Thursday, October 25, 2007

All Excuses Aside

The other day a mom confided to me that her children never see the inside of a McDonald's. I was about to commend her for cutting out fast food when she added that this is because she is too busy to go inside. They use the drive-through, usually several times a week.

Before I go further, I have a confession to make. Only a quarter of my family's diet is organic. Sometimes it goes up to around half. I've found that we eat a lot more organics when I am in a meatless meal phase. The percentage is steadily rising, but like most mommies, I have a finite grocery budget. This is not my only dietary compromise; we eat fast food about once a month. Last week I gave in to months of begging and purchased a box of cereal straws. I am not a perfect mom, especially not in the food arena.

With my faults on the table, I feel better about criticizing other parents. I am starting to think that everyone feeds their children junk. Starchy, sugary, over-processed junk. And the excuses are always that they have no time, and that healthy food is so expensive.

I'll address the time matter first. None of us have time. You're talking to a homeschooling, work-at-home mother/stepmother of eight. No time here. Anyway, the drive-through takes longer (and costs more, which I address next) than grabbing some apples and string cheese on your way out the door.

As for money, the only way healthy food is more expensive is if you compare the very cheapest of processed food with the most expensive natural foods. "Look, organic blueberries are eight dollars a pint. Oh well, just grab a bag of chips." Mom ignores the very economical organic carrots and bananas--even non-organic fruit beats chips--and buys chips, considering herself forced to feed her growing children junk.

Even on the rare occasion that healthy, natural snacks are more expensive than a bag of starch, they are still a better deal. We are paying for nourishment for growing bodies and minds. If a food doesn't do that, we're getting absolutely nothing for our money. You might as well put your paycheck in the compost bin.

The last time I visited my local drive-through, a fast food meal was around five dollars. You can easily feed one person a healthy, organic diet for a day with that! So let's stop feeding Nabisco's bank account and start feeding our kids.