Okay, I want answers and I want them now! What the heck happened to kid’s meals?! It wasn’t that long ago that you could get a kid’s meal just about anywhere for $1.99 or less. And they’d bring out a nice little meal with enough for your child to fill up on. NOW… kid’s meals are all twenty or thirty bucks just about anywhere you go, and each one could easily feed a starving village full of children. So what happened, and where? Is it all a big conspiracy to break parents every time they step foot in a restaurant? Do they actually think that my three year old can eat 38 lbs. of food in one sitting? Maybe they think it’s what us as parents want.
Not me, I’d rather order Noah a cheap and smaller meal because I know Noah is only going to take a couple of bites before enthusiastically declaring that if he eats one more bite he’ll have the world’s worst tummy ache, and I don’t tend to save leftovers. I’d also rather not have him delve into a 32 oz. steak with all the trimmings. I’d rather not feed him 9,000-10,000 calories in a single sitting. So why have the restaurants made these kind of changes? The only thing I can guess is that it’s what the masses are asking for. To get fatter. To get their children fatter. If they weren’t asking for it, restaurants wouldn’t be offering it.
I was driving by a school that had just let out the other day and I couldn’t help but notice that in the large group of 20-30 kids walking home (and these are elementary age I’m talking about), at least 33% of them were overweight, maybe more, some of them morbidly obese. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging here. I was the fat kid growing up, and there weren’t a lot of us around. Life would have actually been a lot better for me if there were a lot more fat kids, but there weren’t. And now there are.
What has changed?
Obviously the answer is not without its complexities. We’re getting fatter for a lot of reasons (I think the computer is the biggest culprit). Do we want our children to be fatter? Do we want to be fatter? I’m serious. Do we as a population want it? Maybe not, but we sure don’t not want it enough to not order the eight pound burgers or the keg size milkshakes. I look at the massive “entrées” they bring out at restaurants nowadays. They plop the plate down in front of me with a loud boom and after the table stops shaking I stare in awe at the amount of food that is on that thing. Easily enough to feed four or five large hairy males and still give a bowl full of scraps to my dog. There was a time when a Big Mac was considered a “huge” sandwich. Now it’s one of the more petite sandwiches on the menu. I remember when I worked at Wendy’s as a teenager and the “Biggie” drink we served back then was the same size as the “regular” they serve now. When I order fries at a nice restaurant, I’m pretty sure that they harvest an entire potato plant just for me. I was looking on the menu at a fast food Mexican restaurant the other day and about had a heart attack at their most prominent ad touting their, get this, 2 lb. burrito. Two POUNDS. So, I asked the guy if anybody ever ordered it and he said “it’s a serious favorite here”.
So with all of this going on, how do I keep myself and my kid healthy? Let’s be honest, all that crap tastes a lot better than the healthy stuff. A lot better. And it’s only a matter of time before Noah wants to eat his entire kid’s meal. And that scares me.
There is one awesome thing that has come out of all of this, and that’s the $1 menu at just about every fast food restaurant. One or two things off of that menu and I’m happy as a clam. 99 cent nuggies for Noah? You bet, and he still won’t eat all of those. I’ll leave the $39 value meals to the rest of the population and enjoy my chicken wrap or small cheeseburger. And I suggest you do too. At the rate we’re getting fatter, pretty soon the skinny kids will be in the minority and the vast majority of kids will have a Jazzy hand-written in on their school supply list. And you think I’m kidding about that? Back when I was a walking walrus, I had a hard time finding XXL or XXXL clothing. Nowadays it seems like I can’t find a Large. All I can find is what I used to be looking for.Don’t get me wrong. Being fat isn’t all that bad. You get to develop an awesome sense of humor (simply because you have nothing else going for you). You get to remain in the friend zone with every girl you ever like. You get to shop at Old Navy, a lot. You get to hear lots of people compliment your personality, like all of the time. And, maybe best of all, you don’t have to carry a wallet or purse cause you can stick all that stuff between your fat rolls.
Just give me back kid’s meals the way they used to be. I might just go out to eat a little more often if you do.
[Ahem]. Stepping down off my soap box now and heading to Krispy Kreme.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing