You got up at 5:30, just so you could have a few quiet minutes to slap yourself together and down a cup of coffee, before waking the kids and waging the morning wars: Getting them dressed, fed, gathered and off to school. You got to work, miraculously smiled your way through the day, then rushed to soccer practice, arriving just in time to fulfill your duty as today's end-of-practice carpool mom.
By the time you get all the other kids home, and finally head back to yours, the sun is setting, you're facing the separate battles of homework and laundry, and the last thing you want to do is cook dinner.
And there he is, by the side of the road, tall and beautiful in the evening dusk, waving you in, his handsome smile welcoming you, offering a solution to all your problems. And in that moment, you forget all the promises you've made and all your vows to be good and behave, and all you can think is, “I love you, Mr. Quik Burger-you and your drive-thru window! My kids love you, too! Thank you for being here!"
You don't even drive home-you and your son sit in the parking lot, savoring your double-decker, cheese-smothered Fat Burgers, your Super Sides of Greasy Fries, and your extra-large Triple Cocoa Milk Shakes. Ahhhhhhhhhhh…
You hate yourself, later: What are you doing to your arteries? What are you doing to your child? You swear to yourself, you'll never eat out, again.
But eating out isn't always the problem. Sometimes, like this night, it's the most practical answer to a busy family's needs. The trick to good health and nutrition, of course, is all in your food choices.
You could have driven another block, to the next fast-food joint, where they offer turkey sandwiches as well as burgers, baked potatoes as an alternative to fries, and fruit juices along with milk-shakes. Your hunger would be just as satisfied, and you'd avoid all the guilt of what you're doing to yourself and what you're teaching your child. You'd have more energy the rest of the evening, for all the things you need to get done.
Another way to avoid Mr. Quik Burger's temptation is to pre-prepare meals for these busy weekdays. Make it a weekend family project-you and your family can plan what you'd like, make meals in advance, and freeze them. Then, when you finally get home during the week, pop those meals into the microwave or the oven and you're ready to eat in minutes. There are dozens of great websites devoted to recipes for busy cooks. Mealsforyou.com has hundreds of recipes you can freeze, with nutritional listings for each one, including calories, fat content, and cholesterol.
And carry some nutritious snacks in the car, like nuts or dried fruit, to tide you over on those long carpool evenings.
You're only human. Every now and then, you're bound to succumb to the charms of that big, good-looking guy by the roadside. But make sure you keep the upper hand in the relationship. Don't let him take advantage of your vulnerability. Leave him guessing, make him wonder, let him know you have other options. You'll appreciate each other so much more, in the long run.
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