a petition or something specifically targeted at fast food restaurants and not charging more for healthy food or at least the extra charge for apples. I guess if San Francisco was able to pass a ban on toys associated with meals that are poor in nutrition (a.k.a. Happy Meals), then maybe I could generate some action on this subject. It's a thought.

In conclusion, I need to get more organized as to avoid having to deal with fast food choices and annoyances. You know, bring my own apples, cheese, sandwiches, etc. It's always my intent but as I said earlier, I still struggle.

Monday, November 1, 2010

No Halloween candy to be found... Is that a bad thing?

Even though I'm a little sad to see October go, I am welcoming November with open arms (and an empty candy jar)... Okay, I don't have an actual candy jar but you know what I mean. We did get the boys dressed up and we even went to a Halloween party. There was some treats at the party but they we're small and the only one Gavin was really interested in was the pumpkin shaped cookie. I must spend a moment on the cookie. They had two or three tables set up for the kids to decorate their cookie. Each child got a paper plate with a cookie, a small container of frosting, a small container of candies and a plastic knife. Gav had a lot of fun spreading the frosting then decorating the cookie with the little candies. I love stuff like this. It's creative and it gives the kids the feeling of making their own treat. So much better than a handful of packaged candy. After the party, we went home. The boys had a nice time, my husband and I had a nice time and this morning, none of us feel like anything is missing. As much as I LOVE a Reese's pumpkin or any shape of Reese's for that matter, it's nice not to have a bag of junk around to contend with.

I know to some it may sound like a terrible thing - no Halloween candy to pick at throughout the week? But I think it's great. Treats taste better when there's some effort put into them. From measuring and mixing it all yourself to the cookie Gav decorated last night, it all adds so much to the pleasure of eating a treat. In regards to budget, it really doesn't apply in this instance. Bags of Halloween candy are pretty cheap and the bulk of what you end up with is free so homemade goodies are bound to cost more but in the long run are a better choice. Remember though - everything in moderation. Have Halloween candy in the house? Have a little. Then throw it out. :)