It’s Fast…but is it Food?

Chicken Nugget Goop

Have you seen the recent picture floating around on social media sites, of a less than appetizing pink substance, supposedly used to make chicken nuggets?  At first it of course made me cringe, but I can’t say I was surprised.  It’s a known fact that typical fast food is not healthy and that is has some sort of mysterious aspect to its ingredients and origin, that people choose to ignore.  I think we overlook the details and enjoy the finished product, especially since that is what these fast food companies pay billions of dollars in advertising to achieve.  The fact that fast food is a low cost, satisfying, fun, quick and easy meal is why it is consumed by 50,000,000 people a day.*

We are all guilty of heading to the local fast food joint and allowing our children, and ourselves, to indulge.  I think a large part of what we choose to eat has to do with how food was involved our lives growing up.  Did mom cook every night, order in, do drive through, eat healthy, cook with an ethnic element, expect everyone to eat what she made instead of providing separate “kid friendly” meals, etc?   When I grew up, my mother cooked for us every night and created dishes that were unique, and as I quickly learned from leftovers in my lunchbox, were not what my friends were eating in theirs.  I absolutely loved everything we ate and believe it was her food choices for us that helped me develop into the foodie I am today.  We only ate fast food if we were traveling, either at airports or driving on the road to a long distance destination.  Therefore, it’s not something I really craved as a child and not something I crave as an adult.  Looking back, I feel so lucky my mom put in the effort to provide us with such wonderful, home cooked, healthy meals .  Now that I am a mom, I also love to cook for my family, but I also want my kids to experience the fun and excitement of the American tradition of fast food every so often.  I would say every 2-3 months, I treat them with chicken nuggets, fries and the much sought after prize at a well known fast food chain.  Because I don’t supply them with the tasty indulgence often, they don’t ask me for it every time we pass a fast food chain, and we all know that there is one practically every few blocks.

Thanks so my mom, I eat healthy, cook healthy for my family, and expect my kids to eat their veggies every day.  I think it teaches them good eating habits, promotes trying new and different foods, and helps develop a larger taste pallet.  If healthy habits start early in a child’s life, it will follow them forever and the same goes for the opposite point!  If a child only knows fast food, they will eat the same way as an adult.  HOWEVER, I feel that children should enjoy being children and to expect them to be health nuts all the time is unrealistic.   Once in a while, it’s not going to kill them to eat fast food, at least we hope.   Many of the popular chains have provided healthier options for people, which is good to see.  Personally though, if I am going to eat fast food, it’s because I want a filling, unhealthy, tasty treat, not a healthy meal.

Let’s not forget to mention the convenience of fast food.  That’s why they call is fast!  Moms are busy creatures and don’t always have the time to whip up a gourmet meal every night.  In today’s economy, fast food is the cheapest option, plain and simple.  I wonder how the pink gooey picture is affecting sales of chicken nuggets, but I have to imagine, not enough to make a dent.  We see the finished product which looks good, tastes good and feels good (at least going down) and that’s all that matters to us.  We still eat hotdogs even though we all know, or rather don’t want to know, what they are made of.  Processed food is called that for a reason…because it’s processed, or in other words, chemically altered through additives such as flavors, flavor enhancers, binders, colors, fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, etc.**

I am not judging anyone who eats fast food or feeds it to their children.  In fact, this week’s behavior chart reward for my kids is fast food, meaning the chicken nuggets made of pink goo.  We haven’t been there in 2 months so I thought it was time for a visit.  Will I be able to restrain myself and just order for the kids?  Hmmm…at 8 months pregnant, probably not, so who am I to judge?  You might also find it interesting that I order the fish sandwich at one particular place, which often baffles people’s minds.  I recently discovered that it’s actually made of real fish, as opposed to pink glop, which I was happy to hear.  Always a good sign your food is considered real.  Was the fish killed in this century, who knows, but it tastes good.  I don’t eat it often so do I really care?  Hence my point about the mysterious pink chicken nugget paste we have all seen pictures of.  We might boycott chicken nuggets for a while as the unpleasant picture stays fresh in our minds, but I bet people get over it and continue to enjoy their nuggets of deliciousness; I have.  I think as long as we monitor our kid’s consumption and don’t use fast food as a staple meal, it’s a fun, rewarding, tasty treat.

Thanks for reading and please leave comments!  I am curious to hear your reactions to the pink mystery picture that seems to circulate the web every few years.

 

 

 

*http://ezinearticles.com

**http://health.amuchbetterway.com