How to break the fast food habit -- how did you do it? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 46 Old 04-29-2010, 10:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Fast food was A LOT more unhealthy back when I decided it wasn't for me (fries cooked in lard, fewer regulations... the Reagan years). !
I will take fries in lard any day, health wise, over the oxidizing franken GMO soybean oil that they use now.

But as for avoiding fast food... I struggle with the takeout places. I live in the big city, and there are many very good pizza/sandwich shops that deliver to the house when I'm home w/DD during the week (I work weekends.) McD's isn't super appealing, but getting a fresh hot gyro smothered in tzatziki sure is!!! The ingredients aren't terrible, but the portions are too big and at $10 a meal, it can sure do a number on the bank account.

I seem to succeed best when I make a huge pan of mac and cheese, or enchiladas, or something else not super healthy that can satisfy the lunchtime rich food craving all week.

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#32 of 46 Old 04-29-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jeminijad View Post
I will take fries in lard any day, health wise, over the oxidizing franken GMO soybean oil that they use now.
See, I don't even know what they use now, fast food is so far off of my radar. Shows how much I know about the subject... maybe it is more unhealthy now than it was then. It was darned unhealthy then, that's for sure!
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#33 of 46 Old 04-29-2010, 11:22 AM
 
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This might not be a realistic tip for everyone, particularly those commuting long distances, but I just don't carry money, atm cards, or credit cards. That means that I can't make any impulse buys.

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#34 of 46 Old 04-29-2010, 11:22 AM
 
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I will take fries in lard any day, health wise, over the oxidizing franken GMO soybean oil that they use now.


For me it was an emotional and information transformation. When I was pregnant with my first child, the idea 'you are what you eat' became vividly real to me....my BABY was what I ate! That curbbed my habit, and then breastfeeding sort of continued that trend. And then I thought...well, if I didn't want that stuff going into making his body and in my breastmilk, why on earth would I feed it to him just because he's a little older?

Then I saw Supersize Me, and, honestly, I'd think I was the biggest idiot on the planet if I put a Big Mac into my mouth (or worse, my kids' mouths!) after seeing that.

So, for me it was an emotional response that got the ball rolling.

Since then, I've come up with lots of ways to cope with my decision to not eat fast/convenience foods, most of them already mentioned by pps. My best tool is meal planning. I started planning just dinners and now I plan most of what we eat, including snacks. As pp mentioned, snacks and lunch are the toughest, aren't they? I make a snack tray every morning for the day...kids can snack from that whenever they want and if we go out, I pop some from the tray into a container to go. Ditto lunch...I try to plan things that can be portable so I'll have it with us if we decide to spend the day away from home. Breakfast is usually the same rota by week (but we'll switch from yoghurt and stewed fruit on Tuesday to oatmeal if Tuesday turns out cold and rainy, for example).

And, now, what keeps me on track is also an emotional response. I'm really proud of the food I feed my family. I'm proud that my kids read (OK, ask me to read to them) the lables when we shop. They ask about ingredients when they are offered food. I do sometimes think that it would be so easy to drive through somewhere, but I try to remember that the good-mamma feeling that really gets me through the day would be compromised along with our budget and our health.

Gwen , partner to D ; Mamma to T (6) , J (4) , and baby P
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#35 of 46 Old 04-29-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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I agree that watching Food, Inc and reading Fast Food Nation are great for motivation but its important to have practical alternatives. For me that meant loosening up a little at the grocery store.

Right now I don't have a lot of time to cook so my pantry and fridge are stocked with things like canned soup, canned beans, garden burgers, etc. Not perfect but much better than fast food. I also started buying some really good roast beef and rolls from the deli on Fridays and this has completely stopped DH from hitting fast food places when he's home. He'd much rather have a nice sandwich than McDonald's.

I'm not going to win any blue ribbon frugalista awards but I am saving money and doing good things for my family's health.
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#36 of 46 Old 04-29-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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Havent read all the responses, but I've been trying super, super, super hard not to get fast food on my way to and home from work for the last two weeks.

I started making a huge vat of popcorn, and keeping that in the car. That way I can munch without having to stop.

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#37 of 46 Old 04-29-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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Fast food is not my thing but we used to eat out too much pretty much because after a day of work, too tired, that type of thing. Best thing I have done to stop that is keep some convenience items in the freezer and pantry and when I cook things like soups and stews, make extras to freeze. In a relatively short period of time it was easy to get a stockpile of ready meals in the the freezer. Add a salad or roll and instant meal. My 4 yo is a picky eater so I keep things like Annies Mac and Cheese around for her. Also deli lunchmeat is a good fall back.

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#38 of 46 Old 04-29-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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Also, that is my answer, but we never have been in the fast food habit. Meal plan, cook ahead, visit my feed the freezer thread in meal planning I started in 2006.

Make going for this a treat. That way doing it once a month or every 6 weeks or so it is. I bet if you started eating whole fresh foods at home, your kids will be much happier.

We had a meeting the other day and I said there would be No McD's at all until maybe Sept. My older dd agreed, dd2 (age 4) was not happy. We then talked about alternatives such as eating at our favorite brick oven pizza place, DQ, and buying treats at the pool this summer. All cost about the same as going to McD's and much better. Both agreed.
We haven't eaten at McD's for over 6 years. My youngest two have never eaten there! I watched Supersize Me first, then fast food nation and have read several goodbooks about food. Now, fast food just makes me (psychologically and physically) sick. I do occasionally stop for a taco, maybe once or twice a month, but it is definitely less than 5% of our food budget per month.
Being totally grossed out about the quality of fast "food" really helped me stop making it a habit.
My dad died of a second heart attack at 54. That was an eye opener. He never (rarely) exercized and he had a lot of stress in his life and he ate fast food ALL the time. Almost daily. He was addicted, I think. To the salt, fat and chemicals in it, probably.
My husband is 51 and the thought of losing him just is too much to bear thinking about, so we try really hard to get enough fruits and veggies and rice and fiber and just really good, fresh food as often as we can. It's harder in Michigan than it was in California, but we manage to have fruit and/or veggies with every meal. If you dont' have your health, whatever else you have really doesnt matter. I look at a fast food meal now and think... do I want to die earlier than I'm meant to? NO! So, I avoid it!

I don't like thinking of food as a reward or treat, so I try to come up with other ideas for rewards for achievements or good behaviours. I don't think children OR adults should be rewarded with empty calories that actually do harm to our bodies!

I think it's easier if you think of the cows or chickens being horribly slaughtered in a "factory" type environment, to avoid fast food. I think of the poor cows and I'm not hungry for a fast burger anymore.

We try to get humanely grown and slaughtered beef and buffalo and chicken when we can, and teach our children why it's important!

We're nothing near perfect, but we're trying!
- Jen

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#39 of 46 Old 04-29-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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We have a big take-out problem here too. It's not unhealthy food, but it adds up at $20-$30 a meal two or three nights a week. My problem is that I'm not that great of a cook (and don't like to) and after a week of spaghetti and meatloaf, some mediterrenean or grilled fish tacos sounds so good. I've tried to cook similar foods and they never turn out as well, take too long, are hard to cook with a baby on your ankles, and end up costing a lot in special ingredients. So, I have no answer for you there other than what we did and just budget it in.

When I used to WOH, I would get fast food too often and when you get the healthier items, it's like $7 for lunch. What stopped me was when DH and I started seriously budgeting, we'd print out the bank statement and categorize the charges. I hated seeing 5 Jack in the Box withdrawls in the fast food column. It made me feel lazy and like I wasn't a team player in our money saving goals. So for me, it really helps to be held accountable by a second person looking at what I spend, and for me to keep in mind the budget and things we're saving for.

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#40 of 46 Old 04-30-2010, 09:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by honeybunmom View Post
Seriously, though, watch Food, Inc. and it might give you the nudge you need to put these practices into place that the other posters are mentioning.
For me, it was reading Fast Food Nation in college. I have never been back to a fast food restaurant. Unless the occasional Tom Horton's coffee counts...even then I have to be pretty hard up to do it. My mom made me get her a McDonald's ice cream once on a trip together. I felt so dirty afterwards...

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#41 of 46 Old 04-30-2010, 10:07 AM
 
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I'll be the outlier. I love fast food. Love it. Over the top love. I give it up completely for a while, but then, I start wanting it. For me, I love some organic, locally grown heirloom tomatoes (boy do I!), but I also love some Sonic chili cheese tots, too.

I've read Fast Food Nation, watched SuperSize Me, etc, etc. And, I can do it all while eating a Filet O' Fish. LOL

But, I intrinsically know that fast food isn't good for me, isn't good for my kids, and isn't good for my wallet.

So, I put fast food in our budget, but I limit it. This way, I always know that a meal is coming, so I can put off the urge when it hits me. I try to use coupons for that particular meal, and I just plan it into the menu.

Lunch is a particularly hard time for us. My kids are ravenous at around 11:30. If a morning activity runs long, and we have a 30 minute drive home (not uncommon), they are crying in the backseat that they are hungry. So, I keep granola bars, raisins, nuts, etc, in the car for that time of day. That helps us get home until we can eat lunch.

I also buy good stuff for *my* lunch (salad fixings, sandwich stuff, whatever sounds good at the store). Knowing that there is something I really like at home waiting on me helps me to say "no" to the drive-through. Yes, this means a bit more money at the grocery store, but it saves me money in the long run.
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#42 of 46 Old 04-30-2010, 10:15 AM
 
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This is how to get out of the fast food rut.

Simplify your life. Slow down your life. Don't spend time rushing through life. Say no to invitations and events that you don't have time for or you don't really, really want to attend. Make the time to be home to make delicious, nutritious foods for your family.

I can guarantee that if you do this for a period of time you will not like fast food anymore. Not to toot my own horn but I can make a meal that is cheaper and tastes better than a restaurant meal 95% of the time.

Talk about a cash savings!
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#43 of 46 Old 04-30-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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Crunchy*VT*Mom -- I feel like I have gotten to know you a bit after hanging around these forums for the past few years and I would venture to guess that the food itself is not the issue. You have talked openly about having a difficult time with impulse purchases and imo fast food would fall into that category. It is quick, easy, and gives a rush of endorphins to the brain. But you know that the good feeling is not long lived. It is no different from overbuying cute diapers or nice yoga clothes. Nice while it lasts, but gone too quickly.
I think this is more the issue for me as well. I've read Omnivore's Dilemma. I read plenty of slaughterhouse-type books back in high school. I grew up on a farm, for Pete's sake. I know all about the raising and growing of food stuffs. That's not the issue or answer for me. It's simply about the need for quick/easy/cheap satisfaction. Getting over that is much harder, imo.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#44 of 46 Old 04-30-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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This is how to get out of the fast food rut.

Simplify your life. Slow down your life. Don't spend time rushing through life. Say no to invitations and events that you don't have time for or you don't really, really want to attend. Make the time to be home to make delicious, nutritious foods for your family.

I can guarantee that if you do this for a period of time you will not like fast food anymore. Not to toot my own horn but I can make a meal that is cheaper and tastes better than a restaurant meal 95% of the time.

Talk about a cash savings!
Yes, this! I have 4 children 5 and under. One of them is homeschooled and has some special needs, one with a serious medical condition, and then 2 little ones 20 months apart. I used to let fast food be the easy way out for me when I was tired and worn out. Specifically it was lunches/snacks when we were running errands and then restaurant meals as a family.

We made a commitment in the end of December to permanently change our family's eating habits due to some health issues. I had to make the effort to cook 3 meals a day or well..we didn't have anything to eat lol! I still have days that I am worn out and don't feel like cooking and the kitchen is a mess from chasing kids around. We just eat something simple those nights like scrambled eggs and sliced fruit or I have Dh grill something and I make a salad. Having some easy meals that we can make really has helped.

When it comes to the fast food habit during the day, I've just changed our routine completely so that it doesn't even play in. We do not plan to be out during meal time (unless we absolutely have to on rare occasion) and make sure to bring snacks with us. They don't have to be complicated snacks either. If you don't mind packaged stuff, keep a box of granola bars and juice packs in your car.

I've realized that the money that I was spending on eating out, I'd MUCH rather have that money in our grocery budget! It gave us the ability to buy more quality foods and have a little wiggle room to buy something for "easy" nights.

Personally I meal plan a bunch of ideas for the week and make most of the easy to prepare with a couple average prepare time meals thrown in. That is just what works best for me right now and it has made life much less stressful. I'd rather eat a bunch of simple homecooked foods most of the week than burn myself out.

~Rebecca~
mama to a sweet girl , & 4 silly boys

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#45 of 46 Old 05-09-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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The last time I took the kids to Burger kid I got 3 kids meals and paid close to $12. I went on and on about how many burgers,fries,and pop we could have bought for that $12 at the store. That was the last time we went to BK or any other place FF place. I just refuse to do it.
I was thinking of this when I ordered a side of fried plaintains (which contained only 4 pieces!) with our meal at a Jamaican restaurant for $3 when I had bought 3 whole plaintains that afternoon at the Farmer's Market for 70 cents.

We don't eat a lot of fast food but I do enjoy going to restaurants. We just got back from holidays in March and the ease of all-inclusive really spoiled me from wanting to cook. I noticed that in April I spent more on restaurants than groceries!

Now I am back in my cooking everyday mode and I am finding it pleasurable again. I like to watch cooking shows like Come Dine with Me which inspires me to cook different things and get out of the rut. Slowing down is a good idea. Also quick cook meals are good. A co-worker does all her cooking on the weekend but it is not for me. I like when food is cooked fresh. I LOVE cooking but it is so easy to get into the habit of being pampered with someone else preparing, serving and cleaning up.
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#46 of 46 Old 05-10-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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A couple things I've learned:

1. Meal plan. Not just dinner, but breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Well, breakfast, lunch, and snacks are pretty easy--just decide what items to get and put them on rotation. Buy enough to last until the next time you plan to go to the store.

2. Prep. Chop vegetables, cook some chicken, bacon, ground meat, etc. ahead of time so you can just throw something together. See meal planning lunch.

3. Eat big before going out. If you are going out to run errands or whatever, eat a sizeable meal before heading out the door. Chances are you won't be hungry until you get home. Keep a snack in the car or your purse/the diaper bag for if you/your kids do.

4. The crockpot is your friend. We had a bad habit of going out after church. Now, I put something into the crockpot when I go to bed and it is perfect when we get home. I just warm up the bread I baked that morning or the night before and toss a salad.

5. Take drinks with you. Whether it is water in an eco-friendly stainless steel reusable water bottle or a box of capri suns or even a case of soda. Get a small cooler and fill it with ice and throw a few drinks into it and keep it in the car. Don't put it into the trunk because then you just go through the drive-thru anyhow.

6. If you have small kids--scout out other places to take the kids than the McD playplace on too hot or bad weather days and you need to get out of the house.

7. Now I really need to take my own advice...

PS:
8. Keep the kitchen clean so you can get right to cooking without having to clean first. I would go in and look at the crusted pots and pans and plates and stuff in the sink, know I'd need to clean before I even began cooking just to have something to cook with...and start dialing the local pizza place or would just be on my way home from work, think about it, sigh, and pull into the local fast food eatery to grab something.
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