A Little Responsibility

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July 22, 2009 by skwishface

So I was cruising my local social networking site, and saw a post:

“did everyone know that the largest toy distributor is NOT Wal-Mart, but MCDONALD’S. No wonder kids are growing up obese, diabetic, and destined for a heart attack at 20. Is it too much to ask for corporations to show a little responsibility?!”

Corporations like McDonald’s only produce what they know will be consumed. Supply and demand rule the marketplace. If people will buy it, eat it, consume it, and come back for more of it, the corporations will crank it out as quickly and efficiently as possible. If throwing in a toy will make a product more appealing, then it’s all just part of the business of doing business. It’s a deadly competitive market, and the corporations are just waving all the bright flashy colors and plastic bric-a-brac at us to catch our attention so that we hopefully give them our money.

We, as consumers, have the choice. And we need to take responsiblity for that choice.

I know that when I indulge in a bucket of McDonald’s fries, I’m adding an inch to my ass. Sometimes I’m hormonal and I judge the cost to be worth it. But that’s my choice, and I take full responsibility for that.

This goes double for my kids. They’re too young to make their own responsible food choices (hell, one of them’s still on formula out of a bottle), so it falls to me to make the right decisions for them. I’m no health food Nazi – every now and then, life is busy and it’s just easier to pull into the drive-thru. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to make the decision to serve my kid a two-thousand calorie greaseball of a meal just for my convenience. That would be irresponsible.

There are healthy options at these fast-food places. Healthy options plus toys! This is a result of consumer demand – it wasn’t all that long ago that the closest thing to a fresh veggie on the McDonald’s menu was the pickles on the burger. It is possible to order a kid’s meal that consists of milk, apple slices, and chicken nuggets. Sure, the nuggets are fried. That’s why we pack up that fast food kid’s meal and take it to a playground where he can work off the grease. I get myself a chicken wrap and a diet soda. Fries or a small shake if it’s my ladytime. Because I’m a smart, free-thinking individual who has choices.

We don’t order super-sized extra-meat full-sugar-soda meals and then go plop ourselves in front of the TV to play video games for the rest of the day while our arteries clog and our backsides expand. We don’t eat fast food every day of our lives. Yes, fast food is quick and convenient. But it is not cheaper than healthier options. It’s just easier. For less money than your average combo meal, you can buy all the ingredients to cook yourself a healthy meal with leftovers that will feed you for days. I know, because that’s what I do every week. I buy cheap, cook in quantity, and feed my peeps. It takes time and planning, but it’s totally possible.

People who end up in documentaries that demonize the fast food corporations of the world are people who are lazy. There, I said it. If you’ve got a 200-pound ten year old and you feed that child McDonald’s every day, that is not McDonald’s fault. That’s YOUR fault. Nobody held a gun to your head and threatened to pull the trigger unless you did Happy Meal Dinner every night.

Now I’ m not saying my family and I are paragons of health and weight management. My husband and I struggle with our weight, no lie. But we’re making a serious effort to get ourselves healthy for our kids’ sake, and in so doing we realized that we have a choice. We have options.

We take a little responsibility.

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