While scanning news reports online last week, I happened upon a photo of a pink gooey substance resembling soft serve ice cream being squeezed into a cardboard box. To my horror, the MSNBC article reported that this goo was, in fact, a mixture of scrap meat items and ammonium hydroxide that fast food restaurants like McDonald's had been using to make their hamburgers and other meat products. Sounds disgusting and possibly dangerous, right?
McDonald's reports that the pink goo meat product was taken out of their ingredient supply last August, but it got me thinking. While my family rarely eats fast food, I do routinely buy some prepared foods to make things easier in my kitchen. What scary mystery ingredients could there be lurking in those concoctions?
Raising kids is complicated, especially in busy households with multiple children, various schedules and work demands. Most parents make great efforts to serve healthy foods but it is tough to prepare fresh homemade meals every single time your kids eat.
While many of us are on the run, we need to prioritize. Our kids' health and wellness is critical. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. If your kids eat too much junk or processed foods, not only will their energy levels be low for the day but they will be missing out on essential servings of fiber, healthy protein, vitamins and minerals that are vital to their growth.
How can families reprioritize and change some of their eating habits? First item on my checklist (I will be firm on this - keep thinking pink goo!) is to never step foot in or drive up to another fast food restaurant. I am not sure why I ever did it in the first place.
The second step is make sure that our family always has plenty of healthy food options in our fridge. Food that needs to be kept cool, such as lean protein, vegetables and fruit, will make healthier meals than those packaged or canned products sitting for months in the pantry.
Parents - don't forget to look at labels! Have you seen the sodium content or the levels of sugar in your favorite foods? You may be surprised at what you find when you stop and investigate.
Planning meals ahead of time and even prepping some ingredients the night before can be tremendously helpful when you have a crazy day and little time to prepare a meal.
Who does not love an opportunity to eat out? Especially with so many great restaurant options in Morris County. You and your kids still can! Just focus on the healthier options on your favorite menus.
Making sure our families eat healthy food should be priority but it is also important to be realistic.
Some days will be better than others and it is impossible to completely avoid a quick, ocassional not-so-healthy meal. As long as we do not fall into a rut or become serial offenders, I think we can all rest easy knowing that overall our family members are in control of their diets.
Looking for some fun and healthy recipes that are kid-friendly? Check out this creative mom blog called Super Healthy Kids.
Chatham and Madison Parents - we love hearing from you! How do you manage healthy meals with your busy schedules? Will you continue to eat in fast food restaurants that have used questionable products in the past?