Maybe it makes me a bad parent, but a quick meal on the way to some after school activity or when we’re rushed is sometimes essential for my family. I don’t have the time or the patience to force feed veggies that make my kids gag at every meal. Nor do I have the skills to hide broccoli in brownies and cauliflower in cupcakes a la Missy Chase Lapine. While all the moms at a playdate are talking about processed cheese stuffs and how they would never go to McDonald’s, I’m worrying there is evidence of a recent visit in my car and hoping no one needs a ride. Micky D’s recently made sure all their chicken was white meat… and chicken, so why then do I come to find out that Taco Bell has no meat in their beef!
Come on, work with us moms here. How do we get quick protein on the run if there’s no protein in your meat? An Alabama law suit claims that the ground beef at Taco Bell does not meet the USDA’s definition of beef. In fact, there is only 36% beef in their “meat.” If that’s true, what else is in this mystery product that’s going in my kids’ mouths? Well, I’ll tell you: water, “Isolated Oat Product,” wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate, to name a few ingredients you probably can’t grow in your backyard or pronounce for that matter. It sounds like the label on a can of dog food that I wouldn’t feed my dog, although it might be something worth storing in a bomb shelter.
I can’t say my kids don’t like the taste. Like most kids, mine prefer the types of meals you would find on a paper menu that comes with a pack of crayons or at least a prize in a box. I’ve actually found myself saying these very words: “You can’t have dessert until you eat something healthy… now go finish your nuggets.” When I’m home, I do my best to give my children some protein and a serving of something green, or at the very least orange or yellow (pizza may or may not count… depending on the day), but I can’t say I don’t enjoy the convenience of a drive-thru every now and again. I mean look at the word “drive-thru,” even the spelling is fast, easy and over processed. We moms are a busy breed, we do it all: get little ones fed, bathed, rested, educated, and foster their creativity all while running loads of dishes that our husbands don’t rinse off or even put in the sink, and folding piles of laundry that make it to the hamper after 5 minutes of wearing. Okay, that makes us sound a bit June Cleaveresque, but it’s kinda true. Plus many of us volunteer, have jobs, do crafts, sit on boards and let’s not forget driving carpool to soccer practice.
Don’t think I’m being a drive-thru diva; I don’t have high nutritional expectations from fast food. In fact the only expectations I have is that it’s fast and that it’s food. Seriously, is that really too much to ask? READ MORE SERIOUSLY COLUMN ENTRIES AT HYBRID MOM