Mom versus Fast Food (video demo)

by Sarah Healthy Pregnancy, Baby & Child, Other, VideosComments: 322

fast food signI almost didn’t do this video.

I honestly thought it would be too wacky and out of the box for some readers to handle.

My change of heart occurred when one of my children said, “Mom, you HAVE to do that video”.

Out of the mouths of babes.

So here I am posting a video about the best trick I know for teaching your kids about the dangers of fast food and hopefully keeping them far far away from it forever – even once they are out of the house and making their own decisions.

While this trick won’t work for older children, if your kids are still quite young, it should work well.   My three kids want absolutely nothing to do with fast food and that includes my teenager who has more freedom away from his parents and has the opportunity to indulge if he chose to.

So here it is.    What do you think?  Too wacky or totally on target?

Mom Versus Fast Food (Mom Wins)

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Comments (322)

  • Anna

    It’s so odd, But when I was a child, My parents tried to pawn off fast food on my siblings and myself when they were in a hurry. They were more worried about getting us fed quick so that they could get to what they wanted to do.

    We were repulsed by that food like product. Our parents were frustrated that we didn’t want to eat it. It was actually nauseating!

    I think that our bodies were warning us.

    May 16th, 2015 11:27 pm Reply
  • Christina

    Thanks Sara! My kids and I have these conversations as well – but they usually occur when a fast food commercial comes on the TV while my husband is watching a baseball or football or basketball game. At first we would tell them that that food is gross and really disgusting, and then at some point it occurred to me that in the future, they might actually eat fast food, and they might like the way it tastes – then what about our credibility with our kids?!

    Now we talk about how even if tastes good, it has a yucky and disgusting impact on your body and mental and physical health; that is will make you weak, and it could make you sick.

    They are totally on board!

    May 13th, 2015 5:16 pm Reply
  • Hunterwildman

    Homerun video! My son is 5 and has never eaten fast food. He knows it as poison as well

    April 4th, 2014 6:50 pm Reply
  • Cassandra

    Yes it was wacky and it did make me laugh, in a good way. I too had never bought my two girls a McDonalds totally unheard of 30 years ago and I was considered quite mad by my family, friends and my husband at the time, we are now divorced. Even though their dad would try to take them, both my girls have grown up healthy knowing and understanding that this kind of food is junk. Unlike you I didn’t want to waste my time or money driving through to get the toy and throw the food, that would have been too wacky even for me back then, but again as mothers we should be confident to do what works for our family. Love your work.

    March 31st, 2014 11:31 am Reply
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  • Di Crisp

    Sarah, you are my hero! Just found your blog and YouTube clips. Great stuff. I think chucking the maccas and getting the toy is compromising to get a desired outcome. You do what you need to, to get a message to your kids. A few $3.60 investments and a few more plastic toys isn’t going to be the end of the world. It’s not meant to be rocket science. Just an attempt, which worked for you to get your kids out of the fast food loop. Whats not to like.

    February 3rd, 2013 2:54 am Reply
  • Christa

    Right on target! Train a child when he/she is young and they will not depart from it. My husband and I are getting better at not eating out as much. We think it’s a cruel thing to be even exposed to fast food, because it is so addicting and so bad. It’s a lot harder to stop the habit as an adult. I think it’s wise for any parent to save their children from such a bad habit!

    January 14th, 2013 1:46 am Reply
  • Elizabeth McGhee

    Great videos Sarah, Can you please tell me about your microwave/convection oven? What brand/model etc. if you like it? Thanks so much

    December 4th, 2012 7:15 pm Reply
  • Bev

    Hilarious!!!! I only wish I would have done that when my kids were small. They ate healthy until they went to kindergarten …. and the peer pressure was too much. They would trade my healthy goats milk bluberry homeade muffins for twinkies and candy. Sometimes I wish I could have home schooled (but most the time I am glad I didnt!) We just do the best we can and move forward. I bring my kids healthy snacks after school when they are starving (chocolate milk made from raw milk and cocoa and stevia), and apples and other things and then I usually don’t hear any complaining. It’s when I have forgotten to bring snacks and our schedule is long and crazy … when we are starving is when we cave! The trick is to always try and come prepared!

    November 14th, 2012 1:49 pm Reply
  • Leslie

    I was expecting something way more extreme. I am not sure that will work as they get older. I have found from my experience that it’s a constant reminder about what the “food” really is and what it contains and how it affects their bodies. I showed my boys (10yrs and 8yrs old) the pink slime video and told them that’s what is in chicken nuggets and hamburgers from these places. That was all the visual they needed. Plus whenever they eat something not so healthy then feel poorly we talk about why their stomach hurts or they are irritable or have a headache. Sometimes lessons have to be learned the hard way.

    October 8th, 2012 11:28 am Reply
  • karen

    that’s extreme! seems pretty mild to me. i’m not going to tell you the stuff i’ve done/said to steer my son away from junk… anyway, so far it’s working. he’s 4 yrs.
    but if this method gets them to avoid junk, then ok, do it.

    October 7th, 2012 8:45 pm Reply
  • Christel Gessler via Facebook

    I hope the mom goes back a lot to teach the kids a lesson. If she had let them taste it, I could believe it might work. Plain hamburgers really don’t taste very good. (Also, as an experienced mom I know that her kid with that kind of eye blink rate is definitely lying) :)

    October 7th, 2012 8:21 pm Reply
  • Lucia Lazar Kocak via Facebook

    I wouldn’t do it bc/of the waste factor either and mainly bc/I would not want to buy my child a junky MIC toy from McDs, BUT it is a unique approach. It is visual and will certainly stick in a child’s mind, maybe better than hours of explanations about healthy and unhealthy food choices ;o).

    October 7th, 2012 4:28 pm Reply
  • Gina Reaves Palmer via Facebook

    Totally over the top. All you have to do is talk to your children and educate them about it. Not create more waste in the landfill. That was disappointing.

    October 7th, 2012 3:13 pm Reply
  • Gina Reaves Palmer via Facebook

    Totally over the top. All you have to do is talk to your children and educate them about it. Not create more waste in the landfill. That was disappointing.

    October 7th, 2012 3:13 pm Reply
  • ‘Michele Hansen Wurzer via Facebook

    I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. Why not just tell your kids the food is unhealthy to eat. It’s what you said in the video. Why did you have to go to the actual place to say the same thing you could have told them at home, without spending any money? They want the toy? Tell them the toy is cheap, too and a waste of money. Then you are teaching them TWO lessons at the same time: fast food is unhealthy, and cheap toys are a waste of hard earned money. To buy something and then throw it away right afterward, seems to teach a child how to be wasteful. At least that’s the feeling I got when I watched your video.

    October 7th, 2012 2:19 pm Reply
  • Dave Enway Wullenwaber via Facebook

    are you kidding me?????? “here’s your toy, lets throw away/waste this food”! I saw her throw away a small bottle of MILK, along with that unhealthy mixed fruit that now comes in happy meals…this was insulting and trite……

    October 7th, 2012 2:15 pm Reply
  • Violet Lin via Facebook

    It’s not over the top at all. I would have done this 30 years ago with my first child if I hadn’t been a clueless teenager at the time. McDonald’s was a frequent destination for Happy Meals and playtime. My daughter suffered from frequent ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, yeast infections, and as she got older it developed into chronic asthma and gluten intolerance. No one really thought too much about the connection between diet and chronic disease then. My father died when he was only 46 of pancreatic cancer. This stunned me into learning more about diet and its effects, and I live 180 degrees differently now. I grow my own organic vegetables and eat only whole organic foods, mostly plant based. My daughter does too. I wish we had all had this knowledge 30 years ago.

    October 7th, 2012 1:12 pm Reply
  • Violet Lin via Facebook

    It’s not over the top at all. I would have done this 30 years ago with my first child if I hadn’t been a clueless teenager at the time. McDonald’s was a frequent destination for Happy Meals and playtime. My daughter suffered from frequent ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, yeast infections, and as she got older it developed into chronic asthma and gluten intolerance. No one really thought too much about the connection between diet and chronic disease then. My father died when he was only 46 of pancreatic cancer. This stunned me into learning more about diet and its effects, and I live 180 degrees differently now. I grow my own organic vegetables and eat only whole organic foods, mostly plant based. My daughter does too. I wish we had all had this knowledge 30 years ago.

    October 7th, 2012 1:12 pm Reply
  • Melissa Stenger Ebbole via Facebook

    I don’t really understand why u go at all?? My kids don’t even know that they exist. Do u do this as a lesson so they reject them in the future or did you go because your child wanted it?

    October 7th, 2012 12:47 pm Reply
  • Catherine

    I don’t think this is over the top at all! I do it with candy all the time. But I think as effective is a frequent open discussion about it. I’ve never thought to throw away a meal in front if them, but I’ve gotten the same effect just talking about it. However, we don’t have cable and they are homeschooled, so they don’t interact with much advertising either. If I had to compete with all that, and the message wasn’t getting through, I would do this in a heartbeat. Thanks Sarah!

    October 7th, 2012 11:41 am Reply
  • April Moore Brown via Facebook

    Awesome! I don’t think it is wasteful at all. You said you did this maybe three times when they are young? It is an investment into their future health and the purchase of a small toy for them to play with. What is wasteful is teaching them to eat this food again, and again, throwing the leftover contents of those fast food bags and the wrappers themselves into the trash can for decades out of their lives. Teaching them to eat real food at home is the most non-wasteful thing anyone can do.

    And for travel with small children? We have gone on some very long road trips with ours and coolers of real food come in very handy.

    October 7th, 2012 11:13 am Reply
  • Kelly Kindig via Facebook

    I didn’t teach mine to hate it but I make it very clear what’s in it and making that choice means they have to make better choices later to counter that one.

    October 7th, 2012 11:04 am Reply
  • Mona Weathers via Facebook

    Sarah, I think it’s a great idea and I wish I had done it with my kids when they were young. Retraining your kids takes much longer than training them right from the beginning. My son is finally starting to learn it on his own as a teenager. He is on a self-motivated fast-food fast right now.

    October 7th, 2012 10:42 am Reply
  • valleygirl

    I recently re-met an uncle who is very strict in their eating in their home. Their kids are allowed no fast food, no treats, no sodas. What I’ve seen has taught me the idea of balance and TEACHING kids WHY those foods are not beneficial. These girls, when they get away from the radar are STUFFING THEIR FACES with this stuff they are not allowed. I worry for their health. At home they are perfect little angels with their diets. But not so! There is balance in everything and as long as this is not the main teaching method you use about food then I can see it being ok but not one that I would choose for my family. I allow my children to participate in choices. When their dad took them to McDs (I was NOT happy about it) they scoured the menu and looked for the healthiest things they could find. THAT is what I want them to understand. :)

    October 7th, 2012 10:30 am Reply
  • Carrie L Carree

    I don’t see this working, you paid $3.63 to just get a toy that is not worth 50 cents. How do you get your kids from thinking that McD is a drive though toy store?

    October 7th, 2012 10:09 am Reply
  • Tamara Ward via Facebook

    It’s SIMPLE; it WORKS; it’s great. Throwing those things away for a ONE-TIME LESSON really can NOT be considered a waste.

    October 7th, 2012 10:01 am Reply
  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I don’t think it’s necessary to spend money. My 3 and 4-year-olds know that we don’t eat there. They know they have “bad food” and that they need “good food” to grow up big and strong. If they see bad food they might want, they don’t ask for it — they say, “Can you make a good version of that at home?” Which of course, if I can, I will. They also do not watch live TV so they have no idea about the toys either so nothing “hooks” them in in the first place. This works just fine without having to actually order and waste the food.

    October 7th, 2012 9:50 am Reply
  • Jennifer Smith via Facebook

    Are you kidding? I don’t see this as controversial at all. It’s great!

    October 7th, 2012 9:07 am Reply
  • Tawnya Howell via Facebook

    @Debra Bates, she threw away the milk because pasteurized,homogenized milk is garbage.

    October 7th, 2012 8:56 am Reply
  • Bonnie Jane Pankow via Facebook

    It might be a little dramatic. If you don’t want your kids to eat it just don’t take them.

    October 7th, 2012 8:42 am Reply
  • Tina Waters via Facebook

    I think GREAT IDEA!! Treat the food just like the wrapping for the toy!! GENIUS!!!!

    October 7th, 2012 7:13 am Reply
  • Tina Waters via Facebook

    I think GREAT IDEA!! Treat the food just like the wrapping for the toy!! GENIUS!!!!

    October 7th, 2012 7:13 am Reply
  • Leslie Hickman via Facebook

    I thought it was great! Our method was to rename them all. McSick, Booger King, Taco Hell, Junkin’ Donuts, etc. And we never made an exception since they were little. We just do not go to those places.

    October 7th, 2012 7:03 am Reply
    • BJ

      this is great Leslie… your rebrands!

      May 14th, 2015 4:01 pm Reply
  • Sherry Fredley via Facebook

    I do the same thing with my daughter- and she actually tells her dad no when he says they are gonna have some fast food!!!!

    October 7th, 2012 6:39 am Reply
  • Nat Leighton via Facebook

    you are the mother…. you teach them what you do believe. keep up the good work.

    October 7th, 2012 5:08 am Reply
  • Katya Galley via Facebook

    But isn’t the TOY how advertisers target our kids? Wouldn’t it be more of a valuable lesson to explain to them the concept of misleading advertising?

    October 7th, 2012 4:30 am Reply
  • Dianna Bringman via Facebook

    I love the imprint you gave your kids. Words backed up by an awesome visual. This is exactly how advertisers target our kids and very successfully I might add. This lesson was definately worth a couple of bucks!

    October 7th, 2012 3:17 am Reply
  • Katya Galley via Facebook

    I do agree that children are never too young to learn. But TALK to them about decision making so when they are older they know HOW and WHY they do things. My daughter is 3 and if she sees chocolate or lollies at the shops she will say (and tell anyone around her) that they are yucky for your brain and tummy. She tells her dad that his cereal tastes yummy but it makes his brain go funny and she won’t eat it. I’m also proud to say that she does actually know what these Frankenstein Foods taste like BUT she is educated enough (yes, at age 3) to overcome the chemical flavor enhancers and addiction causing toxins to KNOW and CHOOSE not to have these foods for herself. It’s actually quite fun to go shopping with her most of the time! I have never needed to buy a cheap toy, or support an industry I don’t want to to teach her these lessons. Does she make the right decision every single time? No, but that’s why I’m here. Do I let her make a wrong choice on the odd occasion? Yep! Because that’s how she learns. And because you actually asked – NO, I DON’T AGREE WITH YOUR ‘TRICK’. In my opinion it is teaching your kids all kinds of wrong things.

    October 7th, 2012 2:51 am Reply
  • Katya Galley via Facebook

    So you just gave money to a business that you are trying to keep your kids away from? You want to teach others (by way of this video) to give these corporations more revenue to spend on misleading advertising and technologies that will one day entice the kids back? You just wasted food (I know it’s not real food but it still took valuable resources to produce) to get a crap piece of plastic that supports slave labour? Why not go and spend that $3 at a cheap store and get more than 1 crap toy? OR BETTER YET, save the $15 you would spend on doing this ‘trick’ 5 times and go buy the kids a decent quality, fair trade toy made from natural rescources! Something that will last more than 10 minutes and something that IS actually supporting an industry you want to support!

    October 7th, 2012 2:29 am Reply
  • Rebecca Williams Nichols via Facebook

    Yeah, why financially support them? And the toys are toxic anyway, so… No, it’s not overkill, but definitely unnecessary for our family. Repeatedly modeling good choices and having an ongoing dialogue is a more effective approach for us.

    October 7th, 2012 1:20 am Reply
  • Lillian Hardabura-Dar via Facebook

    It is NEVER too early to “HATE” fast food. It is not even food. :(((( Our bodies nee unprocessed wholesome foods in the most natural form possible.

    October 7th, 2012 1:12 am Reply
  • Jennifer Bacaro via Facebook

    I didn’t see it as controversial cuz I believe fast food is crap, myself. Tasty crap I buy sometimes cuz I don’t always have the money. Lol. I don’t think my children would have bought this idea but I’ll never know cuz they’ve already had a taste for the garbage more often than Id like. It’s a tad exaggerated that I’ll somehow have to buy antibiotics and medication because of their fast food eating. My youngest has never needed or taken an antibiotic. I *know* it’s by the grace of God because I haven’t fed them as healthy as I want to. My oldest has taken antibiotics for 2 uti’s and after surgeries (to correct congenital hip defects and yes I know Weston A Price people would have a field day with that one). I’m not saying that defensively; hopefully this is read just as calmly as I typed it on my phone. 😉 My children would eat healthy if I always fed them healthy. They can’t drive to McD themselves so all Id have to do is not go anymore. My life has just been too crazy for several years now. I don’t plan enough so that when I leave the house we are well fed or that I prepare healthy snacks to carry with me.

    October 7th, 2012 1:04 am Reply
  • Kirsten Welo McGuire via Facebook

    My almost 5 year has never had McDonald’s or any fast food (she has lots of food allergies) not that we would go anyway. Every time we pass a McDonald’s she tells out “yucky-bad” which is what she calls it. She knows its all chemical and says they try to “trick you with their commercials to give prizes but its all a trick!!” She is always surprised to see people there and days “they don’t know it’s not real food!!”

    October 7th, 2012 12:43 am Reply
  • Scott Gillentine via Facebook

    A little naive I think. They will eventually try the stuff however if they are being fed a good whole foods diet, there will be nothing to fear.

    October 7th, 2012 12:24 am Reply
  • Scott Gillentine via Facebook

    A little naive I think. They will eventually try the stuff however if they are being fed a good whole foods diet, there will be nothing to fear.

    October 7th, 2012 12:24 am Reply
  • Kimberly Alyssa via Facebook

    definitely not over the top, actaully, in my opinion, its wrong if you dont teach children the difference between food and chemical look a like frankenfood. its our duty as mothers to educate our children how to live and be healthy, therefore its imperitive that we pass on our knowledge. my son is three and i am teaching him this as well, also how to garden. I believe that most of all of children shoudl be the ones educated about food.

    October 6th, 2012 11:49 pm Reply
  • James Israel via Facebook

    Love it

    October 6th, 2012 11:48 pm Reply
  • Alishia Maria Klynstra via Facebook

    My only thing is… Why take them at all. Those toys are just as toxic as the food!!! My daughter has never had a happy meal and I sure as hell wouldn’t go just for the toy. Why even give them your money and support them??? It makes no sense to me what you just did. I tell my daughter it’s junk and its left at that. The only way a kid knows you get a toy from those places is if you take them there and they learn this. Just my opinion :)

    October 6th, 2012 11:36 pm Reply
  • Ladonna Beals via Facebook

    Good job!!!

    October 6th, 2012 11:36 pm Reply
  • Anna Read via Facebook

    I think its a great idea – when they’re young and impressionable. You can teach them lots of life values then. I made the mistake of giving in for a “treat” occasionally, then it became a convenience even more frequently. You have to keep it up. I rarely ate it myself. They learn more from what you do than what you say. I also think its a good idea to make home made healthy burgers and tacos for a treat. For me – it backfired. My son now in his 30’s says I deprived him – and loves junk food :-( He is getting better though, as he can see its affecting his health.

    October 6th, 2012 11:15 pm Reply
  • Anna Read via Facebook

    I think its a great idea – when they’re young and impressionable. You can teach them lots of life values then. I made the mistake of giving in for a “treat” occasionally, then it became a convenience even more frequently. You have to keep it up. I rarely ate it myself. They learn more from what you do than what you say. I also think its a good idea to make home made healthy burgers and tacos for a treat. For me – it backfired. My son now in his 30’s says I deprived him – and loves junk food :-( He is getting better though, as he can see its affecting his health.

    October 6th, 2012 11:15 pm Reply
  • Ann Atwood Fraley via Facebook

    As a kid, I did not care what my mom thought about food. In my opinion, at the time, her idea of healthy equated to ‘yucky’. I trusted her on everything else but that. I grew up in a time when ff was completely avoidable (born in ’60) but we had it once in a while. Food made at home from scratch was good if I liked what was in it, bad if I didn’t. It was as simple as that. You would have had to seriously gross me out to have that effect. Probably the pictures of Chicken McNuggets being made would have done it.

    October 6th, 2012 11:09 pm Reply
  • Susan Olvera via Facebook

    Right on, sister. I have an 8 hour road trip tomorrow with my two year old son and I think I’m going to make a quick pit stop and practice some “learnin'”. Thanks for the great idea!

    October 6th, 2012 11:07 pm Reply
  • Susan Olvera via Facebook

    Right on, sister. I have an 8 hour road trip tomorrow with my two year old son and I think I’m going to make a quick pit stop and practice some “learnin'”. Thanks for the great idea!

    October 6th, 2012 11:07 pm Reply
  • DeLyssa Davis via Facebook

    LOL — on the other hand — just watch Food Inc. — they will never want to set foot in one of those restaurant again!!

    October 6th, 2012 11:03 pm Reply
  • Estie Pieterse via Facebook

    Not over the top at all. We need to educate our kids, and your method was original.

    October 6th, 2012 11:01 pm Reply
  • Christine Banford via Facebook

    Well, I just said “We don’t eat that kind of food b/c it isn’t healthy for your body.” My 6 year old knows I won’t buy gmo snack food and we eat organic food. We go to farms and it really isn’t an issue. If your values are reflected in your actions it won’t be an issue.

    October 6th, 2012 11:01 pm Reply
  • Lori Balzarini Terribili via Facebook

    awesome! i do further and tell my kids that it is not even food. they KNOW what real food is. my 5 and 11 year olds shout “ewww mcdonalds!” every time they see the sign. i actually got weak one day about a month ago and said, well, we don’t have much money, let’s just go there just this once, and they both adamantly said “no WAY!” i LOVE it! 1 by 1, we are making a difference and teaching others by our simple daily choices. :)

    October 6th, 2012 10:57 pm Reply
  • Debra Bates via Facebook

    And what was wrong with the milk you thru away?

    October 6th, 2012 10:55 pm Reply
  • CaitlinJ

    Well, I would never go spend money on one of those toxic plastic toys in the first place. I actually just explain to my kids why the food is bad and yucky and we won’t eat it. Simple as that.

    October 6th, 2012 10:53 pm Reply
  • Melissa O’Callaghan via Facebook

    I think it was great! My kids know the difference between junk food and healthy food because I have taught them that Mcd’s is not healthy and wont make us grow big and strong. They want nothing to do with that junk! And to Renee, it is way worse to feed kids bad processed food than to teach them a valuable life lesson.

    October 6th, 2012 10:49 pm Reply
  • Renee Kelcey via Facebook

    I think what you taught them was extremely wasteful.

    October 6th, 2012 10:41 pm Reply
  • Lyndsey Stang via Facebook

    What do you do when you have little kids and travel in the road especially in small towns? I don’t want the mess and they eventually need more than fruit.

    October 6th, 2012 10:34 pm Reply
  • Lyndsey Stang via Facebook

    I don’t care to buy their food and waste my money. Every kid is different. If you know how your kid works, teach them the way they need.

    October 6th, 2012 10:33 pm Reply
  • Lyndsey Stang via Facebook

    I don’t care to buy their food and waste my money. Every kid is different. If you know how your kid works, teach them the way they need.

    October 6th, 2012 10:33 pm Reply
  • Heather Martin Whitney via Facebook

    *older not Oder

    October 6th, 2012 10:26 pm Reply
  • Heather Martin Whitney via Facebook

    We used to eat fast food but last December, we decided that we were no longer going to buy it. My kids were 2 and 4 at the time. They really liked going to McDonalds. I told them that it wasn’t good for them. It’s been over 10 months now and they never ask for fast food at all now. Even if we drive past it, they never bring it up. I hope when they are Oder, they continue to stay away from it.

    October 6th, 2012 10:25 pm Reply
  • Sandy Lethin via Facebook

    Love it!

    October 6th, 2012 10:25 pm Reply
  • Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes with Lisa via Facebook

    Oh, and I too am proud because my smallest doesn’t even know what a hot dog is. We were driving by some prairie dogs (all over Colorado) and she got very excited pointing out the window yelling “HOT DOGS!” :)

    October 6th, 2012 10:25 pm Reply
  • Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes with Lisa via Facebook

    I showed my daughter the segment of Jamie Oliver’s show where he showed the kids what chicken nuggets were made of. She has no interest now.

    October 6th, 2012 10:23 pm Reply
  • Sheryl Venables via Facebook


    October 6th, 2012 10:21 pm Reply
  • Sheryl Venables via Facebook


    October 6th, 2012 10:21 pm Reply
  • Dia Giordano via Facebook

    It’s important to note that this is a lesson with a point to be made. It’s a direct response to the nonstop pommeling our kids get to come get the toy. I totally see the value in buying a happy meal in order to make a point. If I can make a $4 point that makes my kiddo a better eater then great. After that hurdle we can address not buying plastic, wasting our time etc, recycling. One hurdle at a time. Kids don’t usually respond to the ‘dump truck’ method of teaching until order. Mine are late teens and still don’t like the dump truck. Just one nugget of wisdom at a time is fine.

    October 6th, 2012 10:17 pm Reply
  • Mandy Flory via Facebook

    I think they are YOUR children and whether you taught them to love or to hate FF is YOUR choice! Obviously hating it is much better for their health and anyone who judges you is just jealous they can’t over come their love for it! Which I admit I lived the first 30.5 years of my life LOVING it :0/ But I am trying to break the habit which hopefully, obviously will break the habit for my children also.

    October 6th, 2012 10:16 pm Reply
  • Lauralee Lien via Facebook

    I think it was a great way to teach them! as for being wasteful..that is ridiculous because you did it for a purpose and you are anything but wasteful. You teach your children daily how to make things from scratch and tons of other healthy ways to live. People that continue to take their families to fast food places teach their children about waste of money, gas, etc.

    October 6th, 2012 10:15 pm Reply
  • Dara Jones via Facebook


    October 6th, 2012 10:13 pm Reply
  • Christina Rochette via Facebook


    October 6th, 2012 10:12 pm Reply
  • Jeanne Dee via Facebook

    LOVE it…start educating them young. I’d skip the plastic junk toys too filled with chemicals and made on slave labor

    October 6th, 2012 10:11 pm Reply
  • Denise Mills via Facebook

    I hate to be negative but that may have taught your kids that fast food belongs in the trash, but I think it teaches them to be wasteful too. Waste of money, gas, paper, more poison to go in our landfills. I think I will keep our current approach to teach our kid to make good decision for himself another way by giving him a pallet for good food.

    October 6th, 2012 10:10 pm Reply
  • Tina Anneliese via Facebook

    That was simple enough!

    October 6th, 2012 10:09 pm Reply
  • Kari O’Connor via Facebook

    love it and sharing!

    October 6th, 2012 10:06 pm Reply
  • Sheril Carey via Facebook

    I think that was awesome! And I thank you for sharing the idea. The power of the marketing and the general acceptance and participation with McDonalds and the fast food industry in general is no small force to be reckoned with by those who are trying to take a different path.

    My kids are not small. But I showed your video to my daughters and we discussed the journey I have been on and the mistakes and the problems from outside of myself… And most importantly how they can be armed with better knowledge and better tools before they get to that stage of life and want their own children to be as healthy as it is possible for them to be. A thousand thank-yous.

    October 6th, 2012 10:04 pm Reply
  • Tara Kelly via Facebook

    I don’t think it was surprising or over the top. I actually think it was putting too much emphasis on junk food. If you never go there and it’s just not part of your normal life then your children will naturally follow. At some point they’ll go with friends or try it in their own and hopefully by that time they’ll know what real delicious food tastes like and will choose it over that.

    October 6th, 2012 10:03 pm Reply
  • Megan Horton Presley via Facebook

    I think just talking to a slightly older child would work as well – without wasting money at a place like McDonald’s. My older two kids are 6 and 5, and they talk about food being healthy and asking if what they eat is good for them. If you practice healthy eating habits at home and never eat at those places anyway, there might not need to be any reason for such a dramatic example.

    October 6th, 2012 10:01 pm Reply
  • Susan Martin via Facebook

    I was just talking to my 20y.o. today about fastfood (indoctinated since birth on how nasty it is and on his own now) He says when he does go to Taco bell or Wendy’s he ALWAYS feels bad afterwards…And burping that stuff up. Yuck. Our talk today hopefully reinstilled my earlier teachings. lol

    October 6th, 2012 9:55 pm Reply
  • Katchi

    I grew up in a home that taught me this way. We were not allowed any junk foods or lollies and I was taught it was bad for me. Fast forward 30 years and I am now dealing with the consequences of an eating disorder due to the fear that resulted from being taught this way. Food should be neutral. Model healthy eating but don’t teach fear of food – whether it’s sugar or maccas or pastuerised milk. Food is only one aspect of aiming for good health. The amount of stress that trying to eat perfectly has caused me is far more damaging to my health than the occassional maccas meal would have been.

    October 6th, 2012 9:48 pm Reply
  • Julie Gerasimenko via Facebook

    I LOVED It! Not over the top! Over the top would be giving your kid that CRAP! 😉

    October 6th, 2012 9:44 pm Reply
  • Amy Gault via Facebook

    I think it’s funny. I just have to tell the 4 year old it has wheat, and he doesn’t fuss. We also call the toys CCC (cheap Chinese C**p). Nobody is interested anymore. It took us about 4 months of being paleo to get there.

    October 6th, 2012 9:40 pm Reply
  • Sara Jo Poff via Facebook

    Clever! We are going on 7 years without fast food and I just consistently explained the health dangers of fast food when we would drive by the restaurants; my children got it well just by doing it like that. But I think this is a good approach that would be effective for people too! And like you said–a small price to pay for the benefits:-)

    October 6th, 2012 9:37 pm Reply
  • Renee Troutman via Facebook

    My kids know that the food there is not fit for consumption and I never had to buy the stuff and physically throw it in the trash. Since you asked, no, I don’t care for your method. The money you wasted could have been used for a better cause, is my opinion.

    October 6th, 2012 9:37 pm Reply
  • Kathryn Simmons McDonald via Facebook

    Mom’s know their kids. I think this approach is great for some familys and other families will need to do something diff

    October 6th, 2012 9:37 pm Reply
  • Tracy McDonough via Facebook


    October 6th, 2012 9:34 pm Reply
  • Tracy McDonough via Facebook


    October 6th, 2012 9:34 pm Reply
  • Jacquelyn Lee Stollarchek Byers via Facebook

    My one problem with this: the toy isin’t good either…

    October 6th, 2012 9:34 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Remember that this is the approach I used starting 14 years ago .. there weren’t even GMOs in the food supply then.

    October 6th, 2012 9:34 pm Reply
  • Shanna Squires via Facebook

    As of *now*

    October 6th, 2012 9:31 pm Reply
  • Shanna Squires via Facebook

    I was surprised by it and actually didn’t care for it. I was surprised that you would even support the company by buying something, even if the food just went in the trash. My kids are only two and four so maybe I’ll look at it differently when they’re old enough to know what mcdonalds is but as of know I tell my four year old why we don’t eat certain places that he has asked about

    October 6th, 2012 9:30 pm Reply
  • Sofia Grogan via Facebook

    On our way home the other day, my 7 y.o. son was looking out the window and asked, “Is Wendy’s the same as Mc Donalds?” I was proud that he has no idea what ANY of these fast food places are like because he has never been to one. He doesn’t even know the “food” comes with toys!

    October 6th, 2012 9:29 pm Reply
  • Sofia Grogan via Facebook

    On our way home the other day, my 7 y.o. son was looking out the window and asked, “Is Wendy’s the same as Mc Donalds?” I was proud that he has no idea what ANY of these fast food places are like because he has never been to one. He doesn’t even know the “food” comes with toys!

    October 6th, 2012 9:29 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Dayley via Facebook

    I thought it was hilarious :) If it works, it works! Remember, by small & simple things to great things come to pass. Your small act of… I don’t even know the word for it… could most definitely affect generations. And that’s a very good thing.

    October 6th, 2012 9:26 pm Reply
  • Glorianna Premo via Facebook

    This was awesome. Helped me better explain to my 4 year old how dangerous and just plain bad fast food is.

    October 6th, 2012 9:26 pm Reply
  • Heather Tubbs via Facebook

    What is the link for the VIdeo? I click on it all I get is the jpg

    October 6th, 2012 9:26 pm Reply
  • Mindy Pallagi via Facebook

    I agree!!!

    October 6th, 2012 9:25 pm Reply
  • Glory Paulson via Facebook

    … my kids are 5, 3, and 2

    October 6th, 2012 9:25 pm Reply
  • Glory Paulson via Facebook

    yes, and I plan to do the same thing one day. i’ve already shared the idea with several people, most of whom thought i was over the top. what can i say? i am over the top … decisions, values, etc MATTER. my poor daughter won’t eat cereal (on my bad mommy mornings) because i’ve told her it’s not healthy. she’s already told me she won’t buy cereal when she’s a mom. (it’s Trader Joe’s shredded wheat w/ no sugar.) just wait until i add the pitfalls of McD’s to the list … they’re going to talk about how poisonous their food is everytime we drive past.

    October 6th, 2012 9:24 pm Reply
  • Cassie Mulligan via Facebook

    I love this idea!! Although I am an adult when I get a craving now I close my eyes and picture myself going through the drive through and putting it in the garbage.. followed with some positive self affirmations!

    October 6th, 2012 9:21 pm Reply
  • Joan

    I like the video, but, the better choice for a drink if you was going to throw it out I think would’ve been a pop or shake…. You threw out milk!!

    October 6th, 2012 9:37 am Reply
  • Gdaiva

    Loved it!! My kids don’t eat junk food too. I used to do competitions who’s gonna make most pretty sandwich or salad or something, like a smiley face or anything artistic, just to get them involved. There was a lot of mess to clean up after, but it was fun and educational.
    It takes time to do those videos, you are my inspiration! God bless you!

    May 18th, 2012 1:01 am Reply
  • Sheril

    I was browsing and noticed this listed as “controversial” on the sidebar. lol. I didn’t read all the comments to see, but I think this is great. I have already made every mistake with my own health and with my children. So now I am working on being honest with them about that and teaching them as I learn. It has been a long hard slow road to get to where we are now. But I got my daughters to watch this one as soon as I finished watching it . Then we talked again about how much better they will be able to do by their kids if they can recognize my mistakes and be honest with themselves about all of this stuff. Thank-you for this video!!!

    May 16th, 2012 12:38 pm Reply
  • Charlene

    Loved this! My mom used to tell us that drinking soda would make our hair ugly and our teeth fall out. As a vain little girl that liked dressing up as a princess, that was enough to stop me from drinking it. I find that I still don’t crave soda and almost never drink it.

    April 29th, 2012 12:14 pm Reply
  • Kathy

    I don’t think this is extreme at all. Actually your title made me want to watch it but a little scared at the same time. LOL Now, if you burned down the McDonalds, that would be EXTREME! LOL

    April 24th, 2012 12:13 pm Reply
    • Kathy

      Oops… it wasn’t your title but what you said further down.

      April 24th, 2012 12:14 pm Reply
  • Pam

    My kids are 6 and 8 do you think it will work now too?

    April 21st, 2012 10:56 pm Reply
  • Carol

    Haha! You rock Sarah! Love your informative and funny side. You can also find a parents car who does feed their child this and find a french fry under a seat or some place…..those last FOREVER and still look good enough to eat! YUCK……. Now thats a lesson.

    April 21st, 2012 4:53 pm Reply
  • jacque

    Great idea, but the toys are not even safe due to coming from China! Such a shame though. My kids do not like to eat the garbage either…but on Youth Group trips, there are always fast foods involved. I tell them…this is why we eat healthy, so when times like this come up…you’re ok.
    Thanks again.

    April 21st, 2012 4:25 pm Reply
  • Tracey

    Love this! Our Walmart has a McDonald’s inside with the display of the toys right at the entrance of the store at just the right height for little eyes. Sometimes I’ll just buy the toy for a buck if the toy is that great (usually not). Our local public library gives out McDonald’s coupons for a free Happy Meal when the kids read a certain number of books in the summer. We were really disappointed about that. My six year old daughter told the librarian, who handed her the coupon, with disgust in her tone, “We don’t go to McDonald’s!”. I wish more people felt this way about fast food. We’ll continue spreading the message that it’s garbage in our community! Thanks.

    April 21st, 2012 3:28 pm Reply
  • Monique DiCarlo

    Why we are fat, it’s not just the calories! Great article.

    April 21st, 2012 12:11 pm Reply
  • Wendy

    My son (10yrs old on the spectrum) of course was all tuned in and listening the video. He came over and said “don’t throw away the toy, it’s not trash” and “fast food will make kids sick?” So, that will stick with him… Funny how hearing someone else say it has an impact, even if you’ve said it before.

    April 21st, 2012 1:22 am Reply
  • Zara

    Sarah. That’s a great video. I’ve never thought of doing that. Thank you.

    My questions for you:
    (1) When you’re traveling with the kids, what do you do? We’re traveling overseas at the moment, there’s not much choice in the airport.
    (2) How do you bring your partner on board with this? I’m having a lot of trouble with this. My partner doesn’t really care and he thinks a little bit of junk food won’t hurt the kids. Then arguments starts to happen, etc.

    Have you blogged about these issues? I would like to hear your suggestions on (1) healthy meals/snack when traveling the kids & (2) how to bring your partner on board with eating “real-food” and avoiding junk food, etc?

    Many thanks.

    April 20th, 2012 10:36 pm Reply
  • Ann

    I never can watch your videos. What viewer shoudl I be using? I have all new computer stuff and I only have trouble with this site?

    April 20th, 2012 9:07 pm Reply
  • Varis

    I agree with Kevin. You are way overestimating your influence. Sure you may be able to scare/trick/delude them into compliance up to about age 12. But once they start thinking for themselves they will naturally and inevitably rebel/experiment. Probably they will go and have twice the amount of fast food/drugs/sex just to see if mommy is right. And then if they dont suffer bad effects (after all fast food does not KILL EVERYBODY lol), then you will have lost credibility and you will have sown the seeds of mistrust which will affect your relationship for the rest of your life. They will not believe you any more.
    Why not just be honest and tolerate that they have their own personal opinions and desires, which might be different or even opposite to yours? You sound like a Nazi-mom lol. When they are young, doesn’t matter what the advertisiing giants are telling them, you are making the purchasing decision and just dont buy them the stuff, or buy it for yourself. You can control your kids purchasing power.. Main thing is teach them by example, dont eat it or buy it yourself, explain why you dont eat it, give them the facts. This strategy cannot backfire.

    April 20th, 2012 8:03 pm Reply
    • B

      Must be nice to know everything and be able to read the future for people you never even met!

      April 21st, 2012 3:56 pm Reply
  • kevin

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. If you think that this “lesson” affected your kids’ attitudes, you’re kidding yourself. I don’t believe that your kids are 100% free of fast food, but even if they are, it’s because you’re a fanatic who they are afraid to challenge. I know as well as you that fast food is crap, and I discourage my kids from eating it. But making something forbidden is not the answer —- it just results in them sneaking around to get it when you’re not looking.

    April 20th, 2012 2:11 pm Reply
  • Terrell

    Brilliant! Great video with a simple, powerful message.

    April 20th, 2012 1:42 pm Reply
  • Nicole

    I have taught my daughter how to make good choices and about moderation when eating unhealthy foods. We will end up at a fast food place every so often and when we do we talk about healthy choices and eating food that will help us grow big and strong rather than unhealthy foods. Fast food is modeled in moderation just like all other junk foods- ice cream, candy, chips, soda and so on.
    I think your approach is a scare tactic. I would rather my child know how to make good decisions for herself when it comes to eating.

    April 20th, 2012 11:13 am Reply
    • Terrell

      I’m puzzled by your response. You want your daughter to have only moderately good heath? And you are discussing healthy food choices while you are eating junk food? What kind of message does that give to a child? I believe fast food is modeled on profits for the fast food companies. And I think a scare tactic would be to show children the effects this type of “food” has on the human body even when consumed in “moderation”. Not a pretty picture.

      April 20th, 2012 1:50 pm Reply
      • Nicole

        Really. I don’t think that the health of a child Is dependent on if the have a cheeseburger once a month. Seriously. People can be so judgementel and ignorant. Milk over soda, apples over fries and oh no a hamburger. I am sure some of you feed your children worse at home. Moderation and brains.

        April 20th, 2012 5:14 pm Reply
        • SN

          We are certainly not discouraging kids from eating burgers. We’re discouraging them from eating food prepared and sold at McDonalds and other fast-food chains that don’t give a rat’s patoot about the quality of what they’re slinging. Again, McDonalds should not be confused with REAL FOOD and their burgers and their chicken nuggets should not be confused with REAL MEAT. It comes from tortured, sickly animals. Again, why would anyone want to “treat” their kids to that? I mean — seriously. Why? Blech.

          April 20th, 2012 6:00 pm Reply
        • Natural Nutrition Nurse

          Respectfully, had you said once a year I might have been able to hear what you are saying but once a month is a habit. I think that gives really mixed messages to a child one is trying to teach about real food health. The chemical reactions (free radicals & much more) that are going on in your body and your childs body last for hours and take days to repair. Dr. Catherine Shanahan’s book “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Foods” is excellent at explaining these physiological changes in laymans terms. Good luck to you in your pursuit of health. Small changes are not to be taken for granted. It is a process.

          April 24th, 2012 10:36 pm Reply
  • watchmom3

    Well Sarah, you really challenge me to THINK for myself! Thank you! Wish so badly that my kids were little again and I could do this once or twice. Generally, I think that IS all it takes to drive home the lesson. Sometimes we have to do things that others may not value, but that is ok. Each family has to decide what their values are and go from there. This was a lesson, not a moral one, a health one. Everyone spends money on what they value; it is respectful when commenting to remember that and not make a moral judgment, less that pointing finger turns back on the person pointing! My main job is to teach my children how to survive this culture and it’s many errors in health, wellness, spiritual understanding, etc. Less than 4 bucks for such a life changing lesson….EXCELLENT! Thanks!

    April 20th, 2012 7:49 am Reply
    • Natural Nutrition Nurse

      Here, hear watchmom3! I hear what you are saying here and it was well said!

      April 24th, 2012 10:23 pm Reply
  • Nicole

    I understand that you want to teach your children a lesson about healthy eating but throwing the food away is ridiculous. I am certain that there was someone in that area that would have loved a hot meal regardless of where it came from. I have lived in India now for almost six years and what I saw in your video was just wrong.

    “It is always with the best intentions that the worst work is done.”

    April 20th, 2012 4:09 am Reply
    • Helen T.

      But, but……it’s NOT FOOD!

      April 20th, 2012 7:26 am Reply
      • Nicole

        I think that the majority of people that go without food everyday would disagree with you. It might not be healthy food – but it is still food.

        April 20th, 2012 8:19 am Reply
        • Helen T.

          Would I give a starving person a bag from McDonalds? Sure I would – for the calories.
          (By the way, I have a frame of reference for hunger and poverty – I lived in India myself at one point).

          From reading comments here, I’ve noticed some people filter things through an ‘absolutest’ framework. By that reasoning: you have a bag of this ‘type of food’ in front of your child (someone who isn’t in a situation of starvation).
          Are you going to go ahead and give something not good for the health or are you not going to ‘waste’ it and give it to your child instead. I would say, people reading this blog would be of the mindset it’s NOT wasting it: it’s called food, but it’s only mimicing it.

          This isn’t my idea: here’s an a book by Thomas Dunker – “That’s Not Food!: Straight Talk About Your Choices and the Real Enemy: The Corporate Food Giants”

          April 20th, 2012 10:03 am Reply
          • Nicole

            I just do not agree. I can totally agree with wanting to teach your children about healthy living and eating. But I believe this is the wrong way to go about it.

            The only thing this video does for me is reinforce exactly how wasteful our society can be.

            Show this video to any child on the street here and do you think they would be learning about health? They would be taking away the idea that Americans are so so rich and so wasteful that they would buy their children food (for a cheap toy) only to throw it away.

            Remember when our parents would hound us about starving children in Africa to get us to clean our plates ~ I don’t agree with this method and I don’t agree with the idea of a child having to clean his/her plate but we all do need to remember that there really are STARVING children in Africa.

            Eric in the post before mine had some great ideas, which I will repost;
            * teach them that most people in the world live on less than $2/day TOTAL
            * work with them to make a whole loaf of PB&J sandwiches and go feed the homeless
            * help them understand that their peers don’t set the agenda for them (be stronger)

            April 20th, 2012 10:52 am
          • Susan

            McDonalds does nothing to nourish the human body. I can think of dozens upon dozens of other foods I would buy for $3 that would be nourishing and not aid the corporate food giants. Homeless people are humans. I wouldn’t give them food I wouldn’t eat myself.

            April 20th, 2012 11:33 am
          • Helen T.

            What Sarah is representing when she throws the bag away…….was this was NOT FOOD!

            I thought she was going to open it and rip that burger and fries into a thousand little pieces. She actually showed some restraint……

            April 20th, 2012 1:57 pm
        • Susan

          I agree — it’s not food. You (and millions of other people) have been bamboozled unto *thinking* it’s food, but it’s not.

          April 20th, 2012 4:31 pm Reply
    • Terrell

      So, you would teach your child that it’s okay to give garbage food to homeless people and those less fortunate? But not okay for them to eat it?

      April 20th, 2012 1:55 pm Reply
  • Eric

    Using this logic, I could…

    * purchase a carton of cigarettes every week and throw them away to teach the kids that smoking isn’t healthy.

    * buy them a fifth of wiskyy and pour it down the drain to show them the dangers of alcoholism

    * get 10-20 lotto scratchers and toss them in the fire as a math lesson on why the lottery is a bad investment

    * purchase inappropriate magazines and throw them away as a lesson on why we have to be careful not to view inappropriate material

    * get the biggest cable package available so i could reinforce the importance of not watching TV so much by not watching all the channels that were coming in

    really? i say do this INSTEAD:

    * teach them that most people in the world live on less than $2/day TOTAL
    * work with them to make a whole loaf of PB&J sandwiches and go feed the homeless
    * help them understand that their peers don’t set the agenda for them (be stronger)

    you get the idea… be a stronger influence by teaching them the real lesson you want to teach by not participating in the activity at all….

    (or simply keep on swinging by the liquor store after school to keep on teaching with this style…)

    Too funny….

    April 20th, 2012 1:28 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      You miss the point entirely I’m afraid ….

      April 20th, 2012 8:14 am Reply
      • Varis

        Good point Eric.
        Contrary to most of the hysterical comments here, I would not label commercial food as “poisonous” or “not food”. Kids will figure out themselves that the meat in a Maccas hamburger is the same meat bought in a supermarket and cooked by mom at home. Like anything the food becomes poisonous if you have too much. Even mom’s cooking at home would get poisonous if she cooked burgers and fries at home, everyday. Is Maccas to blame for providing tasty and nutritious food, so conveniently for such a low price? Of giving access to so many calories so easily?
        By demonizing fast food, we remove our own responsibility to control what goes into our own and our kids mouths. Lets learn and teach responsibility and self control instead.

        April 20th, 2012 8:37 pm Reply
  • julie

    fine the hamburgers are junk—but you could get apple slices instead of fries and milk (which you threw away) instead of soda

    for the 3 plus dollars they could of had the apples and milk

    April 20th, 2012 12:34 am Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    Bravo, Sarah!

    This should be basic training for every parent.

    April 20th, 2012 12:17 am Reply
  • Anastasia @ eco-babyz

    My daughter is 3 and has never been to a fast food place. We use the words ‘toxic’ and ‘poison’ a lot here in reference to food :) It sounds really cute in Russian, lol, but she knows her stuff pretty well and sometimes when someone offers her sweets she will say “I can’t have sweets, they make my teeth rot”, too cute! I love that at least for now, she always asks me if she can have something someone is offering her (when we visit people) and if I say ‘no’ I explain exactly why and she understands.

    April 20th, 2012 12:17 am Reply
  • Melissa @ Dyno-mom

    When you have a million comments what does one more mean? But I think that spending $4 once or twice or even three times saves hundreds of dollars from going to Mcdonald’s in the future not to mention the health care costs. The toys may be yucky and cheap but there are worse things, like eating it! My best tip is not having TV but Sara’s tip is awesome. Even if it causes some family discord.

    April 20th, 2012 12:01 am Reply
  • Marta

    Val, I don’t have experience with older kids, but I’d just stop going anyway and tell them it’s not an option. I’d try to perfect a homemade “fast food” meal, like burger and fries, if they miss it sometimes. Works with my DH!

    April 19th, 2012 10:46 pm Reply
  • Marta

    I have a son who is almost three. He doesn’t even know that these places have toys. He never asks for their food either. I think this is because we simply never go there, so it doesn’t exists in his world so to speak. If he watches cartoons is mostly video or PBS so no commercials there. I know it will probably change when he gets older and may see other kids eating it or something. At that time we’ll probably be more intensive with the negative message.
    At the very moment I’m more concern about what he sees relatives eating. How can I say “No, you cannot have some of the cereal/soy hot dog/krispy creeme your grandma is having, it’s trash”. Wouldn’t go very well with grandma. That is probably a whole new subject though. It would be very interesting to see your post on this :)

    April 19th, 2012 10:42 pm Reply
  • Val

    Love it! My kids are 13 down to 2 1/2. We are just getting it and pulling our kids along. How do we teach the older kids? Any tips? It goes in the ears but they still want the garbage food

    April 19th, 2012 9:58 pm Reply
  • Lisa

    Off the subject, but what would you suggest I do if ,y husband and myself both work? Sometimes both of us are not coming home until late in the evening, around 7:30-8:00pm. I know neither of us really want to bring out the pots and pans that late at night.

    April 19th, 2012 8:17 pm Reply
    • Diana

      Hi Lisa

      I’m fortunate to not have this problem, but I think if I were in your shoes I’d look at employing my slow cooker. Maybe make double batches as well so that you have leftovers for other days? On days you aren’t using the slow cooker for dinner you could make bone broth and make a couple of large batches of soup at the weekend for week day lunches. Just a thought :)

      April 19th, 2012 10:29 pm Reply
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  • Rose

    Changing the subject here… I’m wondering if it is ok to include the warm oil/butter/lard in your recipe when soaking grains to make it a wetter soak?

    April 19th, 2012 6:07 pm Reply
  • Sharon F.

    I wish that I had known the things that I know now when my kids were younger. But we have just recently started changing the way we eat. I used to be one of of those people who didn’t want to waste food but now I hardly think twice throwing unhealthy food away. I have started throwing candy away that relatives give to the kids, too. We are pretty new at all this.

    April 19th, 2012 5:58 pm Reply
  • Catydidd

    While I admire your goal of getting kids to eat healthily, I find this entire tactic incredibly wasteful. To throw away food that you *didn’t have to buy* and had no intention of eating is far more disgusting than any McDonald’s happy meal.

    April 19th, 2012 5:54 pm Reply
  • Faith

    I really like this, and at that age that Sarah suggests, kids are prone to learning things so I can see how this would work. I wish I had thought of this and done it when my girls were younger. My oldest doesn’t eat fast food (her choice), but my youngest does. My husband doesn’t understand why fast food is bad for you and I can’t convince him otherwise, so he’s gone over the edge. This video gets the point across – I hope people get it.

    April 19th, 2012 5:40 pm Reply
  • ashley

    just a heads up…most fast food places will sell the toys without the garbage food for just over a dollar each toy…..i asked them when my firstborn came along…we enjoyed the playgrounds and cheap toys without the poison in our bodies…..4 beautiful, healthy kids later….they don’t eat fast food ever!

    April 19th, 2012 4:56 pm Reply
  • Guen

    Really fast food every once in awhile isn’t going to hurt a kid. As long as there is balance that is what is important. My son occassionally eats it when he has sports practices that are later and it is quicker and easier to stop and grab something and guess what he hardly ever gets sick, he loves fruits and vegetables, and he is constantly in motion. I feel this is a little over board.

    April 19th, 2012 4:52 pm Reply
  • Kelesb

    Thank you!!! I needed this video.

    I also watch the video about how you make pudding.. do you post your receipts too? I’m trying so hard to find these old time receipts instead of the junk the store sells.

    Thank you much!

    April 19th, 2012 4:40 pm Reply
  • Melissa

    I usually use the “c” word when referring to fast food… and my 7-year-old has repeated it in front of people! oops.

    April 19th, 2012 3:46 pm Reply
  • Desiree

    I loved it! yes it’s over the top but that’s why it works. If I had a memory of my mom doing this as a child I would have never been so in love with Whoppers from “Booger Sling” – I reposted because it great! I had no idea where you were going with it but then when you explained it at the end it made complete sense:) thanks!

    April 19th, 2012 3:41 pm Reply
  • Rosemarie Podlewski

    Why didn’t she take the food to a little lake somewhere…pack a healthy food for a picnic ..took the hamburger to the park fed the ducks etc, and leave some milk outside somewhere for a homeless animal? not throw it away and waste it..and the Child gets a toy and teaches to feed homeless animals or ducks , fish etc, in the lake..or maybe even a homeless person laying or sitting in the streets starving to death with no food for days? she could have found another use for the food if she didn’t want her Child to eat it the child would have learned abt, the animals and the homeless..starving …she is crazy!!!!!

    April 19th, 2012 3:33 pm Reply
    • Desiree

      not fit for consumption of the homeless or animals. sorry.

      April 19th, 2012 3:42 pm Reply
  • candy @ mommypalooza

    ridiculously over the top. seriously, the toys are not why i let my kids indulge in an occasional milkshake or nuggest from Chick fil a. Do my kids eat fast food every day or week? No, but are they mainstream kids who will grow up to make good choices? Yes. But not because I knock other brands or products but because I make sure my influence over them is positive. I actually feel sorry for your kids and you are a waaaay over extreme person. Get over it. There are millions of people who are diagnosed and die of cancer and other diseases who live the healthiest lives possible. No one, no matter what your diet routine, is exempt so I am sorry to disappoint you but simply not having fast food ever is going to keep your kids “healthy”.

    April 19th, 2012 3:28 pm Reply
    • Desiree

      It certainly is a good start to getting them to be healthier.

      April 19th, 2012 3:44 pm Reply
    • Helen T.

      I used to think like you, Candy…..but serving KIDS fast food meals – might as well pour down their throats PURE POISON. People can live without fast food and not feel deprived – just has to be taught, like Sarah is demostrating in this video. Does her son feel deprived? He
      doesn’t care!

      I go into Baskin Robbins once every 10 years, max – and the last time cured me forever:
      after an ice-cream sundae, I was clearing my throat for the rest of the afternoon – was a distinct scratchy feeling there. WHAT ON EARTH do they make that ice-cream with???

      And find on the net the time-laspe photos of McDonald’s french fries – they never degrade.
      They look as fresh months later as the day you bought them. If you’re ready to serve that to you kids……….well……..can’t make the case better than this.

      April 20th, 2012 3:32 am Reply
  • Mikki

    Wish you, this video and WAPF was around back in 1980 when I had my first child. We had no fast food joints in our tiny valley until he was around 4-5 and I sure did succumb to Mickey D’s when they first went in!! I will pass this on to the new moms that I know. Thanks! Keep up the videos, they are great!

    April 19th, 2012 3:28 pm Reply
  • Helen T.

    Does it work on adults?

    April 19th, 2012 3:22 pm Reply
    • Helen T.

      Perfect vid – I’m sending it onto MANY folk out there!

      April 19th, 2012 3:24 pm Reply
      • Monique DiCarlo

        I suggest to adults to watch the movie Food Inc. that’ll work! 😉

        April 19th, 2012 7:58 pm Reply
  • Seriously though…

    …any advice for training husbands??? 😀

    April 19th, 2012 3:21 pm Reply
    • Natural Nutrition Nurse

      Keep on cooking delicious real food and gently explaining the good these foods do for our bodies, moods, sleep, sex life… That last one might win him over! Real food equals a good libido and blood vessles that are healthy and obviously so much more. Once a person detoxifies from the “poinsonous food” they just don’t taste good at all anymore.

      April 24th, 2012 10:11 pm Reply
  • Louise Baker

    I have an almost 4-yr-old and a 5-1/2 yr-old. We’ve only learned about the danger of the typical “civilised” diet and the benefits of traditional foods in the last year, so unfortunately my kids spent much of their formative years eating 2-minute noodles, chicken nuggets and Happy Meals. They’re very receptive to eating healthy food, but they still ask for McDonalds and Burger King quite regularly. I’ve just watched your video with them, and afterwards when I asked them if McDonalds food is good for them, they both immediately said “No”. I told them that we can buy the toy by itself next time they have some pocket money, and they were quite happy with that compromise — thank you!!!

    April 19th, 2012 3:19 pm Reply
  • Cat

    Sarah, I think this is nothing short of brilliant.

    I don’t have kids (yet – God willing!) but when I do hubby and I will definitely be doing this.

    Oh and, as for the arguments about giving McDonalds money and therefore supporting them? By teaching your kids to NEVER eat there you are taking money out of their pockets. And hopefully your kids will pass that lesson on to their friends and spread the word – therefore depriving them of yet more money.

    Basically, I think this video was fantastic and I salute you for posting it.

    April 19th, 2012 3:15 pm Reply
  • Leola

    Love that! Nicely done, Sarah. I just have to share this with my friends, many of whom have young children.

    April 19th, 2012 3:01 pm Reply
  • Laura

    Love it! You know it’s funny when my oldest was 2 1/2 I had just had her little brother and friends were bringing us meals and one in particular brought us pasta and vegetables but brought my daughter a happy meal thinking she wouldn’t eat the “real” food they brought us. Well I thought lets see if all this training on what real food really is has paid off and see what she does with it. It consisted of all things she had never had before: mcdonalds hamburger, french fries, and milk, oh and a toy of course. I handed her the meal and she took one bite of the hamburger and looked so grossed out she wouldn’t even touch the other stuff. And that was it. She got it. I then told her I was proud of her that food was no good for her and made her some real food.

    April 19th, 2012 2:52 pm Reply
  • cassandra

    I would give ANYTHING to have had a childhood like this. I spent the first half of my childhood with my mom around. She did a lot of home cooking, but even that was canned veggies, etc…. simple stuff and lots of boxes/canned items. For a time, she worked at the cafeteria at school and I got TWO lunches. I loved this…. of course, but school food is also junk food. We had a “junk drawer” at home… the bottom cabinet drawer, filled with treats. This wasn’t heavily guarded or anything. After school, I would take bologna slices and roll them up and eat them… along with cold hot dogs… while I sat in front of the television doing nothing. My father worked a lot and my mother was too busy with her horses and my sister (who shared her love of horses and being outdoors).

    Then, when my parents divorced, I moved with my sister and father. I have NEVER seen my father cook. Not even a summer BBQ. I remember having a BBQ but not seeing him use it. For a long time, breakfast was a croissantwich (no egg) from Burger King, lunch and snack at my high school consisted of cup-o-noodles/burritos/chicken sandwiches, and dinner was usually Jack In The Box. 0_0 This lasted for YEARS! I was the only one who would cook every now and then when my boyfriend at the time came would come over.

    Now, as a 28yr old and mother to a 12 year old (yes, teen mom), I am STILL dealing with over 10 yrs of depression, an addiction to fast food and an ever growing mid section. My son is skinny but only because of his dad’s genes. He eats just as bad and that only adds to the guilt and depression. He also has emotional issues and is on medication (which I HATE!!!!) which the school system nearly forced me to put him on so he could be “just like all the other kids”. Mental issues run in our family. So does breast cancer.

    I am sick because I grew up sick and I am teaching my child to be sick. With depression, it is EXTREMELY hard to get through the change. The hardest part is not having someone to guide you. I am almost 30 and one of my biggest wishes is for someone to be MY parent for once. I still wish for that mom or dad to parent me because I did not get it when I should have.

    Thanks for reading :0)

    April 19th, 2012 2:49 pm Reply
    • Monique DiCarlo

      Dear Cassandra, I feel for you, this is tough… But there’s a light on the horizon: you! You can make the choice right here, right now: no more! Please find help, you are not alone! For a start read the journey of this family: start reading a lot about nutrition and cooking, get inspired, feed yourself knowledge, then feed yourself and your family healthy food, bite by bite. Feel free to drop me a note if you wish!
      Take care, be well, Mo

      April 19th, 2012 7:51 pm Reply
    • Aimee

      Hang in there Cassandra!! It sounds like you are aware of what you need to do, now it’s just the execution. It will not happen over night, but you sound like you are making progress and I applaude your awareness and efforts!! :-)

      April 19th, 2012 9:55 pm Reply
    • Diana

      Hi Cassandra

      I think it’s great that you’re reading this blog and learning about real food. Take it one day at a time. I hope eating yummy traditional food will boost your mood and you’ll be rid of your depression. I too used to eat a LOT of junk and my mum was never a cook or role modelled good eating habits (I’ve seen her demolish a container of store-bought ice-cream on her own, in one sitting). I feel so good having started down this path and look at how far I have come in a year. Small changes regularly will get you there :)

      All the best in changing over to real food and with teaching your son to my good food choices too XXX

      April 19th, 2012 10:23 pm Reply
      • Natural Nutrition Nurse

        Cassandra, your story brought tears to my eyes. I am a psychiatric nurse who can so empathize with your nutritional and emotional dilema. Never give up! Even small changes will improve your mood. I would be happy to mentor you and give you more and more resources. You have found one of the best already right here. Feel free to email me at natural nutrition nurse

        April 24th, 2012 10:06 pm Reply
    • Sheril

      I can totally relate to parts of your story. It is truly very hard when depression and other issues seem to interfere with our ability to make the changes that might make the difference in the depression (and the other issues.) How do you spell downward spiral? You hang in there. It may take some of us a long time to get there, but you will get there eventually.
      Just always remember that you are better off for every little bit of success you have, better to have one meal that has less chemicals in it than to eat even that one meal with chemical laden foods while beating yourself up about how all of your meals “ought” to be. So always resist the urge to beat yourself up. Recognize that self recrimination will lead to more bad meals. Instead give yourself a pat on the back and tell yourself that you made a difference and that you will make another small difference again soon. And you will!!

      May 16th, 2012 12:50 pm Reply
  • Cindy

    I applaud your efforts, but I disagree with the methodology. You gave that industrial food giant money and added to the landfill! My kids (5 and 7) have NEVER eaten at McDonald’s or BK either. But we simply just don’t patronage them. I teach my kids at home the importance of eating and cooking healthy meals – by involving them. When traveling, we pack lunches, when life is hectic, I plan ahead with a healthy crock-pot meal and I carry snacks like nuts, whole fruit, boxes of Organic raisins and stainless steel water bottles.
    My girls know that it’s bad because I show them and they taste real food and don’t even like the taste of their school lunches – because they know how real food is supposed to taste!
    I bet McD’s is thinking – go ahead, keep showing this video…we’ll keep making money!

    April 19th, 2012 2:40 pm Reply
  • Jenn

    Best thing I did to get my kids OFF fast food was let them watch Jamie Oliver’s demonstration of how big business makes chicken nuggets and how big business makes pink slime. Kids have never asked to go to McDonald’s or Burger King again. Another way to avoid the fast food is to just never buy it. We have a KFC and Taco Bell, but because my husband and I have never darkened their doors, my kids just don’t think to ask about it. We’ve also made sure we talk to them about the TV commercials and what they’re trying to be sold. Of course that was after they were older, but I think a 5 year old can start to grasp the concepts. I think a better drink to toss would have been a soda drink, rather than milk. I cringed at the thought of the milk going into the trash. Maybe it has rgHB in it, but it was still better than the rest.

    April 19th, 2012 2:23 pm Reply
  • janet

    Cute, very cute Thanks for doing this video!

    April 19th, 2012 2:20 pm Reply
  • Suzanne

    Absolutely brilliant! Period.

    April 19th, 2012 2:14 pm Reply
  • Sarah Mae

    Sarah, did your kids keep wanting to go back for the toys though?

    April 19th, 2012 2:05 pm Reply
  • Risa

    I appreciate the idea. I have a friends whose 7 yo refuses to eat out at any restaurant (except chuck-e-cheese) without them first stopping at McD’s for a burger that he takes to the other restaurant. There are a lot of lazy parents out there and a lot of people who don’t like to cook or know how, but it’s important to start the messages early. we don’t give our daughter processed sugars (except for the occasional glass of watered down oj – i typically make her smoothies from scratch), and she is a lovely, manageable, non-tantrum throwing 2 yo. setting good habits early is the best way to prevent bad habits later. people always say, “good luck when she’s older and hanging out with her friends who eat that way,” which i think is just a way for them to justify their own lazy decisions. but i also don’t think a piece of cake later is going to kill her. we’ve established a savory and ethnically varied diet for her (which is the way we eat anyway) and i think it will stick even if she does junk out on sugar at some point. it’s also easier to keep kids off of fast food if you raise them vegetarian, which we’re doing as well. i can definitely see how throwing away food you just paid for would stick with a kid, so i don’t think this is too wacky. sometimes we have to go to extremes to make our point.

    April 19th, 2012 1:55 pm Reply
    • Loretta

      I swear, there’s so many people who use the excuse that the kids will grow up to want it more when they’re ‘deprived’ of it, but I look at this differently. A child’s nervous system and brain develop 90% in the first 6 years of life, so if I can make the best nutrition choices possible for them during this critical time, it’s a good thing! What they do when they get older is out of my control, but that should never stop you from giving them the best possible food while it is up to you!

      April 19th, 2012 6:12 pm Reply
  • T.

    Awesome. Thank you for sharing this useful lesson!

    April 19th, 2012 1:50 pm Reply
  • Evie

    Yeah…wacky. I’m not an extreme health nut or anything. We do consume grass fed meat/ raw dairy, lots of fruits and veggies, nuts. My kids are super healthy. We do have fast food on occasion. My problem with this approach is going to the extreme so that if my kids spend the night with a friend, and that family “treats” the kids to McD’s…what will my child do? Will he/she have a breakdown because this family is forcing them to eat something that will poison him/her? Or what about the birthday party at McDonald’s? My kids never knew toys came with food until they got into the restaurant. And we had that conversation about the toys being made by kids in China and that’s why we purchase the food we want and not the “kid’s meal” just for the toy. I think we can educate successfully without going to extremes like this. I don’t want my kids going into panic mode if they are ever confronted without the choice to avoid fast food. Because it will happen.

    April 19th, 2012 1:49 pm Reply
  • Our Small Hours

    Wow! I like this video because I agree that the garbage is where junk food belongs. I also like this video because it shows the power that parents have over the beliefs of their developing children.

    I think this is a lesson to us all to be careful what you purposely or inadvertently teach your child because those lessons, taught at an early age, will stick. We need to be discerning in what we are teaching them and at the same time teach them to think critically so that they can figure things out for themselves when we are not there to make decisions for them.

    April 19th, 2012 1:46 pm Reply
  • Lia

    Awesome! LOVE THIS IDEA!!! Not wacky at all! I’m totally doing this with my 2 year old and all the next ones :)

    April 19th, 2012 1:45 pm Reply
  • Susan

    Sarah, I loved the video! You point out that it really only works with young children, so let me tell you about how I did something similar with my older children. We only started to eat healthier about six months ago (thanks in great part to your website), and since we homeschool, my four kids, who are all teens, are usually with me when we grocery shop. I have to admit I did not do what I’m going to tell you about consciously, with any sort of deliberate “lesson-teaching” in mind. It just sort of “happened” and “evolved” on its own.

    The first thing I did after reading how bad HFCS was, was start checking food labels, on my own, for it. When my kids asked what I was doing, I gave them a quicky, two-sentence version of the negative effects of HFCS on the human body, and explained that I’d really like to try to avoid buying things with it in them if at all possible. I called it “garbage”.

    After a while, the kids started helping me read the labels, just to make things go faster, knowing that I wouldn’t buy it if I saw HFCS on the label. I was excited to hear them, after just a few weeks of doing this, start to get a little frustrated as they began realizing that, gosh, this darned stuff is in EVERYTHING! Anyway, they’d reluctantly put the item back on the shelf, often with a sigh and a remark like, “Nope. Garbage”.

    The exciting thing, though, was that very, very quickly, they actually started to associate the word “garbage”, not so much with the HFCS in that item, but with the whole actual item itself. Call it guilt by association or what you will, but after repeatedly putting item after item back on the shelf with the words, “Nope. Garbage.” “Garbage.” “Garbage”, eventually they weren’t thinking of, say, boxed macaroni and cheese as having garbage IN it, but of boxed macaroni and cheese as BEING garbage! YAY!

    As my learning grew, I started adding other ingredients to our forbidden list, and now, about six months after starting this, my kids read the labels of anything processed we think we might want to buy, and will remark “Garbage” and put it back immediately. if they see HFCS, L-cysteine, artificial anything, MSG, etc. on the label.

    To prove the point that my kids now consider the entire food item garbage, rather than just the junk ingredients in it, if we’re in a new grocery store, or one we’re not that familiar with, we’ll walk past aisle after aisle, and my kids will look down the aisle, and go, “Nope. Garbage aisle.” “Garbage.” “Still garbage.” “Okay, here’s a good aisle.”

    April 19th, 2012 1:42 pm Reply
    • Natural Nutrition Nurse

      Oh my I love that so much. I guess the same thing “accidentally” happened at our house too. It is a beautiful thing when your children embrace these principles on their own. I recently bought a non organic pineappble from Costco and my 11 year old would not eat it until I showed him that it was on the “ok” non organic fruit list because of its thick skin. Yes, I would still prefer it to organic but it is not always possible and I was making WAPF approved coconut pineapple macaroons for a WAPF gathering we were attending. But I loved my son’s commitment to being healthy especially since pineapple is one of his favs!

      April 24th, 2012 9:54 pm Reply
  • Job

    Good way to waste food. And some are posting that deliberately wasting food is a blessing and a freedom? Does anyone in this “nourishing traditions movement” care about anyone or anything beyond their own little circle of family and friends? I follow the principles and practices of traditional peoples AND it is not a religion I practice charity by buying a “toxic” meal for homeless people I encounter AND work to change the quality and accessibility of federal meals in schools – which for many children is the only meal that they may receive. You people obsess over whether the milk is raw or not and then act as if you are not connected in any way to those hungry children who sit next to your children in school. You really are proud of this!? Does anyone out there connect the blessing of your ability to care for your family as you want with any compassion for those children whose parents cannot or will not? How did a way of eating
    for health become a cover for right wing Me-and-mine-only? It’s all over the different blogs I follow. Am I the only one who thinks social justice and caring well for one’s loved ones are mutually exclusive? Sorry for the rant but come on! Its time for some accountabilty on the part of those who want to make changes for all – especially the most vulnerable. I guess the animal that gave its life for that meal was never thought of either. At least give thanks for it as you are deliberately wasting it as a trick. Can’t think of a single traditional society or person whose community has known hunger that would use deliberate waste of an animals life as teaching tool…

    April 19th, 2012 1:32 pm Reply
    • Our Small Hours

      I understand what you are saying, but that animal was desecrated long before it was thrown in the trash.

      April 19th, 2012 2:13 pm Reply
      • Susan

        Amen to that, Our Small Hours! Beyond our own health, I feel we have a moral responsibility not to eat at fast food chains that sell factory meat. Clearly Job does not know how the vast majority of American meat is made if she or he is worried about desecrating animals.

        For the record, I personally do not feed to a homeless person what I wouldn’t feed my own family. It’s not fit for human consumption in my opinion.

        Every time you buy this junk you are voting “yes!” with your dollars. I won’t be part of that.

        April 19th, 2012 3:49 pm Reply
        • Amy Love@Real Food Whole Health

          I totally agree! I think that it’s important to teach our children charity and caring for others, and part of that is that we provide REAL FOOD to those in need- who are those who NEED it most. Every bite they take needs to count big time, and not cause health problems that they can not afford to address. What does it say to your child when toxic trash food is “ok” for someone else, but not for them? We’re not any more deserving of healthful meals and I think it’s important that the point is made that FAST FOOD IS NOT FOOD AND ITS NOT FIT FOR ANYONE.

          April 19th, 2012 7:22 pm Reply
          • Monique DiCarlo

            If people would see how the food for fast food companies and MOST supermarkets is being produced, how the animals are treated, they would never eat anything from these places anymore. If you see the CAFO’s (Google for images) where that hamburger beef is coming from, your stomach will ache. I watched Food Inc. together with my 8 year old daughter and this also helped to avoid places like McD, she’s even reading food labels now. We buy our meat from Polyface farm because we know Joel Salatin treats his animals with respect and feeds them what they would eat in nature. Our food industry is so bad and corrupt it’s not funny anymore!

            April 19th, 2012 7:45 pm
          • Natural Nutrition Nurse

            I could not agree more! Well Said indeed. Even before learing about real nutrition and real food I was a health nut that just didn’t see the whole picture yet. I basically did the exact thing as Sarah when it came to the crappy little toys marketed to our precious children on the TV (thought vacuum/trance venue) we would get the toy but not the meal or throw it out. I would say not having TV or at the very least deleating commercials would go a long way towards our kids not wanting this junk both the food and the toys. However, getting a Pokemon toy and not eating the “food” is a great lesson. Now that we eat the WAPF way none of us including the kids have any taste left for the non food these establishments offer. We are fully detoxed from that stuff. We ate at a former favorite restaurant after the entire family walking in the 5K for NAMI (National Aliance on Mental Illness) last Saturday in San Diego and each of us had stomach aches all day and did not enjoy it nearly as much as we used to or remembered.

            April 24th, 2012 9:47 pm
  • Amy

    Next can you do a lesson on how to train my husband? 😉

    April 19th, 2012 1:24 pm Reply
  • Rick

    Wacky… but I love it!

    April 19th, 2012 1:22 pm Reply
  • Nick H.

    That seems like a less wacky version of what I’ve heard other parents do. When I was an undergrad my behaviorist psychology professor told us all about how he conditioned his kids to hate fast food. Whenever he, and/or his wife drove by a fast food place they would make gagging noises and say how disgusting that place was. Kids never touched the stuff.

    Although I am not anti-fast food myself, and in fact feel there are many times and places for it, I had to post this as you made me remember the good ol’ days of undergraduate school.

    April 19th, 2012 1:22 pm Reply
  • Bri

    I love you.

    April 19th, 2012 1:21 pm Reply
  • Krista

    This is a good and important lesson with regard to teaching children that fast food is bad, and not healthy and harmful to consume.

    But what kind of lesson is this teaching your child about caring for the environment or animals or not wasting? It seems incredibly wasteful to go through a drive-thru and purchase a meal filled with GMO’s and meat from animals raised on factory farms (thus supporting McDonalds) and then to throw it straight into the trash. What about people who are going hungry? What about the environment? The box could be recycled and the bottle of milk as well.

    Seems silly- I think simply raising children eating healthy and well and explaining to them how their body works- how animals are treated- how the planet is effected- how their health is effected by fast food is a much more productive and less wasteful way to get a message across.

    April 19th, 2012 1:16 pm Reply
  • Susie foster

    That is fantastic!

    April 19th, 2012 1:12 pm Reply
  • Monique DiCarlo

    You can even do this cheaper: for $1 just buy the toy! I noticed that my daughter didn’t even want to eat the “food” from the happy meal, she just wanted the toy! Now she knows that it’s really not food and that the toys are crap as well and end up in the trash within a few days, so finally we can skip it all together. If we are traveling we look for a Chipotle or 5 guys as a better alternative for fast food, but I also make sure there are plenty of fun and healthy snacks in the car so we do not get tempted. :-)

    April 19th, 2012 1:12 pm Reply
  • Mel

    I like this idea. I just wonder how your kids deal with spending the night or day with someone who takes them to fast food places? I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to the parent who is taking the playdate kids to McD’s as a treat and having one child flip out because the food is “poison”. Do you pack food for every meal for your child when your kids aren’t with you?

    April 19th, 2012 1:08 pm Reply
    • Amy Love@Real Food Whole Health

      Ideally, my kids wouldn’t be with someone who thinks fast food is ever an option :) If they were with someone else who ate differently than we do, I would pack a meal for the child, or have rules that my kids don’t go on playdates/outings where trash food is served.

      April 19th, 2012 7:17 pm Reply
      • Stephanie

        It seems that your ideology matters over people in general. I would just pack my kid a meal and let them go have fun. But I rather teach them to value people over my ideology any day.

        January 24th, 2014 7:55 pm Reply
  • mel

    Your a parent you could just by the toy and tell your child that McDonalds is only good for the toy simple as that no need to throw food away even if it is garbage its still food that homeless people do not have if anything you taught your daughter the value of a dollar and how it means nothing great job!!!

    April 19th, 2012 1:08 pm Reply
  • Emily

    So do you wait to take them through the drive thru when they actually ask to go for the food or toy, or do you preemptively take them through before they’re even interested in the toy/food? My kid is only 20 months but eventually I will need to teach this.

    April 19th, 2012 1:04 pm Reply
  • Barbara Christensen

    My daughter said, “Mommy, I am so glad that she didn’t feed her kids that food.” Love this!

    April 19th, 2012 1:01 pm Reply
  • Hannah

    Just started my own blog about living a healthier lifestyle. Check it out at

    April 19th, 2012 12:59 pm Reply
  • Hannah

    I’m so glad I watched this! My daughter is only 6 months old but I’ve been trying to think of ways to teach her not to eat fast food, or all the junk that gets passed off as food, when she gets older. I’m sure my parents and in-laws will think I’m crazy, but if we teach her young she will never know the difference and be so much healthier! Thank you for the insight!

    April 19th, 2012 12:56 pm Reply
  • Pingback: Video: Mom vs Fast Food — The Healthy Home Economist | Need Fast Money

  • Cara

    Not too bad, most likely not something I’d do though. My kids don’t know that there are toys at fast food places yet anyway 😉 They do know that any candy they get gets saved for Grandma (lol- our eating habits are TOTALLY different from hers) and they give it to me right away. They’ve grown up with the idea that we do things differently, and they’re totally okay with it. We don’t get Buzz Lightyear toothpaste, we don’t get fast food, we don’t watch 95% of the kids shows everyone else watches. I’m comfortable being different, so I guess that passes on to them.

    April 19th, 2012 12:32 pm Reply
  • Pavil, the Uber Noob

    Bottom line: We can’t mass produce Real Food.
    If we are not willing to invest time & money in Real Food, we can’t legitimately call ourselves a free people.

    Ciao, Pavil

    April 19th, 2012 12:23 pm Reply
  • Lauralee

    Great video Sarah! Not wacky at all! and so sorry that so many are missing the real point. There will always be naysayers and extremists in every faction and most people just want to be “right”. Yes China is garbage and fast food is garbage but they are not going away. We have to take a stand and if spending almost $4 is going to help us take a stand against these poison factories that are contributing to the decline in a vast majority of peoples heath then we have to do it! Hurray for you for taking that stand and sharing with us! After teaching our children this important fact we can then move on to teaching them the value of a toy if that is our concern and show them better toys, etc. But we have to hit hard because these companies won’t stop until we make a stand and everyone realizes it’s garbage and poison. The great thing is that our children will have an impact on some of their friends too which will make that almost $4 experience even more invaluable!
    Tell your son thank you so much for getting you to share this! And he did an awesome job being your camera man!

    April 19th, 2012 12:19 pm Reply
  • Heather

    I liked the video. I don’t think it was extreme to throw away a happy meal that cost $3–that is a cheap tuition for a lesson in life long health. It is something I would do w/my kids to show them you don’t have to eat something just because it is in front of you–it is better off in the trash than in their tummies.

    BTW–what a handsome son. He seems like a nice kid too.

    April 19th, 2012 12:16 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Thank you Heather. He’s a good boy and he makes his parents proud :)

      April 20th, 2012 10:05 am Reply
  • Donna

    I see the concept but in the process you have taught them that milk is not good for them! Seriously? I do see that aspect as extreme!

    April 19th, 2012 12:14 pm Reply
    • Mary

      Hi Donna. Search the blog for “raw milk” and “pasteurized milk” and you’ll see why Sarah threw that nasty pasteurized stuff right where it belongs!

      April 19th, 2012 12:53 pm Reply
      • Amy Love@Real Food Whole Health

        Yep! The McD’s milk is NOT good for them- in the trash it goes. REAL milk comes from a family farm (or your own cow/goat) not from a plastic bottle at a drive-thru window. Plus, I’m surprised it was even WHITE milk and not chocolate or berry. Ick!

        April 19th, 2012 7:13 pm Reply
        • Stephanie

          What about those who do not have access to a family farm? I agree that farm fresh milk is the best, but I personally would not drink raw milk. I will boil it before I drink it at home. But it seems to be common to see arrogant snobbery on this blog. Looking down at people who do not follow the WAPF diets to the letter.

          January 24th, 2014 7:51 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Ummmm. Pasteurized pus milk from confinement cows? Throwing that away was part of the lesson!. I don’t want my kids drinking that either! We drink only raw, grassfed clean wholesome milk directly from the farm not processed pus milk from a fast food or grocery store. YUCK!

      April 20th, 2012 10:03 am Reply
  • jamie

    bravo! You put your finger on the pulse of the problem. We cannot convince our children that McDonalds serves poison if we feast on it….even occassionally. I used a slightly different approach. I used the money that I would have spent at McDonalds and took them to a toy store to let them choose something that they truly would like not what McDonalds marketing crew told them that they could not live without.

    April 19th, 2012 12:13 pm Reply
  • Noni

    You are so AWESOME!!! I wish I had your support back in the 70’s & 80’s when I was the odd ball keeping my girls “clean”. But they are living the healthy life still. My 28 yr old told me this morning that even though she could never have fast food, she always wanted it in her teens – so this video just makes sense to kill that desire in a visual, experiential way!!! I’ve sent it to all the young moms I know, and posted it on FB. You da bomb!!! Thanks xoxo

    April 19th, 2012 12:03 pm Reply
  • Tara

    After watching Supersize Me and Food Nation, among others and learning how inhumane and filthy factory farms are, I just told my kids there’s poop in the meat. That fast food companies don’t treat their animals well and don’t care that they’re poop and sick bodies are turned into their burgers that we can choose to eat, or choose to not eat. That pretty much ended their appetite for it!

    April 19th, 2012 11:54 am Reply
    • Noni

      Nice advice too … love it!

      April 19th, 2012 12:05 pm Reply
  • fransita

    i hope the parents that need to see this will watch it. when my daughter was young i would go thru the drive thru and order just the toy. they sell it for $1.00. telling her the same thing you told your kids, yet never having to buy or throw the food away. SHe is 19 now and although her friends eat fast food, she knows it is garbage!

    April 19th, 2012 11:51 am Reply
  • Patricia

    Wow, I think that it is not that big a deal to spend $3 to teach a lesson. Some children might not need it; others would benefit. Why be hard on Sarah?

    My children never needed this type of lesson, even though at one time we did eat from fast food places for lunch once a week. We transitioned in a different way, one that worked for us.

    Each parent has to determine the best way to teach her children what is best for their bodies when it comes to nutrition. As long as it’s done in a legal/moral/ethical way, we should not care if someone does it differently than we would.

    We already have to fight the government, media, and other entities that are pushing to keep us ignorant/take away our choices.

    April 19th, 2012 11:49 am Reply
  • Anita

    At our local McDonald’s, (in NW FL) Happy Meals are $1.98 on Tues and Thurs. Same lesson for less money! : )

    April 19th, 2012 11:35 am Reply
  • Kelly Spezzano


    This method is tried and true! We have had our 3 yo on GAPS for several months now because of some digestive problems. We started telling him that certain foods have been making his belly hurt and that was all it took. He knew he didn’t like the pain he was suffering so he has no desire to experience it again.

    We drive by fast food places and he sees people pulling in and he says, “MOM, PEOPLE AREN’T SUPPOSED TO EAT THAT FOOD, IT WILL HURT THEIR BELLIES!” (he’s actually quite rude about it sometimes haha)

    Great video, not hokey at all!

    April 19th, 2012 11:27 am Reply
  • Heidi

    Every now and then the media is actually helpful in the battle against fast food. A year or two ago there was a story about the “meat” that Taco Bell uses being the same quality level as what is used in dog food. It made an impression on our kiddos! Now anytime we drive past a Taco Bell I hear a chorus of “they serve dog food” and “that is garbage food” :-)

    April 19th, 2012 11:24 am Reply
    • Susan of Litttle Ladies Who Lunch

      Along those lines, THE MEATRIX trilogy is great to show elementary age kids, as it talks about factory processed meats / dairy in an accessible, non-threatening way. They’re all available to Youtube.

      April 19th, 2012 11:30 am Reply
  • rebecca huff

    I love the concept! I started doing this kind of thing as soon as I realized that I needed to change my eating habits and those of my children— so my youngest children have heard this message since they were tiny, but my older ones still can remember eating that nasty stuff– thankfully, research and thoughtfully sharing the knowledge of how delicious REAL FOOD is, has helped them ‘reason’ their way to making good food choices! I frequently ‘throw out’ food left over from parties, that other people have brought to my house– and for them to see me do that helps them see that what other people may call ‘wasting’ is showing how important good decisions and good food are!

    April 19th, 2012 11:13 am Reply
  • Angela

    I agree about it being a waste of money, encouraging them to then want cheap toys, (that you will find broken and unsafe soon and just have to throw away)and doing just what you wouldn’t want done with drugs. . .since you brought that up. After all, do we go to the drug dealer and buy a stock in it to throw it away in front of our kids? No. It seems obvious that we are supporting the drug industry then, why not when you darken the steps of the fastfood joint. My kids are just the type that if I took the to McDonalds for a toy and lesson, they would prompt me to need one on every other fast food place. As it is, they rarely ask. My only issue has been with influences from relatives who take them to those places once in a long while on a playdate. . .not because they want to go though.

    April 19th, 2012 11:05 am Reply
  • Annika Rockwell

    Sarah, your video is brilliant! Thank you! Money well “invested” on education, not wasted. You’ve just stumbled onto a BIG and important topic for parents – how to educate our kids about good vs bad food. And how to start doing it EARLY so that making good food selection decisions becomes second nature to them. There are several different strategies that can work effectively as many moms have discussed in this string. I’d love to see a whole series of your videos to educate parents and their kids! Are you up for it? :) The sad truth is, most PARENTS don’t know what’s good or bad, let alone how to talk effectively about food to their children. Your videos can help give parents some great ideas when they don’t know where to start!

    April 19th, 2012 11:00 am Reply
  • Shannon

    I totally agree with you on fast food being JUNK and love the video, but how do you handle when you are running errands all day and everyone needs to eat to stay sane (especially for mom)? Or when you are traveling? Do you just run in to a grocery store and buy something healthy there? I am trying to make healthier choices for my family on a very tight budget and finding it extremely hard. Thank you in advance for any answers you have!

    April 19th, 2012 10:59 am Reply
    • rebecca huff

      An idea! If you have been reading Sarah’s blog for a while– you will have read about the Raw Milk Fast—- My idea for when you are out all day and cannot bring all the good stuff with you from the fridge at home, just bring enough Raw Milk for everybody (2 cups per adult, per meal ‘out’ and 1-2 cups per child, per meal ‘out’) in a small cooler— one of the best things about Raw Milk is that even when it gets left out, gets warm, or sours a bit, it is still super nutritious and tasty! And when you drink Raw Milk, you never feel hungry! The perfect solution to needing to ‘eat’ while you are out all day!

      April 19th, 2012 11:30 am Reply
    • Tara

      Pack in advance. I don’t go anywhere without food. Ever. It takes a lot of time, but I’m not eating the crappy food that’s out there and I’m definitely not feeding it to the little bodies I’m caring for. I’m on a tight budget too – all the more reason to pack ahead.

      April 19th, 2012 1:04 pm Reply
  • Tessa Domestic Diva

    not over-the-top at all!! I’ve learned to be become the bad guy when it comes to junk food, and i always explain to my kids why we don;t eat foods like that (fast food/processed food). We talk about it being bad for your body, doesn’t help you grow strong and healthy, etc…but they still want it all the same. I am only hoping all the lessons and modeling will sink in as they get older and they will make good food choices. I trying my darndest. The school system doesn’t help me much out either, in fact I feel sabotaged by it.

    April 19th, 2012 10:57 am Reply
  • Susan of Litttle Ladies Who Lunch

    I am all for teaching kids to avoid fast food and I applaud your video. Truth be told though, I don’t really want to buy them cheap plastic made in China toys that will get thrown away in record time either. We skip the entire experience. So far, so good (at 7, 9, 12 and 16).

    April 19th, 2012 10:55 am Reply
    • Susan of Litttle Ladies Who Lunch

      ps: you are adorable, as is your son. You both look great on camera!

      April 19th, 2012 10:58 am Reply
      • Yep…

        That is true! Maybe then there will have to be a follow up lesson on why Made in China is bad too… :) That might be a good lesson for “when they’re older.” Tots probably wont comprehend much about china.

        April 19th, 2012 11:15 am Reply
  • Sarah S

    I loved this post! I wish I was more concerned with health when my kids were younger, but in the past 3 years we have stopped fast food, prepare almost all of our food and when my kids would start to get a sore throat I have always taught them how to connect what they have been eating (and not eating…vegetables) and how they are feeling. It makes a remarkable difference in their life. My kids never ask for fast food! I think watching Food Inc, Food Matters, The Beautiful Truth and your blog have all been great Health class for my homeschool boys to truly get educated on what they want to do for their bodies and they actually “preach” it to others at the farmer’s market, stores, etc! Such a great lesson! Let’s hope this goes viral and make a dent in the chemical food industry sales! :)

    April 19th, 2012 10:53 am Reply
  • Leslie R.

    What a great idea! Last week, I asked my 4 year old grandson about some packaged food and he declined saying it was “garbage food.”

    April 19th, 2012 10:52 am Reply
  • kari

    Not cheesy… Very well done. It will be these types of examples that momma need. Thank you for being not only a food coach but a momma mentor.

    April 19th, 2012 10:50 am Reply
  • Great Work!

    I just wanted to say great work on this video! $3.50 is NOTHING compared to the memory- that mommy would love them enough to splurge *just sometimes* for a toy AND toss out that toxic food so it won’t hurt them… that’s LOVE. I know everyone has a different parenting technique, but this is a FANTASTIC way to lead by example. Showing and telling are two different things. Children are always watching and since McD’s WILL be recruiting them (if not now, later in young adulthood!), its better we show this powerful action first. Great post!

    April 19th, 2012 10:46 am Reply
  • Jill Cruz

    Great idea. I thought for sure you were going to say stuff their faces with fast food and then they get sick and never want to eat it again. But of course you wouldn’t do that :))

    April 19th, 2012 10:46 am Reply
  • Tracey Stirling

    My kids learned their lesson on fast food literally one day when my hubby and his brother decided to take our kids fishing early one morning. They decided to go to Jack in the Box to grab breakfast (I could’ve killed them). Well apparently my kids wern’t that hungry yet and left their food in the car which they decided to eat later on the way home. Both kids proceeded to vomit shortly after! Now I suppose it’s quite possible that they got some mild food poisoning from the food siting in the car but they already knew fast food wasn’t healthy and they came home with the the strong belief that the yucky fast food made them sick! Hats of to their dad and uncle afetrall!

    April 19th, 2012 10:45 am Reply
  • Christina

    I don’t think you’re approach is too wacky. In our house, we’re even wackier. One of the ways we prevented the desire for fast food early on was to get rid of television. No commercials equals no desire for the toys in the first place. We also talked to our kids early on about junk food versus healthy food. I read food labels with my kids from an early age and talked about processed foods and why they aren’t good for them.

    The message was so well received that we had an awkward moment in the grocery store one day. My then 6 year old son and I were going past the processed deli meat case where we saw a woman putting Luncheables in her cart. My son turned to me and said very earnestly and audibly, “Mom, that lady must not love her children very much since she’s buying those Luncheables things for them.”

    Thanks for all of your good work and informative posts.

    Christina in northeast Ohio

    April 19th, 2012 10:45 am Reply
    • Christine

      Love it!

      April 19th, 2012 8:19 pm Reply
  • Elisabeth

    My kids have had the very very occasional fast food… and they Hate it! If I ever have a weak moment and suggest picking up fast food they freak out! My 10 year old daughter will ask me if they have salads and my 9 year old boy will tell me he’ll just wait to get home and eat leftovers! They were raised on real food and cannot stand impostors!

    April 19th, 2012 10:45 am Reply
  • Shellie

    I am so sad that i was so addicted to this stuff when my kids were little that they got hooked on it, too. They are now 8, 6 and 4. I have taught my 8 year old that it’s not healthy, but my 6 year old still begs for it. I don’t cave anymore, but he still asks for it. It must be truly addicting for them to still be asking for it months later!

    April 19th, 2012 10:44 am Reply
  • Christina

    Thank you. Wee one is only 6.5 months right now (enjoying his Weston Price bone broth formula BTW!) but I’ll keep this in mind.

    April 19th, 2012 10:41 am Reply
  • TinaC

    Great idea, but late is better than never if your kids are already older than that. My conversion to whole, clean foods came kind of late, so my kids did grow up eating this stuff occasionally, but now in thier teens don’t want it at all. Since they are not under my control any more and often eat less than ideally at home (they can go buy thier own junk now) I find that amazing. It also keeps me hopeful that if I keep extolling the virtues of clean eating they will eventually begin to make better choices more often. At least now they are aware that when they get acne, feel tired a lot, etc that they can change thier diet to remedy that, I often hear them saying as much to thier friends.

    So it’s not too late when they are older, just keep a running dialog about how these places treat the food, the workers, the environment. I love to get books like Fast Food Nation and The Omnivores Dilemna on tape and play it the car while we are running around town. Of tne hearing someone other than Mom saying the same things makes a big impact on them. They still do listen once they are above 5, I swear, lol!

    April 19th, 2012 10:38 am Reply
  • Cathy

    Off topic but I know alot of people that would give anything for a hot meal, “toxic” or not. Your not teaching your kids the value of money or the fact that many people go hungry everyday. I do undersrand your message but in relaying that message you are teaching them bad messages as well. Just food for thought and my 2 cents !

    April 19th, 2012 10:33 am Reply
    • seeing the point, however…

      I see the point but there are SO many ways to teach value for money, charity, love and giving, and “facts” about the world. If we draw lines around food waste like that it won’t end. I even toss things we ourselves MAKE that don’t turn out right… like a rump roast last night that turned out to be ALL gristle… Yep we threw it to the woods to spare our jaw bones. the point is not to make children feel guilty because “someone else” doesn’t get to have food- toxic or not- we should tell them where prosperity comes from: FREEDOM and morality. Thanks to the heritage of this country (God’s!), we are blessed to be in a place where we CAN toss a meal (although times may change!). Lets work on spreading the blessing!

      April 19th, 2012 11:11 am Reply
  • Amy Love@Real Food Whole Health

    Love this idea! It makes perfect sense! As a child I went to McDonald’s a LOT and it was seen as a reward for good behavior or as a celebration. In fact, all going out to eat was seen as “special”, so guess what I want to do now when I am celebrating? Go out to eat! (At least now it’s only to farm-to-table places, lol!) But that memory of McDonald’s being fun and making me feel good is there, even though I am totally disgusted by it now. We would NEVER give our kids fast food, so this is a great trick to set up that negative (but positive!) association. Now to find some prescription bottles to throw in the trash too :)

    April 19th, 2012 10:30 am Reply
  • Danielle @ More THan Four Walls

    Great video……now one to teach grown men in their early 40’s that fast food is crap would be great!
    He doesn’t buy into it so it’s hard to keep our son away from it. At 19 months he already like Fries…. ;-(

    April 19th, 2012 10:28 am Reply
    • Keri Mae

      Yep! THAT’S the video I want to watch!

      April 19th, 2012 11:09 am Reply
    • Rose

      “Super Size Me” is for the men! :) Good Luck!!

      April 19th, 2012 12:18 pm Reply
  • Heather

    Thanks Sarah, although my 14 month old is not yet asking for fast food, I have been dreading the day that she does. Thanks to your (not wacky at all) video, I have a great tool for when she does.

    April 19th, 2012 10:23 am Reply
  • valleygirl

    Hm, I don’t know. I hope that you follow up as they get older and they start to see their friends eating at these places and the temptation to just try it is strong WHY it belongs in the trash. I have explained to my kids from early on why we don’t frequent these places (we will do Chick FilA on occasion but that is it). The young ones hear “This kind of food has stuff that gives you owies and can make you sick” while the older ones hear more details. My 8 yo will not even drink non organic milk because she tells you that it contains medicines that they gave the cows that we now get into our bodies. THAT is working with her as I explain in detail. She won’t drink non organic apple juice either because of high arsenic levels and she can tell you why.

    April 19th, 2012 10:22 am Reply
  • Marcia Wilwerding

    I understand the concept, and I do believe it will work. But, I just can’t get past the waste of money. I wonder if it would be just as effective to pass up the fast food places as a rule of life practice in your home. If they never develop the “taste” for fast food and the accompanying toys, then perhaps this strategy would not even be necessary. However, I could see its profit for children who have already been duped into the system at some point, perhaps by other well-meaning family members.

    April 19th, 2012 10:19 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Talk is not enough. You have to show them with a shocking, never to be forgotten visual. Throwing food that you just paid money for in the trash is a never to be forgotten memory. They will be slow to waste their money on garbage food when they are older and the choice is their own.

      April 19th, 2012 10:31 am Reply
      • Tara

        I get what you’re doing, but saying that “talk is not enough” is a pretty sweeping statement. We have three daughters that are 19, 15, and 9. They have never eaten fast food either and I would certainly not buy anything from McDonalds, especially a plastic toy that is produced with fossil fuels under poor labor practices. It’s not a judgement, I think we all have to do what works for us, but there are other ways.

        Our children grew up knowing our farmers and their food. Our farmers talked to them about the differences with how their animals were raised and what Farmer Conventional down the road was doing. When we sit down to eat, we always talked about the animal and farmers that were part of our meal. Even today, when my kids bite into their food, they will compliment the flavor and immediately ask who grew it/raised it.

        Our kids have all been competitive athletes so we’ve had to travel a great deal with groups of kids to tournaments and various other competitions. While the other parents are eating the hotel bagels and fast food lunches, we’re eating our food packed in coolers or stewing away in our hotel slow cooker. My kids have never expressed a desire to go eat at the fast food place with their friends, they wouldn’t want to eat that “sick food”, preferring to socialize when the meal is over.

        Anyway, I think you’re great. I like everything you do and if this worked for you, then it’s a ‘win’! I just think there’s many ways to accomplish this effect that don’t involve giving the junk peddlers a dime.

        April 19th, 2012 12:08 pm Reply
        • B

          I like your idea of taking the slow cooker to the hotel! That’s something I haven’t done yet but can see it would be very useful when traveling. I wonder what the easiest hotel meals would be and the best ways to pack the ingredients to go (frozen, etc.)

          Thanks for the food for thought.

          Sarah – Love this idea! Three dollars is a tiny price to pay for a life lesson.

          April 19th, 2012 6:11 pm Reply
          • Amy Love@Real Food Whole Health

            We’ve done the slow cooker thing (just make sure to put the “Do Not Disturb” tag on the door- which we do anyway to avoid as many toxic chemicals during our stay) and we also take a toaster oven sometimes. :) It’s super convenient to heat up grain-free muffins or leftovers so you can avoid the microwave. I also remember to take herbal tea so that we can use the coffee maker in the room for hot water (or run down to the lobby).

            I also make sure to bring several extra bags (like gallon ziplocs) to put ice in to refresh the cooler. Sometimes hotel rooms will have large refrigerators, but we just went to a conference this past weekend and the fridge was so tiny we couldn’t find it at first! NO JOKE! :) It was in a cabinet and I couldn’t even fit ONE half gallon jar in it. So, the cooler got a LOT of use! :)

            April 19th, 2012 7:02 pm
          • Tara

            I agree with Amy, we also assume that the fridge will be puny so we pack bags for lots of ice refreshing. I usually cook a couple of meat loafs and/or burgers, sausage, hard boiled eggs and raw eggs (to make shakes with raw milk and berries in teh magic bullet) fermented veggies, bone broth, cans of wild sardines, avocados, and mammoth quantities of roasted, mixed veggies. Oh, and we bring raw milk, homemade yogurt and kefir, and some fruit. For dried stuff, I mix crispy nuts with our own dried fruit. That pretty much covers it. We eat that for all meals and with fermented veggies, we never feel like we’re missing that raw veggie crunch. I also travel with coconut oil, good salt, and a vat of raw butter and/or ghee.

            April 19th, 2012 8:51 pm
          • B

            Thanks for the great hotel food ideas!

            April 19th, 2012 9:02 pm
          • Diana

            Oh my goodness Tara, you don’t travel light! :)

            April 19th, 2012 9:49 pm
          • Katrina

            We take the slow cooker to the hotel too… we bring our entire meals with us frozen ahead of time and leave it in our huge cooler in the car. We also bring our juicer and vitamix (for morning smoothies). It works great and the only drawback is doing the dishes in the sink of the hotel (bring dish soap too)… crock pots don’t fit in well :) We also bring paper plates and such b/c it’s so much easier. It makes life easier knowing you have all the good food you need and you don’t need to frantically try to find something that isn’t even going to be healthy and is way over priced.

            November 14th, 2012 6:22 pm
  • Kelly G.

    Mine neither request nor like fast food (ages 3 & 5) and aren’t actually aware that there are toys. At some point in the elementary school future, they may be introduced to it and persuaded by peers to think it’s great. Do you recommend this trick as a preventative measure for the possibility of future fast food encounters? Because right now, we are a-ok, and I certainly don’t want them to know there are toys!!

    April 19th, 2012 10:13 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, I recommend this as a preventative measure. My kids were the same as yours. I wanted to be proactive and introduce them to the topic of fast food myself without waiting for their peers to do it in a positive light.

      Kind of like talking to your kids about the dangers of drugs before they inevitably encounter it themselves.

      April 19th, 2012 10:17 am Reply
  • Erin

    Did your kids ever ask for the toys after they realized that you can get them at a fast food drive-thru? Or were they just generally disinterested?

    I couldn’t eat fast food for a year after watching Super Size Me…and I guess I’m fortunate that my daughter’s many allergies will keep her from ever being able to eat a Happy Meal – but any tips on lessening its appeal are always welcome!

    April 19th, 2012 10:09 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, my kids wanted the toys until they were 4-5 or so. I would only get the toy on occasion. It’s not like it was a regular habit. It’s also a good way to teach balance to our children and how you don’t have to have an extreme off the grid type lifestyle or worldview to be healthy and live in the modern age.

      April 19th, 2012 10:12 am Reply
      • valleygirl

        I have offered my kids similar toys from Target and explained that the fast food ones are cheap and will break. It works. I have never ever bought them a happy meal or even set foot in McDs with them. My oldest is 8. I have never heard her ask for a toy from there either. She knows that if her friends are meeting at McDs after a playdate that we go elsewhere because “we don’t eat that kind of food”. And I spent no money on fast food to teach this.

        April 19th, 2012 10:31 am Reply
  • Marilyn

    Personally, I feel the toys are total crap, too, so this approach wouldn’t work for me. I think if my kids asked for fast food and I didn’t want them eating it, I would just be honest with them and say so. However, the visual of tossing the “happy” meal into the garbage certainly looks like it would be a good lesson for some kids.

    April 19th, 2012 10:08 am Reply
  • Jody

    do you have a direct link to the video? My computer isn’t showing it.

    April 19th, 2012 10:07 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      You can go to youtube and click to The Healthy Home Economist channel.

      April 19th, 2012 10:14 am Reply
  • Amanda


    I taught my daughters the word “toxic” at a very young age. They know that fast food and the candy in the line at the grocery store is “toxic”. lol

    it always makes me so proud when they use that word : )

    Great video!!!

    April 19th, 2012 10:05 am Reply
  • Heather

    Hi Sarah! Totally get your message, but I don’t think I would even waste my time on buying some plastic crap toy. I have been pretty successful by not taking my kids to fast food, and then sharing information, such as videos, on what is in fast food…or how they really make those chicken nuggets…yuck!!!! If you just don’t start, then I don’t think you need to do your extra steps, just always have a line of communication going on about fast foods…etc. Kudos to you for finding what worked for your family though! :) I totally enjoy all your information, thank you for helping keep families informed so we can make the best choices for our family!!!!

    April 19th, 2012 9:58 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, I know some folks don’t advocate plastic toys for children. I have plenty of natural material toys in my house and do think that is important. An occasional plastic toy is fine though in my view. I’m not going to get extreme about it and throw the TV out and never take my kids to a movie where they are going to want the character based toy. I’ve seen that approach backfire big time.

      April 19th, 2012 10:05 am Reply
      • Liliana

        I loved it!!! This is what I needed not just my kids. I have it tattooed in my brain to not waste any food and money so watching this woke me up. Im doing it this weekend with my 2 and 3 year old. I don’t want them to believe like me that food is food, some of it, in the trash, specially in these times of consumption.

        I want to teach them this, that it is ok to throw food away, my husband is like that, when he can’t have access to good food, he fasts. He won’t put a crappy cafeteria sandwich in his body!!!

        Thanks to your kids for forcing you to do this video!!! I needed to see this!!!

        April 19th, 2012 12:25 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    Ha! I never thought of actually going through the drive through to get the toy and trash the food. That is hilarious. My kids have all learned the same lesson, just by my mentioning it when we pass golden arches, etc. I also don’t try to tell them it tastes bad, just that it will make them feel bad. If you ask my kids what they think of fast food, they will say “Disgusting!” I sometimes offer to take them there (in jest) and the whole van swells in protest. :) I highly doubt mine, just like yours, would be running to the nearest Wendy’s when they have some freedom!

    April 19th, 2012 9:58 am Reply
  • Amanda @ Nourish to Flourish

    Wow! And YES! Great video.

    April 19th, 2012 9:57 am Reply
  • Misha

    I LOVE this. We have the same approach with our children, too. I have never bought a meal and thrown it away, but we talk about how, yes, it does taste “good”, but NO it’s not good for your body and it will make you sick if you eat too much of it. It doesn’t help your muscles, it gives you fat. My son knows this, he’s 5, and completely accepts it.
    How neat, this video takes our lesson to the next level, thanks!!

    April 19th, 2012 9:55 am Reply
  • Kimara

    You are still supporting a business that encourages kids to eat garbage. I don’t think I could buy “food” just to throw it away. The toys are JUNK, the value of the toy is probably .20.
    Why not have a secret mommy prizes stashed away and make your own “happy meal”?

    April 19th, 2012 9:50 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      That approach doesn’t deal with the reality that fast food messages are everywhere programming our children to want this junk. And, their friends are eating it constantly which adds peer pressure to the mix. We Moms have to get tougher about fast food and deal with the issue head on. Giving healthy alternatives is wonderful and should be done anyway but is too soft touch in this age where the industrial food giants are AGGRESSIVELY competing for our children’s appetites. I am hardly supporting McDonalds by spending $3.63 and throwing their pseudo food in the trash where it belongs.

      April 19th, 2012 9:54 am Reply
      • Stephanie

        If you make it just forbidden, than your kids when they leave the nests will rebel. They will tell you what you want to hear as kids. But it will not surprise me if your children go for the fast food, pizza and r amen when they go off to college. I rather teach moderation over elimination. My son gets a happy meal maybe once every six months. Because he knows that it is not meant to be eaten on a daily or weekly basis. We eat as healthy as our budget allows, but not everyone has the privilege, yes the privilege to eat from local grass fed cows. I try to buy local produce as much as possible. I thought you came off very judgmental and condescending and I will say hypocritical. If you believe that these corporations are bad..then I would not give them one cent of my money. Telling a child no should be sufficient at a young age, no need for long winded explanations. As far as throwing the food away.. I have mixed reactions. I can understand that you consider it garbage. But to a homeless person who has not eaten in days, that meal would have been a Godsend. I know what it is like to struggle and not eat because I cannot afford it. Thankfully i have not been homeless,but I think that meal would have been better off used, instead of in the trash. I take what I can from your blog and use it, just like other health orientated sites. But the only people I see who can follow it to the letter, are those women who stay at home, because husband makes a good income. It does not compute with most of us who have to live in the real world. If the worst thing I ever do as a parent is not feed my child an expensive organic diet..then I will be fine and so will my child. I do agree with you about the crock of crap that has become the everyday standard American diet. I understand the need for a balance of meat, vegetables and fruits in our diet. I understand that not all fat is bad and in some case needed, especially for children. But I take a moderate approach, rather than extreme elimination.

        January 24th, 2014 7:35 pm Reply
        • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Not true and just an excuse … my 15 year old and I were just talking about this today. He has ALWAYS refused McDonalds and all fast food even now when he has quite a bit of freedom away from me and can choose when he is with his fast food eating friends. Good habits formed young do indeed stick.

          January 24th, 2014 8:11 pm Reply
    • Leslie

      I think you may have missed the point.

      April 19th, 2012 9:59 am Reply
      • Leslie

        Ooooops… I don’t know how I made this mistake. The comment was suppose to be in response to the person who said you shouldn’t buy food to throw it away. Sorry!

        April 19th, 2012 10:01 am Reply
    • Shelley

      I agree with Kimara. Why even go to any fast food places and spend the money on a crappy, chinese toy? And yes, you did still support the industrial food giant…you bought the food! That’s $ 3.63 you could have used to feed your kids something good! You wasted the money for a cheap chinese toy…Maybe you should also throw the toy away and teach the kids about buying goods made in the USA?

      April 19th, 2012 11:07 am Reply
      • jason and lisa

        she says why she does this…. shes taking some spare change once in a blue moon to plant the seed that the food giants are bad.. they have “hooks in the water” everywhere trying to bait our children at every turn.. bottom line is the industry is very creative in trying to lure our children away, parents will have to be just as crafty in trying to keep them on the right path.. not a bad price at all for a lifetime of healthy choices.. im all for it.. i would actually go one step more and take my kids in to use the restroom just so they can look around at the health of the people who are eating the food there.. i know i’ll catch some negative feedback about this one.. its not teaching my children to judge or make fun of anyone, it teaches them what poor food choices will do to their health..

        -jason and lisa-

        April 19th, 2012 1:32 pm Reply
        • Lynnea

          I agree jason and lisa, How long would these fast food places survive if everyone only spent $3.63, twice?

          December 4th, 2012 10:46 pm Reply
      • Fiona

        Yes, you’re buying the food, and giving McD’s a whopping great $3.63… but in the BIG picture, if it puts your kids off this junk for life, so they’re not tempted to buy it as teens or adults, then you are depriving McD’s of potentially hundreds of dollars (or more!) of revenue over the years. Yes, either is a drop in the bucket for a huge corporation like that, granted. But if more people do it, and more kids learn the lesson, over time it sends a powerful message!

        April 19th, 2012 5:40 pm Reply
    • Melinda Gonzalez

      Our subconscious memories are what controls 90% of what we do in life. Most of those memories are formed in our younger years. Every event that happens in childhood forms the belief system of that child, which stays with them, even if they don’t realize it. That is why it is important to actually buy the happy meal, and throw it away. This is a very good way to create subconscious memories of “fast food is bad”. Just telling kids it’s bad probably won’t stick. Actions speak louder than words. A life lesson for under $4.00? Plus, you aren’t really helping McDonalds by buying the happy meal, because they have now lost a customer they might have had for life. I think those of you who think you shouldn’t give McDonalds money… you missed the point! I love this idea, and will use it when I have kids.

      April 20th, 2012 3:52 pm Reply
    • Lolo

      I wholeheartedly agree that buying this a few times to throw it out is a GOOD idea. The point is…your kid will NEVER eat it. I know from firsthand experiences with three different kids this… My oldest (11) was around when I still made poor food choices. And my middle child (5) was around when all I did was say “we don’t eat these thing they are bad for you!” …I struggle with them. The oldest child will eat the junk whenever she is on her own because I’m not there to remind. The 5 year old hasn’t had a happy meal since she was TWO and STILL ASKS AND BEGS FOR THEM. the baby? (11mths) I will never give him one. I will do this. Because if I don’t…they’ll be all be keeping these places in business when they get older. So yes. Worth it. ….also here’s something that can be done with older kids that are new to eating the right foods: make a hamburger or cheeseburger or even chicken nuggets with REAL ingredients. And buy the equivalent from a fast food place. Put them out somewhere. Even in separate brown paper bags. And let them sit untouched. I did this a few weeks ago. When I showed my older kids what happened…the real food? Moldy, decomposing, horrible smell. The McDonald’s? Looked EXACTLY the same. They were horrified. “why isn’t the fast food rotting mom????????” when I explained that’s what the preservatives and laboratory made ingredients do and asked if that’s what they wanted to eat? The answer was NO. And since, my oldest, went to the movies…she came home with an unsweetened tea and told me she passed on all of the movie theatre food “it just didn’t look good” So maybe I’m finally getting somewhere with her?

      April 24th, 2012 12:20 pm Reply
  • Holly

    lol!! Wow. My three year old just watched that open-mouthed. When I quizzed him, he told me that the food was not good and would make him sick. Just from what he saw in your video. Then he told me that Burger King would make him grow big and strong. Oh dear! Looks like I have some work to do.

    April 19th, 2012 9:42 am Reply
    • Diana

      LOL Holly, definately a bit more work to be done! This video and your hilarious comment have made my day :)

      April 19th, 2012 9:36 pm Reply
    • Helen T.

      I once overheard a kid (about 11 or 12) tell his friend, “My grades went up when I stopped eating McDonalds!”.

      April 20th, 2012 3:45 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Time to throw out a Burger King child’s meal in front of your 3 year old Holly :) LOL

      April 20th, 2012 6:02 pm Reply
  • Kaley

    love this video!!! I am trying this soon. Thanks so much for the tip. You are AWESOME :)

    April 19th, 2012 9:39 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Kaley, your kids are the perfect age to do this. They will never forget it … my kids suggested doing this video as they remembered so strongly Mom throwing the Happy Meal in the trash stunt when they were little :)

      April 19th, 2012 9:50 am Reply
      • Kaley

        Love it. Lesson Learned!

        April 20th, 2012 5:11 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Exactly … all the naysayers here are forgetting a very important point:

          IT WORKED!

          Throwing away 2-3 Happy Meals to keep your kids off fast food for life is a no brainer thing to do. And calling this wasteful because of starving kids is ridiculous. This stuff isn’t even food anyway .. it’s an addictive drug (MSG is addictive) that once kids get when they are little, they can’t get off of ever except with extreme effort that most will not have. in them to do when they are older. Best to prevent the whole thing from the start.

          April 20th, 2012 6:00 pm Reply
  • Allison

    $3.63 – gesh — thinking of the things I could cook at home for that cost that would be MUCH better!

    Great video! Some may see it as extreme, but what’s extreme is what those meals truly consist of!

    BTW, jealous you are wearing a tank-top! I am Dying for that weather right now!

    April 19th, 2012 9:37 am Reply
  • Teresa

    LOve the video. lol We totally lost the taste for fast food after watching Super Size Me. YUCK< YUCK, YUCK.
    We discovered that McD's and others will let you just purchase the toy alone and not have to take the food.

    April 19th, 2012 9:24 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, you can do that but the lesson part as shown on the video is lost :)

      April 19th, 2012 9:32 am Reply
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    Moms have to be proactive about keeping their kids off fast food. People are shocked when I tell them my kids have never had a Happy Meal, but I don’t think it’s such a big deal. It’s only a decision after all to never take your kids there and to teach them that stuff is not really even food. It’s better for your kids to skip a meal and go hungry than eat fast food and that’s the honest to goodness truth.

    April 19th, 2012 8:59 am Reply
    • Shawn

      People think that it is a big deal that your children haven’t had a happy meal. What you should ask them in return is what healthy foods there children will eat. Many children have not tasted much more than an apple or a couple of grapes when it comes to fruit. Parents don’t even try to get their children to eat healthy.
      I applaud your efforts.

      April 19th, 2012 1:25 pm Reply
  • Cathey

    Loved the video. I have been teaching my two little boys since they were babes ( now 5 & 4 yrs old) that fast food is garbage. Actually the word I used was poison. When my hubby had them out and about for the day and tried to stop at McD’s they cried because they didn’t want to eat it. When we go to pick up a few items from our local food store they will show me a label and ask if it has poison in it or can we buy it. Other shoppers who here them always laugh. You have to start when there small. So you are right on with this one. Thanks for such a wonderful informative blog!

    April 19th, 2012 8:50 am Reply
    • M. Barrett MD

      Wow! That just made my day!

      April 19th, 2012 12:56 pm Reply

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